Chiang Mai, September 2019, Dr. Stanley Quek, an international property developer and self-styled restaurateur, is set to unveil Spice Garden, his innovative lifestyle development currently under construction in the heart of Chiang Mai’s old city, by the end of October, 2019.
The Chiang Mai project is the latest in a series of urban renewal developments that reflect Dr. Quek’s vision of cities of the future. This forward thinking Singaporean business leader is credited with breathing new life into numerous inner-city districts around the world, from Sydney to Dublin, and his Chiang Mai project promises to do the same. This new community complex will share similarities with the successful redevelopment of Kensington Street in downtown Sydney, which features the award-winning Asian restaurant Mekong. And 20 more acclaimed restaurants and eateries.
Set in the heart of Chiang Mai’s old city, near the historic Tha Phae Gate and Sunday walking market, the Spice Garden project sees significant inward investment in the province. The centerpiece of this groundbreaking new venture will be a lush tropical garden where residents and tourists alike can relax and enjoy casual al-fresco dining. Alongside the project’s two restaurants, two bars, brasserie and boutique hotel, there will be a line-up of hawker-style eateries in an area called “Spice Alley” – another element replicated from Sydney’s Kensington Street development.
As a property tycoon, Dr. Quek has spent much of his career working on mega-projects but has always been interested in the smallest details of each space as well. He also has a great interest in working on projects in which the inherent character of the location and its surroundings needs to be strictly preserved.
“Chiang Mai’s old city, with its many small streets and alleys, has roots and heritage which are irreplaceable,” Dr. Quek explains. “Through art, food, music, performance arts and our relationship with the local community, Spice Garden will be a place to come and spend an hour or a full day, enjoying yourself in this unique city.”
Dr. Quek’s thriving Kensington Street Precinct in Sydney’s Chippendale is recognised as a vibrant center for art, food and music, which sees up to 3000 people each day. He intends, to bring the same energy and innovation to Spice Garden Chiang Mai by engaging with both local and international artists. The “chili” sculptures of Singaporean artist Kumari Nahappan will form the centerpiece of the garden, while the works of various local artists will be featured in the future.
The jewel in the crown of the new development will be Mekong, the French-inspired Indochine restaurant which will feature the same cuisine that made its sister restaurant in Sydney an award-winner under the direction of awarded Chef Tiw Rakarain. Originally from the north of Thailand, Chef Tiw will be returning home to helm the kitchens at Spice Garden.
“Our cuisine aims to bring innovation but without destroying what’s inherently already there,” remarked Dr. Quek, who is keen on all aspects related to food and beverage and refers to himself as “an accidental restaurateur”.