Tag Archive | Denise Phua

Short lives of food outlets in S’pore

Years ago, an old mentor who has since gone to another place used to say, “Let’s go eat at such and such a place again, before it closes down.”

His secretary would frown at him with some displeasure and muttered to us younger staff that the restaurant owner won’t be pleased with such a reason for a re-visit.

Yet the old man was spot-on.

Eating outlets in Singapore aren’t known for their longevity, especially in today’s climate when diners crave for new places, faces and dishes.

Old style restaurants like Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant which like Johnny Walker continue to keep going strong are a little short of miraculous, considering that their menu range is so ho-hum (to me anyway). Ditto Hans Cafe!

Nowhere is the sakura-like lives of our cafes and restaurants brought back more firmly to me than a short stroll around Velocity (the Novena Square extension) following yesterday’s traumatic visit to Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s A & E department, documented here and password protected to shield the guilty.

One well-known cafe and one Johnny Come Lately which I had written about here in July 2008 had both disappeared and in their place are My Mum’s Cuisine and Professor Brawn Cafe respectively.

Personally, I’m not surprised that the well-known Delifrance outlet had packed up. The wonder is that it lasted as long as it did, considering the almost empty state I had almost always found it in whenever I walked by.

As for the disappearance of Mingles Cafe, I’m not surprised either considering the mostly bad reviews that it had received on the Internet.

I tried to give it support once, for the sake of the yummy supe who had moved there from managing the Ichiban Boshi outlet in Great World City.

But as I noted in a post, “Mingles serves food that leaves much to be desired with service that’s erratic, tho I say this from only one experience more than a year ago. It was so trying that I’ve never been there to eat again, not even when one of its supes is scrumptous to look at. Well, I can’t eat him, can I?”

Given the short lives of food establishments, I wish the two newcomers to Velocity the best of luck, especially Professor Brawn Cafe — owned by Member of Parliament Denise Phua and her husband — which has replaced Mingles since last October.

This is because Prof Brawn, like Joan Bowen Cafe at Jalan Wangi which opened earlier last year, aims to give kids with special needs a chance to lead meaningful lives through work.

Only trouble is that while food has a low barrier to entry it has a very high attrition rate, especially in Singapore!