Singapore restaurants are blaming high rent after customers complained about the soaring price of a riverside dinner.
The latest incident of a meal leaving a bad taste in the mouth involved a 71-year-old British retiree.
In a letter to the Straits Times, George Vickers said he had not read the menu prices before sitting down with his wife for a recent dinner, which included rice and vegetables. The bill came to S$314 (US$251), including tax.
In April, a Filipino family was horrified after being handed a dinner check for S$1,000.
Restaurant operators are defending their prices, turning the tables on customers by saying greedy landlords are to blame.
They say the prices are a result of high rents, which have almost doubled in the past five years, according to the Straits Times.
Live seafood is offered by five eateries along the riverside front, all of which have similar menu prices.
At Harvest Seafood Restaurant, live sea bass costs for S$7 per 100 grams.
At Fuqing Marina Bay Seafood Restaurant and Haven Lobster & Seafood Restaurant, it costs S$9, while two outlets run by Forum Seafood Village charge S$9.80 per 100g of sea bass, after discount.
These prices are double that of live seafood restaurants in other locations, which offer the same fish at between S$2.80 and S$5 per 100g, the report said.
Vickers, who was in Singapore for a brief visit, did not lodge a complaint with the restaurant but took to the letters section of the Times to vent his outrage.
“It was fairly dark in that restaurant around night time, so we didn’t note the price,” he said.
But had Vickers complained, the restaurant might have given him a discount, its owner told the Times.
“It’s not fair to us,” said the owner, who did not want to be identified.
“We are 30 to 40 per cent more expensive than a coffee shop, but everything is the same as what other restaurants here are doing.”
He said his restaurant pays more than S$30,000 a month in rent, and that it is “just getting by”.
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