WHEN Julie's Kopitiam first opened in 2017, it represented a new era for cuisine in Shawlands.

Over the years, the Southside has become the quintessential destination for foodies across Glasgow, but the loss of one of its institutions has come as quite a shock.

The Kopitiam, which was recently featured in an episode of BBC's The Hairy Bikers, permanently closed its doors on Pollokshaws Road on January 22.

Amid rising food and energy costs, chef Julie Lin, 31, decided it was time to close the Kopitiam and focus on Ga Ga, a bar and restaurant in Partick that she co-owns with Marc Ferrier and Fraser Hamilton.

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READ MORE: Glasgow restaurant Julie's Kopitiam to close

Julie said: "I think a lot of owner-led businesses will struggle with rising costs for food.

"Energy costs are so high as well. For the Kopitiam, it went up about 4.5 times what it was.

"Imagine your bill was initially £400 and is now sitting at about £2000, a crazy amount of money.

"I think when it becomes more than your rent, that's when businesses struggle."

Though the decision was a tough one to make, Julie is focused on staying positive about the future.

The former MasterChef finalist said: "I'm also closing the Kopitiam for my own reasons and to focus on other things.

"I only see the Kopitiam as a good chapter in my life.

"As a business owner, you always have to be adaptable and you always have to change with what's happening.

"For me right now, I had to change fast and that's been quite a fun challenge, but I know that's not the case for a lot of other businesses."

The hardest part of closing down was the "first hurdle" of admitting to customers and staff that the business was closing, Julie says.

Fortunately, most of the staff from Julie's Kopitiam are taking up new roles at Ga Ga.

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READ MORE: Glasgow street food vendor announces takeover of Julie's Kopitiam

The team at the Kopitiam ended on a high note with a final weekend filled with supportive customers, friends and family.

Julie said: "I think we've been really lucky in the sense that we've got loads of customers that are really understanding and supportive and will follow our next move, which is really encouraging."

Julie has been spending the last two days undertaking the bittersweet final steps of clearing out the Kopitiam unit for the next tenants.

She said: "It's quite a lot of memories that go into a business.

"Even the small things, like I have this broken spatula which I'm obsessed with.

"It's falling apart but I was like 'I can't throw that out, I'm going to take the broken spatula with me'.

"It becomes the really small things that mean a lot to you."

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Julie added: "In a way, it feels like the best thing to do for me right now, as much as there's sadness around it."

On the bright side of things, loyal customers of Julie's Kopitiam will still be able to nosh on their favourite Malaysian dishes as Julie plans to bring them over to Ga Ga.

Breakfast favourite roti canai (a flaky bread with curry dhal) and the Nyonya-style chicken curry will be joining the beloved nasi goreng on the Ga Ga menu.

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Julie said: "I'm really looking forward to celebrating Malaysian food in Partick.

"I don't want to put the closure all down to gloom and sadness.

"For me, the positive is working with the team here, having one base.

"We have a slightly bigger kitchen so we can be more adventurous with the food.

"It feels like an exciting time."

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Julie has lots planned for 2023 including dumpling-making classes for customers in Ga Ga, an upcoming pop-up restaurant in London and she has a BBC programme coming out this year.

Julie said: "I'll never forget the Kopitiam because it's been amazing and it's got me where I am today."

Since the closure was announced, fans of the restaurant have been sharing an outpouring of "heartwarming" tributes and are showing "that Glasgow really cares".

Julie said: "It's been joyful tears.

"I'm feeling a lot of gratitude towards everyone because Kopitiam is just a room.

"That building is just a room, but it's all the people around it and the staff that have made it incredible over the years."

To find out more about Ga Ga kitchen and bar, click here.