'Reality is harsh': Hong Kong-style cafe Friends Kitchen HK at Neil Road to close after 1 year due to high costs

'Reality is harsh': Hong Kong-style cafe Friends Kitchen HK at Neil Road to close after 1 year due to high costs
Vicky Lee and Keith Wong, who run Friends Kitchen HK, announced that the restaurant's last day of operations will be on April 29.
PHOTO: [Left] Supplied to Shin Min Daily News, Instagram/Friends Kitchen HK

Just a few days after its first-anniversary mark, Friends Kitchen HK at Neil Road will shutter its doors on April 29. 

The restaurant, which serves up Hong Kong-style zi char and live seafood dishes, announced its closure in an Instagram post last Monday (March 18), adding that this was due to rising costs.

"Over the past year, we have made many friends at Friends Kitchen HK, and we are very grateful for the support and encouragement from each and every one of you," read the post.

"However, the reality is harsh, and no matter how reluctant we are, we cannot resist the rise in prices and expenses. It is truly heartbreaking to make the decision to close our beloved restaurant that we have worked so hard to build."


Friends Kitchen HK is run by Hong Kong-born couple Vicky Lee, 35, and her husband Keith Wong, 37. It is the second branch of the Friends Cafe HK at Upper Thomson, which opened in 2021.

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, the couple explained that they decided to open a second outlet as they had believed there would be greater footfall in central Singapore.

"But on long weekends, the entire street will be empty," they said.

Apart from the high rent, which had cost them a five-figure sum, Vicky and Keith shared with the Chinese daily that the rising cost of ingredients and the increase in salaries of their employees were some factors that contributed to their decision to close the restaurant.

The couple are also looking for someone to take over the business, as the eatery has two years left on its lease. If their search is unsuccessful, they may terminate the contract early, leading to more losses. 

After the closure of Friends Kitchen HK, the duo plan to focus on running their remaining outlet in Upper Thomson — though they admitted that they might take up other job opportunities to sustain their living expenses.

Vicky, who is a freelance makeup artist, told Shin Min that she is open to working at other restaurants, while Keith, who is a former engineer, said he might consider returning to the engineering industry.

ALSO READ: 'Thank you guys for appreciating our work': Dolç Patisserie announces closure, last day on April 23


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