Empire Cafe in the Raffles has been replaced by Ujong

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

The indomitable and debonair Travelling Gourmet reveals that…

Raffles Hotel has leased out what used to be Empire Cafe to an independent restaurant…

Remember my article “Empire Cafe is now a ghost town….”

Please have a look at it at the link below.


MAMA mia! Now Raffles Hotel has leased out what was Empire Cafe to an independent restaurant called Ujong. Ujong or hujong is a Malay word that means ‘the end’ or ‘the end of something’. Not a very auspicious name to my mind…I had heard from very reliable sources that Raffles Hotel wanted to lease out the space after closing Empire Cafe. The Raffles people told me glibly, “We are closing for renovation and we’ll reopen after the Mooncake Festival.” Not very true. I was not born yesterday…My good friend, a French Chef wanted to relocate his fine dining restaurant. Raffles offered him the premises for a huge rental figure. Chef X cleverly declined the offer from Raffles. He confessed, “I’ll be working like crazy just to pay Raffles the rent!”

I wish Ujong well although I have not tried the food there yet…but I wonder how long it can last. The rental must be incredibly high!

The other restaurant that Raffles Hotel closed was Seah Street Deli which they have leased out to independent restaurant Halia. Doc Cheng’s restaurant was also closed by Raffles and leased out to a Japanese restaurant. Raffles Culinary Academy was also closed. The Bar and Billiard Room is now only open on Thu, Fri and Sat. Long ago Raffles closed their Chinese restaurant called the Empress Room and leased it out to an independent restaurant called Royal China. I wrote about Empress Room years ago when it was open, as one of Singapore’s top restaurants.

The F & B business is a very tough one…

About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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