Plaza Singapura – Wind Back The Clock 40 Years
Plaza Singapura brings back the nostalgia of the mid-1970s to me and many Singaporeans. Wind back the clock 40 years, the 1974 opening of Plaza Sing (as the Plaza was affectionately known) was the talk of the town. It was the first multi-level shopping mall which provided shopping and dining under one roof – in the swank Orchard Road shopping belt.
Remember Yaohan & The Anpan?
And yes, it had Yaohan there pulling in the crowds of shoppers for Japanese foods and the queue-inducing anpan – the Japanese bun with red bean paste filling. This anchor tenant and crowd puller went bankrupt in 1997, after its ill-fated overexpansion during the 1990s.
I found it surprising that Plaza Sing had not been updated nor renovated during its first 23 years! Is it luck or its great Orchard Road location I cannot tell.
The Age Of Carrefour
After Yaohan, it was the Liberty Market. Few people can remember this anchor. Carrefour, the French hypermarket chain, came next.
The Plaza was renovated soon after in 2002/2003. One critical feature was the addition of a direct link to the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. Traffic flow into the mall was enhanced – naturally! Its tenancy mix was revamped and accessibility within the mall itself was greatly improved with the addition of travelators.
The age of Carrefour lasted between 2005 and its exit in September 2012.
The Asset Enhancement Phases
In 2012, the Plaza underwent another major renovation which comprised two phases. For the first phase, the smart people at CapitaMall Trust (the Plaza’s owner) expanded the mall to include The Atrium@Orchard. This move made it the second-largest shopping mall on Orchard Road, after the iconic Ion Orchard. The additional shopping space was used to house new retail and dining stores targeting trendy young adults and PMEBs ((Professionals, Managers, Executives and Businessmen).
Do you know that you can even get cosplay costumes at the Plaza? It’s no wonder that Plaza Sing is still a draw despite the numerous shopping malls that have sprouted recently near its Orchard road doorstep.
The “Yaohan Legacy” Of Fresh & Exotic Foods
The Plaza’s current 40th anniversary bash by presenting an inaugural epicurean event is an apt one. Shoppers have long associated the mall as a destination for its good tenant mix and for its “Yaohan” legacy of fresh and exotic foods. Its success is also due to its ability to keep up with the changing lifestyles and tastes of its shoppers.
Celebrating 40th Anniversary With The Inaugural Epicurean Event
Cold Storage anchors this inaugural epicurean event – Flavours Of The World from 22 October to 02 November. New-to-market food and drink products are being featured.
First – A Toast To Plaza’s 40th Anniversary
Yes, a toast to Plaza Singapura. You have made it a destination to eat and shop for my wife and me, along with scores of the Pioneer Generation, young parents and the trendy amongst our children. As Singaporeans, let’s focus on food – featuring the flavours of the world.
Let’s take a tour, the same way the invited media people did in the evening of the 21st October…
Wines – From New World To Old World…
First, from the New World – Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, South Africa
Then back to the Old World:
New-To-Market Ciders & Potato Chips (Crisps to the Brits)…
Oysters From The Bar – Freshly Shucked…
Esther, Strongbow & Possibly The World’s Most Popular Cider…
Hoegaarden Rosee – New To The Family, White Beer Infused With Raspberries. And I liked it…
And The Samplings For The Media People…
Just some overheard comments from fellow blogging and media friends. “Is this Wagyu?” In reality, the beef served was rather chewy, rather un-Wagyu-like. “Oysters. Just one round ah!” I observed that there maybe lots more servings available, but like the rest of the F&B establishments in Singapore – there’s “not enough staff.”
The walk-through tour and wine samplings were great. The ambience was full of, well, flavours of the world.
Thank you for the invite. It was actually an invitation to Grace Tan: friend, award-winning blogger and author. On the same evening, she had a very important birthday bash that she must attend, maybe a life-changing one. She gracefully surrendered her personalised bottle of wine from the organisers to me. And I got to write this post.
Where & When To Taste Your Flavours
Main Atrium on Level 1, Plaza Singapura. From 22October to 02 November 2014.
Note: The author has held senior positions in a major listed property development company (which launched a REIT) and a listed hotel development company. Thus, his post here salutes Plaza Singapura’s success over the last 40 years through staying relevant and moving with the cheese in addition to savouring the flavours of the world. Food, glorious food 🙂