Rent and rate hikes force Chinatown favourite to fold

Critically acclaimed Chinatown restaurant, Siam Smiles, has announced its sudden closure via social media.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the modest, no-frills Thai supermarket and diner said the venue had been repossessed following increased rent and rate demands.

Speaking to Confidential, Siam Smiles owner, Lallalin Mahasrabphaisal (aka Chef May), said the financial burden had become 'impossible'.

"I can't cope with the pressure anymore"

"The landlord put the rent up from £20,000 in 2013 to £25,000 in 2014, and then up again to £37,000 in 2016 - that's nearly 50% in two years," she said.

"Our rates have also gone up from £12,000 to £17,000. For us it was impossible to pay the increased rent and increased rates and keep stocking the restaurant."

"Now they are trying to take me to tribunal to pay the difference. I can't cope with the pressure anymore," she continued. "My heart is broken, but we will try to find a new home and start over." 

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180321 Siam Smiles Img 8442
The door to Siam Smiles was bolted shut on Wednesday 21 March

Opened in 2014, the charming cafe, serving simple, low-cost dishes - such as Kow Moo Krob and Som Tam Thai - from a box kitchen to customers seated on orange plastic furniture beside shelves of fish maw and Rooney-brand custard soon became the city's most talked about food destination.

Reviewing Siam Smiles in October 2014, Confidential food critic Lucy Tomlinson wrote:

'The supermarket-chic is all part of the fun. It’s amusing to casually saunter over to the fridge and pluck out a can of Fanta or bottle of lychee pop whenever you feel like it, at least for the first couple of times...'

'It doesn’t surprise me that critics have been effusive, it must seem so real and down-to-earth after all the freeze-dried this and edible twigs... The food is robust and interesting and lord knows there can never be too many alternatives to the array of chains nearby.'

2017 Hidden Gems Siam Smiles
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Both the Kuai Tiew Yen Ta (above) and the Kow Moo Krob were high-scoring dishes

Confidential has contacted the landlord and is awaiting a response.