Swee Lee, the musical instrument store that we have grown up with since their earlier days in Bras Basah, is undergoing some changes. According to Straits Times article Wilmar founder’s son Kuok Meng Ru building cloud-based music community BandLab, the younger Kuok had bought over Swee Lee in 2012 and is now making it into a modern enterprise. Sales have doubled since then. The smallish Swee Lee store at Star Vista has been converted into a 5,000 sq ft flagship store. A cafe called Swee Lee Social Club is tucked away in an inner part of the store. Looks like Mr Kuok is really refreshing the musical scene. There was another Business Times report on his inroads into the global music business Kuok Meng Ru wants to buy 51% of Rolling Stone he doesn’t own.
While the business of music is most interesting, we were there primarily to eat. But first, we show you some pictures of the new Swee Lee store. It does look much bigger than the previous space, but we are not sure that the musical instrument content has increased much. There are now more types of things sold in the store including shoes and clothes. It looks more like a ‘lifestyle’ store rather than a pure musical store. Indeed the official name of this Swee Lee outlet is “Star Vista Lifestyle Store”. Fortunately, the guitars still take centre stage.
The Swee Lee Social Club is a small space at one end of the store. It is manned by one person.
Swee Lee Social Club Menu
Currently, the Swee Lee Social Club looks more like a coffee and drinks place. The regular menu contains some types of tea and coffee and a few other types of drinks. Food items were listed in a “secret menu” which was only produced on request. There were only three food choices – ice cream , waffles and toast. We decided on some coffee, a hot chocolate and the Sweet Toast ($7).
Here is a picture of our drinks – long black ($4), espresso ($3.5) and hot chocolate ($6). They were quite ordinary in taste.
The food item looked more attractive. It was a piece of toast topped with a lot of healthy things. Slices of banana, blueberries, muesli, dried fruit and a drizzle of honey. This dish has the potential to be delicious. Unfortunately, the single person running the Swee Lee Social Club cafe was clearly over-stretched. He had to prepare drinks and attend to other customers. By the time the Sweet Toast arrived it was a piece of limp, room temperature bread topped with a lot of healthy things.
Overall, our visit to the new Swee Lee Social Club in the Star Vista Lifestyle Centre was a pleasant one because there was so much to see elsewhere in the store. The food, unfortunately, was not the highlight of our visit.
Overall Rating: 2 TOPs
Swee Lee Social Club @ Star Vista Lifestyle Store
#1-07/08/09/10 The Star Vista 1 Vista Exchange Green
Tel: +65 6334 7703
Mon-Sat: 10.00am – 10.00pm
Sun & PH: 10.00am – 10.00pm
Swee Lee Website
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