It’s one thing to see iconic places and establishments in Singapore close, but when restaurants and cafes we love hop on the closing bandwagon, that’s when it gets personal. We’re only halfway through March, yet we’ve already seen a couple of hot spots shutter for good. We look back at what’s gone, and what’s about to bite the dust in the coming weeks.
Enclave of colonial bungalows at Rochester Park
All the tenants at those beautiful black-and-white bungalows had their lease taken back by Rochester Park’s owners, JTC Corporation, for redevelopment. Those affected include Spanish tapas restaurant Una at One Rochester, Starbucks and Nosh, all of which were institutions in their own right in the area. We’re not exactly sure what’s gonna be of these bungalows, but we heard from reps of the 1-Group, which owns Una, that JTC is planning to turn the whole place into a training facility of sorts. Carolyn Ng, marketing consultant of the 1-Group said that the spaces at Rochester Park will definitely not “be used for dining” anymore. The park was officially closed on Jan 28 . Another gem in the West, gone.
House at Dempsey
Not even veterans like this long-standing gastro pub on the hill can live on forever. More than a decade since its opening, House at Dempsey took to Facebook to announce their that they were gonna vacate their premises on Jan 28. This spot is pretty much an old-timer in the scene, having launched at the same time Country City Investment opened the Dempsey Hill dining cluster in 2007. Cynthia Chua, a rep from Spa Esprit Group which runs to food joint, told us that their landlords informed them that the lease wouldn’t be renewed anymore because the government wanted the lease back (sounds familiar?).
Quite the emotional exit for Taiwanese Chef Andre Chiang (and the scene at large), as his two-Michelin starred Restaurant Andre served their last diners on Valentine’s Day this year. On top of earning his stars, the restaurant also placed second on the Asia’s 50 best Restaurants list, and took the #14 position on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. However, Chiang made the decision of closing the establishment with a heavy heart, and wrote a heartfelt letter of sorts to give a sort of an explanation to his friends and patrons. Still, he did mention that he’ll be back with a brand new concept towards the end of 2018, at the same spot along Bukit Pasoh Road.
They were around for barely a year! Launched in January last year, this American-style restaurant and cocktail bar—brought to you by the same peeps behind 28 HongKong Street and Proof & Company—made their exit at the beginning of the month. The reason? Well, according to an internal communication announcement from Crackerjack, it seems that “great financial numbers just haven’t materialized” for them, which really doesn’t “justify staying the course”. Instead, they’re turning the spot into The Proof Collective’s global headquarters. The upside? “Pocket bar” Junior, accessible by the alleyway adjacent to it, will remain open with Head Bartender Peter Chua staying at its helm.
The cushy Cal-Mex joint served their last burrito, quesadilla and taco last night to a large crowd, with queues snaking almost all the way to Jiak Chuan Road. Their reasons for making an exit from their Keong Saik home after being there for the past five years are very practical. A rep told us that their lease was ending and that the area was “no longer working for [them]”. But hey, at least this closure comes with good news. Patrons who went last night (Mar 15) were delighted to find out that they will be treated to a free meal and beer when Muchachos relocates to somewhere in Telok Ayer in the third quarter. We were pleased when we found out, and will be keeping our eyes peeled.
Photo credit: Artistry’s Facebook page
This institution in the quiet corner of the Kampong Glam district is one we’ve grown so fond of over the years. They’ve impressed and entertained with their mish-mash of programs, from monthly spoken word nights to charity events for a good cause. They’ve helped to make the invisible visible, gave the voiceless and hushed a safe space to express themselves and created opportunities for artists who were otherwise shunned away or not given the chance to show the world who they are. Alas they too are making their exit. Artistry’s Prashant Somosundram explained that the decision was purely a business one, as they realised that the weekday crowd had “petered out”. But fret not, because they’re still open during their usual operation hours, and will be throwing a line-up of events leading up to their impending closure on Mar 25.
Joining the ranks of “places we have to say goodbye to soon” is this rooftop restaurant and bar lounge that boasts a sweeping view of Marina Bay. Their three kitchens, all of which are kept separate to avoid fusion confusion, have been steadily feeding diners since 2013. Their service staff has also remained constant—smooth and helpful but never intrusive. Alas, they’ll be packing up and calling it quits come Mar 29 because, according to a representative of the establishment, “It was the right time to close”. However, keep your ears to the ground as they mentioned that an announcement of what will take over the space will be made as soon as details are sorted.