Another month, another restaurant closure. Barely a year after opening, Australian restaurant Blackwattle in Amoy Street will be shuttering its doors in four weeks, at the end of August.
Slow business and the departure of its head chef have been cited as reasons for its impending closure.
The restaurant, which opened last October (2017) is one of the latest casualties in Singapore’s vibrant yet cut-throat food and beverage scene. Other notable restaurant closures this year include Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza at the Marina Bay Sands, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Joel Robuchon Restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa, and Chef Wan’s Kitchen at Esplanade Mall.
Blackwattle is part of hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng’s Unlisted Collection’s stable of restaurants. Other restaurants under the group’s umbrella include one-Michelin-starred restaurants Cheek By Jowl and Burnt Ends, as well as Pollen at Gardens by the Bay.
On Blackwattle’s closure, Mr Loh says: “One reason is that the head chef, Joeri Timmermans, has decided to leave. The other is that the food has not been compelling enough for diners here and the restaurant has not been capturing enough business to justify hiring another chef to run a similar concept.”
Blackwattle is also co-owned by popular Australian chef Clayton Wells of Automata in Sydney, a restaurant which Mr Wells co-owns with Mr Loh’s company. Mr Timmermans, Automata’s former sous chef, had been brought in from Australia to run Blackwattle.
Last year (2017), Blackwattle was named one of three best new restaurants by Straits Times’ food critic Wong Ah Yoke. In Mr Wong’s review of the restaurant last October, he described himself as “a fan of Blackwattle” and said that most of the dishes either made an immediate favourable impression or won him over slowly.
Mr Loh plans to roll out a new concept in the space where Blackwattle is currently located but says details have not been finalised.
He will also be opening a new restaurant in Bukit Pasoh in November, in the space previously occupied by the now-defunct two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Andre, of which Mr Loh was co-owner. Restaurant Andre shuttered in February this year when its chef and co-owner Andre Chiang decided to return to Taiwan.
This article was originally published in The Straits Times.