5 popular restaurants in Singapore that closed down in 2014

Guy Savoy restaurant at Marina Bay Sands which closed in February.
Guy Savoy restaurant at Marina Bay Sands which closed in February.PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

SINGAPORE - With the owners of popular Chinese restaurant Boon Lay Raja set to retire and preparing to sell their shop space at Jurong Gateway Road in Jurong East, this foodie institution circa 1979 will soon be closing.

Here's a look at five other famous restaurants in Singapore which rolled down their shutters for good this year.


1. GUY SAVOY


French Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy. PHOTO: ST FILE

Where: Marina Bay Sands
Opened: May 2010
Closed: February 2014

The celebrity and French Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy's (above) eponymous restaurant at Marina Bay Sands closed in February, despite opening in 2010 to much fanfare.

It is believed that business had not been as good as expected.

The haute French restaurant's signature offering was Guy Savoy's signature artichoke and black truffle soup (above), and prices were $150 for a three-course lunch and $370 for a 10-course dinner.

2. ZHEN ZHOU DAO


Popular TV actor and foodie Moses Lim. PHOTO: ST FILE

Where: Tanjong Katong
Opened: November 2012
Closed: March 2014

This porridge and zi char restaurant at 228 Tanjong Katong Road was fronted by popular TV actor and foodie Moses Lim, although it was run by his daughter Grace Lim and her husband Sean Goh.

Said to be the place to go to for comfort porridge without sweating it out in a hawker centre, Zhen Zhou Dao was given the thumbs-up by patrons for its generous portions and unpretentious fare. One of its popular dishes was the $6 Braised Platter, which came with pork belly, tau pok or beancurd puffs, beancurd and egg stewed in dark soya sauce.

Mr Lim cited rising rentals and manpower woes as reasons for the restaurant's closure.

3. AU JARDIN


Exterior of Au Jardin Les Amis Restaurant. PHOTO: AU JARDIN RESTAURANT

Where: Singapore Botanic Gardens
Opened: 1998
Closed: March 2014

This fine-dining grand dame was opened by the Les Amis Group and housed in a quaint colonial bungalow at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The group did not renew its lease, citing the current trend towards more casual and hip dining, and the high cost of running a fine-dining restaurant. It decided to focus on expanding its mid-market brands in the region instead.

Mr Raymond Lim, 35, spokesman for the group, said in September 2013 that the closure made "business sense".

"You can't afford to get sentimental when rental and labour costs are going up," he said. "Labour is a precious commodity and running a business is about the most efficient allocation of resources and we will redeploy our manpower."

Au Jardin was known for its novel offerings, including a Japanese green soya bean soup shot which started warm and ended chilled, with a refreshing hit of mint. For some years, it was also seen as the go-to restaurant for weddings, anniversaries, birthday and other celebrations.

4. INDOCHINE WATERFRONT


The Indochine Waterfront Restaurant on June 5, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

Where: Empress Place
Opened: 2003
Closed: June 2014

The restaurant, which was located at the corner of Asian Civilisations Museum at Empress Place by the Singapore River, closed in June to make way for a revamp along the Singapore River.

The alfresco eatery is part of the Indochine group owned by Mr Michael Ma, and served Indochinese cuisine with an unobstructed view of the Singapore River and the Central Business District. Signature dishes include a pomelo and prawn salad and grilled lemongrass chicken skewers served with a sweet chilli sauce.

Mr Ma said earlier in June: "I am very sad. My staff and customers love the place. But we have no choice."

5. BLUE DIAMOND RESTAURANT


Blue Diamond Restaurant at Buffalo Road was shut down in 2014. PHOTO: ST FILE

Where: Buffalo Road
Opened: 1996
Closed: September 2014

Located next to flower and vegetable stalls across the street from Tekka Market, the Blue Diamond Restaurant was known for its house speciality - dum briyani - and other Indian favourites such as thosai and poori.

Owner Abdul Hameed Mohamed Farook, 56, was reported in The New Paper as saying that labour problems caused the closure.

A Ministry of Manpower spokesman, however, said the company was being investigated under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

But do not despair if you are a fan of the restaurant.

Mr Hameed told The New Paper in September that he is working on re-opening Blue Diamond Restaurant soon. "The restaurant is my rice bowl after all," he said.

brynasim@sph.com.sg