Monday, April 29, 2013

Wedding restaurants I remember

You may have seen this photo before. It was taken by Mike Robbin’s friend, Ray Kirkman, some time in the mid-1960s. You would certainly recognize the Lido Theatre. But do you know the name of the building on the left? More importantly, do you know the name of the Chinese restaurant inside?
During my recent meeting with my “new old friend”, Mike Robbins, he presented me two souvenirs that he had kept for more than 40 years. One of them is this menu from the Peking Restaurant, and the other was an invitation to wedding dinner at the Capitol Imperial Room at Capitol Cinema.

Man ... just look at those mouth-watering prices!
The Peking Restaurant has special significance because it was here that my dear, recently-departed sister, Pat, had her wedding dinner. Except for my eldest brother, Chun Chew who had his at a special place – The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Hill Street – the rest of the Lam siblings held ours at restaurants, as was the custom of those days. I thought it would be interesting to list the restaurants that I can remember where my family and friends held their wedding dinners, and see if readers can recognize the names. So here goes. I hope friends do not mind. And I hope you will share yours as well.

My elder brother David has his at the Oxford Restaurant at RELC, I had mine in Charming Garden Restaurant in Orchid Inn and my younger brother James had his at Cathay Restaurant. Besides the Cathay which is still around, albeit much changed, the others are probably gone. In fact, the Orchid Inn at Dunearn Road is in the process of being demolished.

My dear friend Chia Yew Heng had his at Sin Leong Restaurant in Upper Serangoon Road, next to the Fountain Night Club. I suspect he probably had this one for his Singapore friends and colleagues and held a separate one in his home town in Malaysia. My old friends Heng Tew and Ros held theirs in Omei Restaurant at a hotel in Orchard Road called Hotel Grand Central. Recently, I attended the wedding of their eldest son. How time flies.

My old friend from ACS, Simon Chu had his in a restaurant at Bukit Merah Central. I cannot recall the name; probably Oriental. I think it is probably still there. My sister-in-law, Bee Wan had hers at the Phoenix Restaurant. All I remember is that it was in Ang Mo Kio. When it came my dear friend Chuck Hio, it was in the 90s, and by that time, the trend was to have the wedding dinners at hotels. His was at ANA Hotel. I cannot remember the name of the restaurant.

One last name that comes to mind is the Tai Nam Tong (大南唐) Restaurant where my parents sometimes had their birthday celebrations. But I cannot remember where it was located.


JB Cheong said...

I didn't guess Peking Restaurant because I only recall the May Flower (五月花) Restaurant which served Hong Kong Dim Sum, at the International Building. My grandparents used to bring us kids there in the late 60s and early 70s.

R. Burnett Baker said...

Thank you for this photo.....I've been trying to remember what it looked like before Shaw Centre swallowed everything up. I remember the International Building name, but I can't seem to recall if it is still there or was knocked down... ? (Funny aside: my security word for this comment is "memory".)

Lam Chun See said...

Such is the speed at which old buildings are torn and new ones erected in its place here in Spore.

I just drove past the land on which Orchid Inn used to sit and already I see some structures coming up.

Zen said...

Those who can remember know it is the famous International Building. In fact if you look carefully at the wedding invitation card it has the address of the building printed therein. Many foreigners could not believe their eyes when screening through restaurant food prices listed in the menu - particularly noticeable in the orchard road area. The next question asked is how could prices be so ridiculously high? because of inflation? Many Singaporeans expect the government to provide the answers.

Timothy said...

The restaurant in Bukit Merah Central is gone. It has changed the name to Happy Joy (from Oriental) in the late 80s I believed and has moved out recently(in year 2012).

Tah Chung said...

Some 'wedding restaurant' from the 70s are :
- Dragon Phoenix(龙凤)at Outram Park
- Red Ruby (红宝石)at Cantonment (at the basement of a low rise building opposite the current Pinnacle).
- May Flower (五月花) mentioned above, but the one I visted was in DBS Building in Shenton Way.

Will add more when the memories come back.

Lam Chun See said...

I once attended a wedding dinner at Lai Wah restaurant in Jalan Besar; opp Eminent Plaza. But cannot remember whose wedding it was. I think one of my cousins.

Osages ngelyio

Anonymous said...

a restaurant that seemed (to me) to be there since forever is the red star restaurant at chin swee road.

Angie's Kitchen said...

I remember standing in a long queue waiting to buy movie tickets in Lido. There was not a cinema in every housing estate then. Sometimes we took turns standing in line. But I don't remember weddings. Too young then.

makan said...

I remember the Chinese restaurant that located in the International Building 4th floor was Peking (Beijin) Mayflower Restaurant in late 1970's.
Then it changed its name to just Mayflower as Cantonese cuisine restaurant in 1980's, located on 3rd floor.
I don't know what was happend with them though.