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Old October 14th, 2006, 01:35 PM   #61
babystan03
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The basement

1. So crowded (at the end is the new kopitiam/banquet and Chicken Rice shop)


2. Thai Express


3.Vivomart basement entrance


4. Other shops


Last picture of Vivocity from me.....who can "resist" the wavy structure....
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Old October 14th, 2006, 02:41 PM   #62
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glad Zara and GAP are opened. they are quite a crowd-puller in Singapore.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #63
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It was okay at around noon, but got extremely crowded closer to the evening that you feel that even the widest of corridors are narrow.

A huge contrast to a week ago when a lot more shops weren't open. Very vibrant today. It has that MALL feel at last!

Un-spectacular toilet designs, lack of signages and loads of construction debris and dead ends and litter on the ground are some things one might notice but its only a SOFT opening. Don't be so hard on it. It will turn out great when it officially opens and in the months ahead. What they can't change though are the weird angled headrests of the cinema seats and the IMM mall feel of the mall outside Giant.

BUT, it has SUPER DUPER COOL POSTERS (the chef, the tai tai) welcoming you to the mall pasted everywhere and the roving infocounters on segways add a interactive and personal and cool touch. Plus the creative performances by the former ''Ah Girl'' of Channel i etc and the mini fashion show by GAP. All great touches. Plus the service at the retail outlets were actually quite good, plus the info counter staff and the cinema experience. And comfy cinema seats (minus headrest) and cool architecture that allows shoppers to take in the sights of the outdoors rather than be cooped up in a building. And the management even put in loads of open space and water. Shows how much they want the mall experience to be different.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 08:00 PM   #64
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Hi guys ! Long time I didn't post here, been very busy and the forum's slowness and frequent downtimes discouraged me to try during my free time ;-)

Been there last thursday, and well, it's big and it looks cool (except the toilet) but the shops are mostly the same old ones as in every other mall and I don't think I'm gonna come back before December... Got a bit confused with the layout and got lost in the basement carpark trying to go to the food court...

I think if I was still living in Redhill I'd be quite happy about Vivocity but since I'm far away now I guess I'll stick with the good ol' Orchard Road malls ;-)
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Old October 14th, 2006, 08:40 PM   #65
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Hi Pengui! Long time no see!!!

Which area are you residing now, may I ask?
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Old October 15th, 2006, 03:07 AM   #66
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vivomart concept is über stupid. the impression it gives ppl is that you can pay for guardian, giant, and naturally marketplace at any cashier, but you can't!

naturally marketplace was a joy to shop at (waitrose heaven), but giant.... omg... i dont know if other giants are like this but i dont think i'll ever go to a giant again. the eggplants looked like they just survived a nuclear attack. the variety of vegetables was miserable although the vege section itself was probably larger than the whole naturally marketplace.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #67
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Seems like most restaurant in Vivocity will be quite big, esp those near the coastline on level 2....

Oct 15, 2006
Clone wars
The battle between the Crystal Jade and the Imperial Treasure groups has created one of the fiercest turf wars in the restaurant scene

By FOOD CORRESPONDENT, Teo Pau Lin

A FEW months ago, news reached the Crystal Jade management that the Imperial Treasure group was going head-to-head against it by opening in VivoCity, where the former was launching a mammoth 6,450 sq ft outlet.

'Crystal Jade was upset,' says an industry insider. 'It thought VivoCity withheld the information from it, and that it had to go up against Imperial Treasure in the same location.'

But it turned out to be a false rumour.

Setting up shop in VivoCity, the mega-mall that opened in HarbourFront last weekend, is actually Imperial Herbal Restaurant.

The Chinese herbal soup specialist - which is not related to Imperial Treasure - is relocating to VivoCity after 19 years of business in Metropole Hotel in Seah Street.

But the incident shows just how prickly the culinary competition between the two chains has become.

Ever since Imperial Treasure entered the scene in 2004 as a direct competitor to the Crystal Jade empire, it has created what is possibly the fiercest turf war ever seen in the Singapore restaurant scene.

From cuisine concept to price points, interior design and even menus, it is clear to any observer that there are many similarities between the two.

Crystal Jade has 37 outlets in the city and the heartland, while Imperial Treasure has five in the city.

Both have restaurants that offer excellent high-end Cantonese and Teochew food, as well as competent, affordable fare like Hong Kong-style congee, hand-made noodles and dim sum.

While it has only five outlets, Imperial Treasure poses a formidable threat to Crystal Jade for this reason alone: The man behind it, Alfred Leung, 54, used to be the managing director of Crystal Jade.

The Hong Kong-born Leung had opened the first restaurant in the group - Crystal Jade in Cairnhill Hotel - in 1991. In the following years, he was credited as the mastermind behind the group's vast expansion, diversified concept lines and money-spinning success.

Then, in a move that stunned the industry in 2004, he left the group abruptly to set up his own restaurant group.

He left because of differences over certain 'issues', said Crystal Jade's Hong Kong-born and based chairman, Ip Yiu Tung, 57, in an earlier report.

Ip - whose wife happens to be the sister of Leung's wife - has been Crystal Jade's group chairman since 1992, and has taken over Leung's managerial duties since his departure.

It is common industry knowledge that the parting was acrimonious, and that the brothers-in-law are no longer on talking terms.

And now, Imperial Treasure's brisk ascent has sparked talk that Leung is out to challenge Crystal Jade in a big way.

Take the number of times Imperial Treasure has set up shop just a stone's throw away from Crystal Jade.

Of Imperial Treasure's five outlets, four are located in the same mall as Crystal Jade.

Imperial Treasure (Teochew Cuisine) is exactly opposite Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant on level four of Ngee Ann City, and Imperial Treasure Nan Bei Restaurant is just upstairs on level five.

In Suntec City Mall, only a cafe separates Imperial Treasure Teochew Kitchen and Crystal Jade Kitchen. And in Great World City, just a few shop units come between Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine and Crystal Jade Kitchen on level two.

Says a chef-restaurateur who did not want to be named for fear of offending the two parties: 'If you see one, you see the other. It's like McDonald's versus KFC.'

The bristling competition even extended to the writing of this article.

When told that their rivalry would be the subject of this story, both Ip and Leung - who had been forthcoming in previous interviews unrelated to each other - declined to comment.

But while Crystal Jade agreed to have its dishes photographed in the accompanying food review, Imperial Treasure declined to let us shoot any pictures.

Location, location, location

SOME light on the rivalry is shed when LifeStyle approached Leung's eldest brother, Jimmy, for insight.

For more than 10 years, Jimmy, 62, and their younger brother Vincent, 49, were regular faces in Crystal Jade restaurants, where they were senior executive manager and executive manager respectively.

The pair left the group in April 2003 to strike out on their own. They opened My Choice Chinese Cuisine in River Valley Road in early 2004, which specialises in pairing Cantonese dishes with Western wines.

Friendly and open, Jimmy - who has no shares in Imperial Treasure and is not close to Ip - refutes all speculation that Alfred is out to challenge Crystal Jade.

'There's no need to. He's just doing his own business,' he says.

He stresses that Imperial Treasure wants to open in the best, traffic-heavy locations, so it is inevitable that it would come up against the near-omnipresent Crystal Jade.

'Remember, Imperial is in Marina Square, where Crystal Jade is not. And Imperial is not going into VivoCity, where it is,' he says.

Leung arrived in Singapore in the 1980s and started the now-defunct Happy Valley restaurant in Singapore Shopping Centre.

He later opened Crystal Jade in Cairnhill Hotel and asked Ip to invest some money as a shareholder.

Apart from Ip, the majority shareholder, there were eight other partners - including Leung - who were Singaporeans.

Under Leung, Crystal Jade's modus operandi was to let the food do the talking. He was at the time publicity-shy and didn't advertise or give interviews.

Along with his wife, Hera, who was purchasing manager, the pair are said to have built the brand into household-name status.

'Their success is really not by luck,' says long-time customer Don Tay, 55, who owns Bacchus wine shop in Paragon.

'They have very high standards in food and service, always sampling the food and telling their staff how to improve,' he adds.

When Leung left the group, 15 chefs and eight managers reportedly left with him to set up Imperial Treasure. Leung, who has two children in their 20s, has since sold his minority share of Crystal Jade, says Jimmy.

Backed by an Indonesian battery-maker as its majority shareholder, Imperial Treasure has already kickstarted its regional expansion by planting one restaurant in Tokyo.

Crystal Jade has about 20 restaurants and bakeries in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

In an earlier interview, Ip said that Leung's departure did not set off any alarms internally.

'If a company is healthy, one or two people leaving will not affect anything,' he said in an October 2004 interview.

Indeed, Crystal Jade seems to have gone from strength to strength, launching a new Oriental fastfood-style concept, C-Jade Express, in Wisma Atria last December.

The group's turnover last year, riding on an impressive streak of year-on-year increases over a decade, was a whopping $130 million.

It opened its most upmarket restaurant to date, Crystal Jade Dining IN, in VivoCity last Thursday. It boasts four private dining rooms and stunning 180-degree views of the waterfront.

Ip, who owns a piano manufacturing business in Shanghai, used to make only the macro, high-level decisions as chairman.

Now, as the managing director as well, he spends a good 75 per cent of his time on the group, flying to Singapore every fortnight from Hong Kong or Shanghai to give the go-ahead on everything from menus to expansion plans.

Analytical and soft-spoken, he takes a different tack from Leung when dealing with the media.

'Engaging the media is good exposure for the brand,' he said earlier.

Indeed, before this article, the father of a 14-year-old girl had been widely accessible for interviews and photographs.

Diners gain

SO WHICH restaurant group is likely to win this tug of war? Both sides have their fair share of fans.

Makansutra food consultancy founder K. F. Seetoh, 43, says Crystal Jade has a slight edge over Imperial Treasure because of its size and unshakeable brand identity.

'You're not quite sure what Imperial stands for just yet,' he says.

But Wei Chan, 33, business development manager of Pine Garden's cake shop in Ang Mo Kio, prefers Imperial Treasure. He says: 'Its food is finer and its service is excellent.'

One thing's for sure, though. Other Chinese restaurants are feeling the heat.

Says an owner who declined to be named: 'We don't want to be sucked into their agendas, but we are all affected. We're all after the same pool of customers, and the pool is now getting smaller.'

Restaurants like Ju Bao Hong Kong Cuisine in Upper Serangoon Road, which serves family-style Cantonese food in a coffee shop, and Romanee's Kitchen in Lau Pa Sat, which serves Cantonese and local fare, say they are not adversely affected by the tussle.

'We sell slightly different things, so we still have our own regulars,' says Romanee's co-owner Danny Lee, 34.

It is restaurants that offer similar menus and price brackets that are hit more directly. They find themselves working harder to retain their slice of the pie.

Taste Paradise in Mosque Street, for example, aims to keep its Cantonese menu interesting by changing it every four months. It also rolls out six 'chef's recommendation' items every month.

'Every day, we drill into our staff how to maintain our standards. With so much competition, we can't afford to slip up,' says owner Eldwin Chua, 29.

Indeed, the biggest winner in this industry shake-up is you, the diner.

Ang Kiam Meng, 44, president of the Restaurant Association of Singapore, says: 'Competition is good for the market. Everyone will try to improve.'

Restaurants are now tripping over themselves to introduce different cuisines and improving service standards.

The 17-outlet Tung Lok Chinese restaurant group, for example, recently introduced Hunan cuisine in its new House of Hunan restaurant in Velocity @ Novena Square.

Last November, it launched Tung Lok First, a customer loyalty programme, where diners earn 10 per cent of every receipt in free 'dollars', which they can spend in future visits.

'We have to cultivate our own customers,' says Tung Lok's chief operating officer, William Tan, 46.

Retail specialist Lynda Wee, a founding member of the Retail Professional Network, foresees Imperial Treasure opening more outlets to widen its reach.

But only market forces will decide which of the two will triumph in the long run, she says.

This only means one thing to the Singapore diner - there's plenty to feast on while these two giants slug it out.

[email protected]

Copyright © 2006 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 05:12 AM   #68
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@redstone: I'm in AMK now ^ ^

I tried Imperial Treasure at Marina Square and I have to say that their Beijing and Shanghai steamed dumplings are really damn good, way better than Crystal Jade's... Although for the Shanghai steam dumplings I still prefer Koo Kee at Bugis/Marine Parade... But they don't have the Beijing ones ;-)
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Old October 15th, 2006, 07:11 AM   #69
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Quote:
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the eggplants looked like they just survived a nuclear attack.
must be from North Korea then. better find time to take a look this air-flown limited edition specimen.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 08:48 AM   #70
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must be from North Korea then.....
Nice one!
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Old October 15th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #71
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oh welcome back to posting Pengui, cute new avatar!

I was at VivoCity last night and the crowds were just piling in again....all dining outlets were overflowing with people...they should consider making some parts go 24-hours
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Old October 15th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #72
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oh welcome back to posting Pengui, cute new avatar!

I was at VivoCity last night and the crowds were just piling in again....all dining outlets were overflowing with people...they should consider making some parts go 24-hours
Yeah the dining outlets were HOT....

Anyway I think the situation would be better after the grand opening.....right now too crowded for my liking.....
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Old October 15th, 2006, 04:16 PM   #73
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I think thats largely due to the fact that its new, and its hazy....I hope the crowd relaxes a little...even HarbourFront was crazy
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Old October 15th, 2006, 04:19 PM   #74
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I think thats largely due to the fact that its new, and its hazy....I hope the crowd relaxes a little...even HarbourFront was crazy
I guess this has to do with fact that there isn't any new malls for years......just imagine the crowds when Marina Bay Sands opens....

I think things could get better when Sentosa Express opens.....they should set up more eateries in Sentosa too......
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Old October 15th, 2006, 04:30 PM   #75
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I guess this has to do with fact that there isn't any new malls for years......just imagine the crowds when Marina Bay Sands opens....
Thats true..its been a long while since any major new malls opened for Singaporeans to go....good news is a lot more major ones are coming up till decade's end...its a construction boom now
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Old October 15th, 2006, 04:34 PM   #76
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Thats true..its been a long while since any major new malls opened for Singaporeans to go....good news is a lot more major ones are coming up till decade's end...its a construction boom now
Yeah so exciting......2 more malls, Ikea/Courts/Giant (warehouse scheme) to check out this year....more coming up..

Feels quite exciting that I'll only go for short holidays......enough excitment to make me stay in Singapore.....
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Old October 16th, 2006, 04:58 AM   #77
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Biggest crowd yet at Vivocity, but no jams

16 Oct 06

CALL IT a happy coincidence, but the record crowd at Vivocity this weekend was not a human jam as people moved seamlessly through the MRT gates to shop, shop, shop.
Modifications to HarbourFront MRT station's exits and ticket machines ensured a steady flow - but the work had actually been carried out to facilitate construction of the Circle Line.

Singapore's biggest and newest mega-mall pulled in 188,000 shoppers on Saturday alone, exceeding last Saturday's 168,000.

Yesterday, over 122,000 people had visited by 6pm.

The 1.4 million sq ft mall is the combined size of Suntec City and the Tangs outlet in Orchard Road.

One typically unflustered shopper was Mr Ng Chun Meng, 29, an IT manager. 'We were here last week and it was about as crowded,' he said.

But there was no chaos at the MRT station.

Over the weekend, more than 60,000 passengers used the station. However, prior to the mall's opening, the weekend commuter traffic there was about 30,000.

SBS Transit, which operates the North-East Line, upped the number of ticket machines on Saturday - from five to eight.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday also completed the relocation of the existing fare gates closer to the linkway leading to Entrance B, which leads to HarbourFront and the new Entrance E, which leads directly to the basement of Vivocity.

LTA spokesman Naleeza Ebrahim said the work had been done to 'facilitate the construction of HarbourFront station on the Circle Line'.

She added that a second phase of work would relocate the remaining fare gates closer to the linkway leading to Entrance C's current ticketing machines, but the timing for that has not been decided yet.

HarbourFront station will be one of the six interchange stations on the $6.8 billion Circle Line, which is expected to be completed by 2010.

As it turned out, the additional work helped prevent bottlenecks and accidents.

In any case, though, SBS Transit took no chances with the relentless flow of shoppers, adding in extra measures just in case the crowds got even bigger over the weekend.

One included deploying more staff at the two foodcourts, Food Republic and Kopitiam, which opened for business over the weekend.

SBS Transit spokesman Tammy Tan told The Straits Times: 'We have increased the number of staff for crowd control and safety reasons.'

But she added that the numbers were not unmanageable and that there still was capacity on the North-East Line trains plying the route.

Nearly a million people have patronised Vivocity since it opened two weeks ago.

About 60 per cent of the 300 shops are open. The mall boasts big brand names like Esprit, Topshop and Zara. Mango opens its doors today.

But how long will the tide of shoppers last?

Mr Frederick Png, 59, a senior marketing director in a real estate firm, said: 'I suppose the attraction is that it's a new shopping centre. It's definitely more crowded than Suntec City now.

'But the question is, can they can sustain it?'


By T. Rajan & Adeline Chia
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Old October 16th, 2006, 05:04 AM   #78
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This mall looks cool and modern, the ceiling looks quite low though. I might as well go there myself when my Singapore trip pushes through
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Old October 16th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #79
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I think the crowd would last till year end at least.......there will be more shops opening by year end....
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Old October 16th, 2006, 12:34 PM   #80
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Quote:
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I think the crowd would last till year end at least.......there will be more shops opening by year end....
Numerous shops will be opening tomorrow, Oct 17. By Dec 6 most shops should be open, and a few late comers should open in January 07.
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