|Asia's Top 20 restaurants for 2011/2012.|
Friday, 30th March 2012
Source : The Miele Guide
Thousands of people from around the world cast votes for the best restaurants in 17 countries across Asia.
Voters chose from a shortlist of restaurants which had been selected by a panel of 73 of the most respected restaurant critics and food writers in Asia.
After four intense rounds of voting and selection, the smoke cleared and 17 countries (5 more than were in the first edition) and 500 restaurants (50 more than in the last edition) made the final cut.
Having moved to a larger space in September 2010 (it was really the kitchen that expanded, since the dining room still seats 40), Ignatius Chan’s acclaimed restaurant continues to draw a faithful clientele, who come to experience the refined and thoughtful interpretations of modern European fare in a classy, minimalist space. The lunch and eight-course dinner degustation menus change periodically, but always feature artful flavour combinations, executed with finesse and restraint.
2. Restaurant Andre
Set in a three-storey shophouse in Chinatown, Restaurant Andre is one of the jewels of Singapore’s dining scene. After a high-profile stint at Jaan, chef Andre Chiang struck out with his own eatery in 2010. Having spent a considerable part of his culinary career working with French culinary heavyweights, such as Pierre Gagnaire, Joel Robuchon and the Pourcel brothers, it comes as no surprise that Chiang’s culinary style has been described as Nouvelle French. He uses the freshest local ingredients in inventive ways in his Octaphilosophy tasting menus. They comprise eight light, imaginative and exquisite courses, each corresponding to abstract characteristics such as ‘Pure’ and ‘Artisan.’
3. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong, China
The L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon operation is a sleek, well-oiled machine worldwide, and here in Hong Kong, it’s no different. The by-now-familiar red and black interiors are still sexy although nothing compares to the impressive dishes turned out by the Robuchon chefs season after season. This is ‘fast food’ haute cuisine at its oxymoronic best. For the full L’Atelier experience, make sure you ask for a counter seat and indulge in the Menu Decouverte, a sumptuous showcase\ that will not leave you wanting. Don’t leave without several licks of the amazingly buttery and smooth mashed potatoes.
4. Robuchon a Galera
This is Old World fine dining at its best, and, without a doubt, Robuchon a Galera deserves all the accolades it’s received. After more than 10 years, it remains one of the top restaurants in this part of the world, which is no mean feat. Executive chef Francky Semblat helms this Macau outpost of the Robuchon empire, serving up exquisite French classics with panache. For full-blown indulgence, only the degustation menu will do. Otherwise, begin with the very good-value set lunch menu. Oenophiles will have fun with the 300-plus-page tome of a wine list or the niftier iPad version.
Hong Kong, China
For sheer glamour and all-round dazzle, Caprice is hard to beat. Large crystal chandeliers hang overhead in the gold-hued dining hall and even the open kitchen boasts crystal-clad cooker hoods. Throw in the stunning harbour views and the stage is set for glitz. Foodwise, Chef Vincent Thierry’s cuisine more than lives up to expectations with his creative interpretations of French classics, complemented by pastry chef Marike van Beurden’s stellar desserts. Caprice offers some of the best artisan cheeses in the city and boasts a first-rate wine list. Reservations are essential.
6. Cilantro Restaurant & Wine Bar
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cilantro is where well-heeled gourmets, politicians and KL’s who’s who converge for fine contemporary French-Japanese cuisine with a progressive edge. Chef Takashi Kimura holds court here and impresses with a menu inspired by French cuisine and studded with quality produce sourced from Asia, especially Japan. Think a rich risotto of abalone with aosanori, unagi paired with foie gras for an absolutely decadent treat, and grain-fed lamb rack with houba miso. Like the cuisine, the service is immaculate here, and the wine list suitably expansive.
7. Mr & Mrs Bund – Modern Eatery by Paul Pairet
He may have made a name for himself with his edgy, experimental cuisine during his tenure at Jade on 36, but chef Paul Pairet is showing another facet of his culinary talent with his classic French menu (with a contemporary riff, of course) at the new Mr & Mrs Bund. Think of the food here as French cuisine meets Glee. You order a few classics, mash them up with some contemporary creations, and you get a meal that could never be old-fashioned or boring. The menu is rambling, but once you’ve chosen your main (say a roast chicken, milk-fed veal or Chilean black cod), the rest falls into place.
8. Pierre Gagnaire a Seoul
Once again, Pierre Gagnaire has created a place for the jaded to be refreshed and for the uninitiated to have their minds boggled. Your meal will follow the standard courses, but the flavours presented may surprise. Head chef Julien Boscus has capitalised on local ingredients, pairing mimolette with ginseng and sesame leaf (perilla) with tuna and potato puree. He even makes a sorbet out of soju, the Korean vodka. Dishes come in an array of colours, textures and flavours, of which some will delight, shock and enrapture
9. Bo Innovation
Hong Kong, China
Chef Alvin Leung’s edgy, progressive cuisine reigns supreme at Bo Innovation. He calls his food ‘X-treme cuisine’ and indeed, this talented, tattooed chef pushes the vanguard as he gives his spin on traditional Chinese cuisine. Chee cheong fun, or steamed rice rolls, gets a luxe makeover with black truffles and M9 Wagyu beef. And his xiaolongbao, or steamed soup-filled dumplings, are perfect little parcels of molecular gastronomy, with broth bursting into glorious flavours the minute the ‘dumpling’ hits your tongue. In short, come with an open mind and an appetite.
10. Tippling Club
Industrial chic meets tropical lush at the Tippling Club. This brainchild of culinary whiz kid Ryan Clift provides diners with a sensational experience, pairing molecular gastronomy with molecular mixology. Choose from a five or 10-course paired tasting menu (which changes quarterly) and prepare for a whimsical, happy meal. Recent offerings include slow-braised Wagyu beef cheek with red wine quinoa and beetroot puree, and foie gras with spiced gaufrette biscuit and green apples. Sensational combinations of flavours and textures.
Situated on a beautiful one-hectare property a two-hour drive from Manila, Antonio’s is an elegant restaurant that purveys a dining experience where one is wont to feel like a personal guest of chef-owner Antonio Escalante. It could be the comfortable, lightfilled dining spaces, or perhaps the personable and experienced service, or the extensive menu that combines the best of imported Western ingredients with local produce, including crisp vegetables grown on the property. For a truly celebratory group feast, order the spanferkel one day in advance. This house speciality is a herb-and-potato stuffed boneless roast suckling pig that is carved at the table with aplomb and served with yummy trimmings such as homemade apple sauce.
For many gourmets, a visit to Mozaic is part and parcel of the food pilgrimage in Bali. American-French chef Chris Salans, having lived on the island for more than 13 years, impresses with contemporary cuisine that deftly incorporates local Balinese ingredients. The menus change daily to ensure a showcase of the freshest ingredients. For a gastronomic journey, try one of the four six-course tasting menus. There is also a tapas menu available for guests in the lounge.
13. 8˝ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
Hong Kong, China
Famed Italian chef Umberto Bombana named this restaurant after one of his favourite films, a 1960s classic by Federico Fellini. Accordingly, the interiors are decorated in movie stills and striking works of art, with plush leather seats and glossy surfaces, creating a lustrous, sexy space that’s all Italian. The menu, meanwhile, is an elegant celebration of Italian cuisine. Chef Bombana is also known as the ‘King of White Truffles’, so you can be sure that white truffle season sees some high notes here.
14. Gunther’s Modern French Cuisine
Gunther’s is all hushed sophistication, cloaked in chic, dark grey, and ideal for a romantic tete a tete or a highpowered business lunch. The fare is light and nuanced, yet full of flavour. Chef Gunther Hubrechsen’s signature cold truffle-perfumed angel hair pasta topped with Ossetra caviar is now synonymous with the restaurant, and regulars keep coming back for the meltingly tender roast black pig rack served with apple compote and crisp potatoes. To end your meal, ask for the apple tart with rum and raisin ice cream — a modern homage to a classic dessert.
15. Dum Pukht
Dum Pukht is one of the city’s most refined restaurants and a haven for gourmet Indian food. The menu is drawn from the royal kitchens of Awadh and Dakshin, and the kitchen specialises in the dum pukht style of cooking, a 200-year-old technique of slow cooking over an extremely low flame. The result is wonderfully aromatic, flavourful meats, which includes a meltingly tender raan (leg of lamb).
As its name suggests (Dakshin means ‘south’), this popular restaurant serves a robust sampling of cuisines from the four southern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Most of the menu is comprised of non-vegetarian or vegetarian thalis (several dishes in small round bowls set on a round tray), which make a great way to sample a wide variety of dishes all at once. The dining hall is both ornate and intimate and, combined with the formal service and live classical music at dinner, is guaranteed to result in an enjoyable evening.
17. Yung Kee
Hong Kong, China
This celebrated restaurant in the heart of Central needs little introduction. Gourmets around the world know to come for its exquisite roast goose, that’s incredibly tender, rich and a whole gourmet sensation onto itself. Other must-orders are the char siew (barbecued pork) that’s served in generous half-inch-thick slices for a satisfying bite, the homemade century egg (with barely set, wobbly centres) that comes with tangy home-pickled ginger, and the fragrant tea-smoked pork belly. Reservations are essential all-year round.
Toast delicious cocktails, soak up the lavish setting and clubby atmosphere, and indulge in chef-owner Will Meyrick’s wickedly good pan-Asian cuisine. The menu is inspired by Southeast Asian street food, and showcases a gorgeous melange of flavours, textures and ingredients that would have failed in less skilled hands. Try such signatures as crispy pork belly with mandarin ginger chilli and black vinegar caramel, or Phanaeng curry of Wagyu beef cheek with chilli, Thai basil and crushed peanuts.
19. Les Amis
The Les Amis dining empire has spawned top-notch establishments in Singapore and Hong Kong, and this is where it all began. Elegant, polished and yet unfussy, Les Amis has amassed a steady following (since 1994), who pledge allegiance to its solid combination of refined European fare, faultless service and consistent execution. Signatures include a delicately-flavoured baby monkfish, served on the bone with Maitake mushrooms and lime-caper jus. Snag the Chef’s Table to witness chef de cuisine Armin Leitgeb and his team work their magic in the kitchen. The restaurant’s other claim to fame is its extensive wine cellar, which houses more than 2,000 labels.
New Delhi, India
Bukhara is, without doubt, one of the most famous restaurants in India, and has been visited by an untold number of celebrities and heads of state. Diehard fans return time and again for the dahl Bukhara and the Sikandari Raan. The latter is a whole leg of baby lamb that has been marinated for hours with spices such as cumin and cinnamon, before bring grilled in the tandoor to juicy perfection. Bukhara serves food from the North West Frontier — a region known for its rugged terrain and simple but delicious cuisine.
Purchase a copy of The Miele Guide 2011/2012 at your favourite bookstore or through our online store now and read the full profile of Asia’s Top 20 Restaurants. Also, find out which are the Top 5 restaurants in each of the countries featured in the guide (with the exception of those countries for which there were very few restaurants listed) and check out the further 480 restaurants that made it to this year’s guide.