Top 10 Flavours of Asia
Rashmi Uday Singh writes about the top 10 outstanding restaurants that were awarded at the 'San Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants' awards, which was recently held in Singapore.
The San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is the Oscar of food awards. Held in Singapore at a glittering awards ceremony, the hall was choc-a-bloc with the crème de la crème of the foodie world. Superstar chefs had flown in from all continents.
It was amidst this that Kolkatta-born, Indian chef Gaggan Anand and his partner Rajesh Kewalramani’s restaurant Gaggan (Bangkok) was declared ‘Asia’s best restaurant’.
In Asia’s best restaurant, the very creative and exuberant chef makes art and science copulate in his kitchen. The results are simply astonishing. The papdi chaat’s tangy and chatpatta flavours are recreated here in a quivering white blob. The plump potato-filled samosa, appears on a plate in a fantasy form and so on. Every dish is a visual and gustatory delight.
In this small 14-cover dining room, Chef Seiji Yamamoto takes us on a philosophical journey through Japan’s seasons and cooking heritage, through his Kaiseki cuisine. The chef looks to push culinary boundaries without breaking the central tenets of traditional Japanese cuisine (seasonality, integrity of ingredients and cooking methods, etc).
Secretly located, ten diners only and a twenty-course menu, each dish at Ultraviolet is presented in a flamboyant multi-sensorial style. Moving images are projected on the surrounding walls; music, fragrance and lighting morph, merge and match the individual dishes. With dishes titled Black Cold ‘Tupperware’ and Beggar’s Veal Shank, food here is avant-garde and inspirational.
WAKU GHIN, Singapore
10,000 sq ft of sensuous dining space, which seats only 25 diners—it doesn’t get more intimate than this. For almost three decades, I’ve been a fan of the Japanese-born, Australia-based Chef Tetsuya Wakuda. At Waku Ghin’s exclusive dining space, the chef conjures the most amazing 10-course dégustation menu, for us. It’s signature dish—marinated botan Ebi, uni and oscietra caviar—is still in my tastebud memory.
This passionately dedicated Australian-born chef-restaurateur takes an almost obsessive approach to authenticity. One of the finest Thai restaurants in the world, this is where tradition seamlessly blends with innovation. The result is a dazzling delicious balance of salt, spice, sweet and sour.
MBER, Hong Kong
At Amber, Dutch-born chef and culinary director Richard Ekkebus offers a flamboyant choice of menus. His cooking is ambitious, with dishes typically comprising a number of expertly paired ingredients, whether they are caramelised apples and pears, salsify, tonka beans and citrus peel with venison or aloe vera, banana, micro-sorrel and olive oil wi th pineapple.
The king of new Korean cuisine, Chef Jung Sik Yim knows how to use traditional ingredients and serve them in an ultra-modern way.His fried oyster with seaweed powder and anchovy aïoli are to-die-for.
8½ OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA, Hong Kong
This restaurant is a tribute to Chef Umberto Bombana’s favourite film, the 1963 autobiographical 8½. From marinated tajima beef tenderloin with seasonal vegetables and crispy parmesan to limoncello soufflé, white truffle ice cream and hazelnut chocolate bar, his culinary masterpieces thrill.
The Inori (prayer) comes with an edible candle lit in the centre of the dish—a celebration of Satoyama and Satoumi, Japanese terms describing the mosaic landscapes of different types of ecosystem. Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa employs classical French cooking techniques, but uses the finest Japanese ingredients.
RESTAURANT ANDRÉ, Singapore
One of my most memorable Singapore culinary experiences took place here in this serene, art-infused three-storeyed space in Chinatown. To dine at Restaurant André is to embark on an exploratory journey, around the mind of chef and co-owner André Chiang. Here, the eight-course menu is exquisite, while the techniques and dishes remain French in essence.
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