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London’s Outstanding Thai Restaurant Closes, ‘Hopes’ to Reopen in the New Year

Chef Sirichai Kularbwong announced on Instagram that the restaurant would close because his mother, Thelma, Singburi’s inimitable front-of house, needs surgery

Singburi — London’s great Thai restaurant — in Leytonstone. One of the best restaurants in the city
Michaël Protin/Eater London

London’s outstanding Thai restaurant Singburi has announced that it will close at least until the new year. Its owner says he hopes it can reopen in 2021.

On Instagram yesterday evening, chef-patron Sirichai Kularbwong wrote that the restaurants, which just last week said it would not resume dine-in this side of Christmas, would cease offering takeaway from this week — as a result of his mother, the inimitable Singburi front-of-house, Thelma, having to undergo surgery to address an ongoing issue.

“Unfortunately this means that she will have to self-isolate for two weeks starting from today which means we will have to shutdown. Hopefully we will open in the new year,” the chef wrote. “It’s a bit of a bittersweet finale to this year but what 2020 has dealt to all of us has probably made us stronger. I want to thank all of you who supported us during this time and were super patient when we were lagging behind on orders.”

He added thanks to the restaurant’s suppliers “who introduced us to new produce and who continuously hustled into other forms of delivery.” And “the chefs out there who regardless of a kitchen who still persevered. Thank you and see you next year.”

Thelma Kularbwong, front-of-house, on the phone at Singburi
Thelma Kularbwong on the phone at Singburi
Michaël Protin/Eater London

Singburi, which normally closes at this time of year for a period of two or three months, has remained open throughout the whole of the pandemic — offering takeaway by collection, always adhering to social distancing guidelines while allocating pick-up times and limiting the number of guests inside the restaurant. Sirichai never stopped cooking, nor did Thelma ever stop picking up the phone to take orders and issue them herself.

Singburi is now recognised as one of the city’s truly outstanding restaurants, owing largely to its blackboard menu of specials, which Sirichai has introduced new dishes to every week since March.

Among the restaurant’s loudest, long-time advocates is Eater contributor and Vittles editor Jonathan Nunn, who wrote on Instagram last night: “lots of love to Thelma and hope the recovery is quick and easy.” Nunn was not alone in wishing a swift recovery to Thelma. Nor will he be alone in hoping that one of the London great restaurant returns in 2021.