Peranakan cai png eatery Belimbing Superstar has shut its doors for good yesterday (Jan 21), just five months after opening.

The closure was an abrupt move which appeared to have surprised both fans of the restaurant as well as its staff.

In a social media post that same morning, it stated that “it is with regret and sadness to share (sic) that Belimbing Superstar will close permanently from today. From the B.Star family, we thank you for your love and support.”

It is with regret and sadness to share that Belimbing Superstar will close permanently from today. From the B.Star…

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It did not give a reason for the closure but announced that operations at its sister restaurant, The Coconut Club, will continue as usual. 

One Belimbing Superstar staff member we spoke to who was let go told AsiaOne that employees at the restaurant were informed only on the day of the closure, during a meeting called “at 9am”. They were also told that the restaurant “was not making money”, said the employee, who declined to be named.

According to the same employee, only the restaurant manager and “a few chefs” were redeployed to nasi lemak specialist The Coconut Club, while the remaining employees were retrenched.

Belimbing Superstar opened its doors in August 2019, down the street from popular The Coconut Club at Ann Siang Hill which opened in 2016 to rave reviews. Three weeks after Belimbing’s opening, the restaurants’ co-founder, Mr Lee Eng Su, died suddenly at his home. He was 40.

AsiaOne understands the restaurants are managed by The Main Squeeze hospitality group, and the director of the company is Lee’s cousin, Ian Lee. 

When AsiaOne was at Belimbing Superstar last December, employees we spoke to appeared to be unaware of what laid ahead.

Head chef Ben Teo, 63 — who was also among those who were let go on Tuesday — said on Wednesday (Jan 22) that he was shocked as well by the sudden announcement. 

He told AsiaOne: “We can’t enjoy our Chinese New Year, because we don’t know what’s the journey in front of us.”

While he indicated that there’ll be monetary compensation, he added that “nothing can be compared to a stable rice bowl”.

Teo shared that he hopes to look for another job in the kitchen. “I believe in my food,” he affirmed. 

AsiaOne reached out to the restaurants’ management staff for more information but a general manager we spoke to declined to comment. 

This content was originally published here.