French restaurant Beni sold, Hashida Sushi expands

Hashida Sushi's chef Kenjiro Hashida is looking forward to the expanded restaurant.
Hashida Sushi's chef Kenjiro Hashida is looking forward to the expanded restaurant.PHOTO: ST FILE

Less than a year after opening at Mandarin Gallery, upscale French restaurant Beni has been sold.

The new owners include a "veteran food and beverage operator who has dining establishments in Marina Bay Sands", says a spokesman for the restaurant, who declines to reveal the sale price.

A director from its sister restaurant Hashida Sushi, also in the same mall, remains a consultant with Beni.

There is no change to the ownership of Hashida Sushi, as well as the chefs and culinary teams behind both restaurants.

However, both restaurants will swop locations at Mandarin Gallery.

This means that Beni will close by the end of this month and move from the fourth floor to Hashida Sushi's location on the second floor. The bigger, 1,300 sq ft space will have a Chef's Table which seats seven diners and the restaurant will have a total seating capacity of 35 - up from the previous counter of 15 seats.

Beni will reopen in mid-July and during the two-month hiatus, its team of chefs will be available for hire for private events.

Three-year-old Hashida Sushi will close by the end of next month and move to the fourth floor by the middle of June.

It takes the space vacated by Beni and the adjacent Hashida Garo, which closed last month. Hashida Garo, which opened last year, specialised in traditional Japanese sweets known as wagashi, paired with Japanese tea.

The new Hashida will have two private dining rooms, seating seven and 15 diners each, as well as a 15-seat main dining hall.

On the change in restaurant locations, the spokesman says: "Hashida Sushi had been operating at full capacity, to the point that it had to turn away customers, especially during lunch hours. After three years of operating, we felt that expanding the premises and the team of sushi chefs would be a timely move.

"As for Beni, we felt that the pure Chef's Table concept may not appeal to every diner, as some may prefer traditional table seating to enjoy privacy during their meal."

On the closure of Hashida Garo, the spokesman says: "Garo was probably too big a space to be financially and logistically viable for us.

"This caused tremendous pressure, considering the manpower issues and shortfalls that come with the food and beverage industry in Singapore, especially for cooks and table hosts."

An excited chef Kenjiro Hashida of Hashida Sushi is looking forward to the expanded restaurant and is hopeful about his chances in the Michelin Guide, which debuts here later this year.

He says: "The new Hashida Sushi will continue to offer the same high quality, authentic Japanese omakase experience - through the food, service and atmosphere.

"We are always looking forward to new challenges and are prepared to meet them by constantly learning." 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'French restaurant Beni closes, sushi joint moves in'. Print Edition | Subscribe