Sunset's quiet charm still shining brightly

Sunset's quiet charm still shining brightly
Sunset Way.

SINGAPORE - Ask shopkeepers if the Sunset Way area has changed much and most point to Drips Baker's Playground as the newest kid on the block. But that cafe has been around since 2012.

Change, it seems, does not come often in this neighbourhood on the west side of Singapore named after the fading rays of the sun, where iconic shops like Balmoral Bakery have stood for decades.

Shops such as Swee Seng Aquarium and Florist have been around "from Day 1", while Balmoral moved in 30 years ago.

PolyPet, which sells pet food and accessories and offers grooming services, has been around for more than 10 years.

Sunset Way, the only road into the residential neighbourhood of housing blocks and landed homes, is located off Clementi Road, a threelane road with seven bus services, although none go into Sunset Way.

Only a half-hourly shuttle bus from Clementi Park Condominium plies the road, taking residents to and from Clementi MRT station.

The last big change to this area was seven years ago, when a million-dollar revamp tried to turn it into the next Holland Village, starting with the shops under one Housing Board block.

An HDB scheme paid provision shop owners to retire, and another co-funded the sprucing up of the shops, which were let out to a master tenant to turn the place into a dining destination.

Cafes, eateries and pubs opened up to much fanfare, and diners flocked to the nine new restaurants at Block 106 even before their official opening.

Today, only five of those nine units are occupied, but Sunset Way has not lost its idyllic atmosphere - something residents appreciate, but new shopkeepers find worrisome.

Smokey's BBQ, which opened last April at Block 106, had only a handful of tables occupied when The Straits Times visited on Tuesday during dinner.

"It's very quiet here... not like Holland Village, a happening place," said its manager Irene Rodrigues. "They must turn this into a happening place, if not, there will be no business. On weekdays it's quite slow."

But Sunset Way's stalwarts, such as Chin Huat Live Seafood, have no such problems. Having been there since the 1980s, the restaurant has its regular customers and sees a steady stream of tourists and residents.

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