Have You Seen Liang Court Lately?

April 6th, 2007   •   11 comments   

Close to lunch last Sunday, I was looking for a gold coloured tie to go with my black shirt for this event and decided to try my luck at Liang Court. I recalled fondly that they might have some boutiques there, since they cater largely to a Japanese expatriate market. This used to be one of my favourite childhood hangouts, with the lethal combination of a Swensen’s Restaurant, Kinokuniya Bookstore and of course Daimaru.

Of course, things have changed quite a lot since.

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The most obvious difference was that Daimaru and Swensen’s were gone. In place of Daimaru’s 4 levels are a budget electronic shop in level 1, some furniture shops at level 2, and Books Kinokuniya (thankfully still around as its one of my favourite) in level 3.
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The main lobby of Liang Court now have permanent (or semi-permanent?) pasar-malam style racks selling cheap bags, belts, purses….

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…T-shirts, shoes, and sandals, among other things.

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Many of the shops were not open even though it was Sunday noon. I would say at least 50% of them were still shuttered. Maybe the operators needed a life too?

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Interestingly, there were quite a few antique shops and art galleries in there. Most however, didn’t seem to be particularly focused on any specific genre.

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As I walked around the complex, I noticed that even the almighty McDonald’s, considered by many to be a prized anchor tenant for its crowd-attracting ability, appeared a little lonely.

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I went downstairs to the basement to check out Meidi-Ya Supermarket for some cheer. Some of you may know that I love Japanese food.

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Fortunately, there were some signs of life there. However, the scene was definitely far from frenzy one would normally see in an NTUC Fairprice outlet.

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At the basement too was this quirky little Japanese-style hair salon called Barber Minami, which was doing a roaring business.

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The rest of the basement was shuttered, hopefully being renovated for a better tomorrow.

As its next door neighbour Clarke Quay transformed itself into a vibrant lifestyle, dining and entertainment hub, I sure hope that they would do something at Liang Court.

UPDATE: Good news! I just read in the Straits Times today (7 April) that AsiaMalls Management is going to spruce up the six-storey shopping centre with a $40 million revamp starting in May 2007. The idea is to reconfigure the interior to make shops more accessible and to theme it “modern Asian”. Let’s hope they can bring back some of its former magic!

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11 comments

  1. Lam Chun See
    posted on Apr 07, 2007 at 8:39 AM

    I have not been there for years. The last time, my kids still young and we went to the restaurant (can’t remember the name) where they had jungle ambience – huge elephant and crocodile that can move. Ethan would have loved it I’s sure.

  2. posted on Apr 07, 2007 at 8:54 AM

    cool insider,
    Liang Court has deteriorated into a 3rd class shopping mall. So sad.

    I would pop over there for the yummy Japanese cooked food! There are three eateries that sell very good Tonkatsu! Oooo …. oishi! And the Japanese restaurant at the eand has a great Black Pork Ramen.

    Mr Lam, tats Rainforest Cafe lah!

  3. posted on Apr 07, 2007 at 12:20 PM

    I haven’t been to Liang Court for quite a long while. I know why, Japanese fashion and supermarket food did not quite appeal to me…

    Have you visited Central, which is nearby? I heard it has an Asian Japanese concept. I am not sure if you would like that.

  4. posted on Apr 07, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    to be frank, i ve not been to Laing courts for years.. and by years- i mean at least 15 yrs.

    Shall prob drop by one day to take a peep thou since u guys mentioned some gd Jap food there.. *drool*

  5. posted on Apr 08, 2007 at 4:45 AM

    Tenants kept changing. Where Audio House is, used to be Decks.
    I only go to Daimaru/LiangCourt when I want to go Meidi-Ya, which is VERY SELDOM.

  6. posted on Apr 08, 2007 at 9:09 AM

    chun see,

    That’s the Rainforest Cafe which eastcoastlife has helpfully pointed out. In fact, one of the reason’s why I liked Liang Court was for the food and the unique Japanese themed experiences. Hopefully they can bring it back!

  7. posted on Apr 08, 2007 at 9:10 AM

    eastcoastlife,

    Yes! The Japanese food. In fact, we just ate there last weekend at the same Black Pig place, which was called Berkshire or Kurobuta. Very yummy indeed.

  8. posted on Apr 08, 2007 at 9:12 AM

    oceanskies,

    I went to Central the last few weeks to have lunch at their food court there. We also had a farewell lunch for a colleague at the Japanese restaurant there, which wasn’t too bad but not extraordinary. Its just a stone’s throw away from my office at MICA building. Unfortunately, I found that the tenant mix there is a little hastily put together and not really pure Japanese.

  9. posted on Apr 08, 2007 at 9:13 AM

    zeezee and tigerfish,

    I hope that the major renovations (hints of which you can see in the photos above) will help to restore this place somewhat, and make it a quirky funky Japanese oriented hangout again. I don’t think Audio House, the antique shops and worst of all the pasar malam shops have anything to do with Japan.

  10. posted on Apr 09, 2007 at 5:01 AM

    I used to work just next door at UE Square so it was one of the default lunch places, but the tenant mix is so bad it’s a turn-off.

    The semi-permanent pasar malam also brings down the branding of the whole mall.

    But yes, the Japanese restaurant is very good for its tonkatsu. It’s always crowded with Japanese expat housewives taking a breather from grocery shopping and getting their hair done.

  11. posted on Apr 10, 2007 at 8:16 PM

    Dan,

    Oh yes I recall now that you were at that Korean electronics giant…=) Yep I love that Japanese restaurant which had somehow managed to remain relatively unscathed despite the earth shaking changes occuring around it. A good test of whether a Japanese restaurant is worth its salt is to look at whether the Japanese themselves eat there.

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