A new restaurant and cafe will open at the Asian Civilisations Museum in the later part of next year. It will be run by established restaurant operator The Prive Group, which beat five other food and beverage and nightlife operators to acquire the rights to run the museum's restaurant and cafe in Empress Place, which overlooks the Singapore River.
Prive Group chairman Yuan Oeij, 45, says it is too early to reveal details of his new concept for the museum. But it will be a "flagship concept that will bring something new and exciting to Singapore, and will be a progression from what we are doing".
The Prive Group runs contemporary restaurants Prive at Marina at Keppel Bay and Chijmes; The Green Door bar and Roadhouse restaurant in Dempsey; and also co-owns nightclub Bang Bang and restaurant Match at Pan Pacific Singapore.
The space, which covers about 1,490 sq m, was formerly occupied by restaurant IndoChine Waterfront. The alfresco eatery closed in June to make way for a revamp along the Singapore River.
Mr Oeij says there will also be a casual all-day dining concept carrying the Prive name. "Both concepts will serve museum visitors and the general public, and will be priced affordably. What we will offer customers is an experience that speaks about Singapore, its heritage and location in Asia."
He says the design and implementation will be "an extension of the overall Asian Civilisation Museum experience". The Prive Group beat five other bidders in a tender put up by the National Heritage Board (NHB) in August.
Other bidders were AR Restaurant Group, which owns modern European restaurant Bacchanalia; Tadcaster Pubs, part of Tadcaster Hospitality which manages bars Molly Malone's and BQ Bar in Boat Quay; the Lobby Of Scandinavia Holding; Goodwood Park Hotel; and nightlife group The Butter Factory.
Mr Bernard Tan, the museum's senior assistant director for operations, says several things made Prive's proposal stand out, with its proposal to have the restaurant and cafe co-branded with the museum being an important factor.
Other factors included opportunities for both museum and restaurant to possibly incorporate murals, artwork and projected images that showcase the museum's collection.
He says: "The group had a well-thought-out proposal defining the museum visitor's experience with finer details like curated tableware designs and menus incorporating Asian designs or exhibition themes.
There was also the possibility of restaurant and cafe patrons receiving discounted museum entry with meals purchased and diners being able to buy museum tickets while paying the bill."
Mr Oeij says he decided to bid for the project because of the museum's location. "The location in the heart of historical Singapore overlooking the awesome CBD skyline is the only one of its kind here."
In the NHB tender, the board stated it was looking for a qualified operator to run a flagship or destination restaurant and cafe with mass appeal. The concept also had to be relevant to the museum's mission and the cultural landscape in the vicinity.
Mr Oeij says: "We presented a very strong package that delivers what the museum is looking for and a concept that is lacking in Singapore."
Planning for the restaurant and cafe has begun and the group hopes to open for business in time for the relaunch of the museum, slated for the second half of next year.
This article was first published on Dec 10, 2014.
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