Thursday, February 3, 2011

Magnolia Snack Bar and Hilda's

Saw an old calendar tray last week at the flea market and it had the most memorable, iconic scene for me. Before the building Centrepoint at Orchard was built, it was the location of Singapore's first and oldest supermarket - Cold Storage. Like Robinsons, Cold Storage was a place where the most fashionable ladies from the expatriate community would shop for their groceries. On the upper floor was a boutique called Hilda's which imports beautiful dresses, buttons and accessories from England. Mum used to come here quite frequently and memories of me rummaging through drawers of buttons are still with me. I love recommending her buttons I found to match her material. Then she would take me to the Magnolia Snack Bar for vanilla and chocolate ice cream which comes in little stainless steel cups. If I was really good, I get to order an ice cream sundae. My favourite was the Merry Widow which was a really strange name for an ice cream but it made me remember it even more after all these years.
Best of all, my school was just behind, up a little road called Emerald Hill . It was fun to know that right at the school door's steps was the iconic retail stretch of Singapore. A great distraction and diversion from our studies back in those days.
Then came the time to tear the buildings down for Centrepoint in 1983. I was sad to see the Magnolia Snack Bar and Hilda's go but with all modernisation, it was inevitable.
I wonder if anyone else has nice memories of this place ?


Terence "Tango2" Teo said...

I have memories of Hilda's too, and the record shop with the soundproof test room. I most fondly remember the bookshop at the back, and Salad Bowl coffeehouse, the Bata Shop and most fondly of all, the Toy Shop.

I remember that the Magnolia Snack Bar had a split level dining area, and my favourite dish was chicken sandwiches. At Salad Bowl it was fish and chips!

We always parked at the back next to the back stair entrance, but if we couldn't then we would try to park in the covered car park at the back (upper left in your tray picture).

Thanks for bringing back these fond memories for me!

Smell the Coffee said...

Glad you have fond memories of the place too ! I love to sit at the higher level at the Magnolia Snack Bar and look at everyone else down below.Life was simple and sweet :)

Gentlecloud said...

Hi, thanks for the photos and the info. You must be from SCGS. So was I! Good to 'meet' you.

You asked about other memories of that place. I remembered a fruit juice shop near to Magnolia Snack Bar. It was one of the earliest shops to offer juicing of fruits, outside of restaurants. I remembered dreaming during class of how I will drink plum juice that day. It turned out that they do not do plum juice :D What a shame.

Opposite Magnolia Snack Bar was a newly opened Kentucky Fried Chicken around the time when I was in secondary school. It was a novelty then. They served the set meal on a proper plate, with a scoop of whipped potato and a heap of coleslaw on it, not in the fast food box which they now serve in.

I remembered dreaming of patronising Magnolia Snack Bar. Their smell from the outside is just so wonderful, a heady scent of vanilla. A wonderful but different scent identified Cold Storage, more of rich butter I think.

Su Yin

Smell the Coffee said...

Hi Su Yin

Didn't see your comments earlier.Thanks for dropping by. Great to "meet" another SCGS girl.Our school then really occupied a very prime location. It was already quite a distraction then. Can u imagine how it would be like today if the school was still there ? A simple school allowance would never be enough. Dropped by at gentlecloud on line. Nice work !

Giam said...

I'm so glad I found this picture you posted! I remember clearly going to get a sundae each Sunday :) It was dad's repeated "joke".

I don't remember what it was upstairs but I remember you could walk up the stairs on the right when you got into Cold Storage, or you could go up the escalators on the other side. No one else I asked remembers this place so I'm glad I found this site!

Smell the Coffee said...

Thanks for dropping by ! That area in the 70's has lots of memories for me and I'm glad you have them too :)

Unknown said...

Hi there, I just posted a photo of the same tray as yours in my FB taken by my classmate of SCGS. WHAT A WONDERFUL SURPRISE! We were all reminising the past where we would dine there. It was an in thing in the past...