Surprise, surprise. This year Bangkok is in the culinary highlight with their tops restaurants, Nahm and Gaggan taking 2 of the top 3 spots.

Nahm by Australian-born celebrity chef David Thompson is awarded top honours by earning the title of The S.Pellegrino Asia’s Best Restaurant, up two rankings from last year. It came as a surprise to some that a Japanese restaurant did not come in first.

Singapore has 8 restaurants on the list, Restaurant Andre down one notch from one year at Number 6, though Chef-owner Andre Chiang won the Chef’s Choice Award. New comer Tippling Club was a surprise entry at No. 23, especially when it just moved to a new location early this year.

The other Singapore entries are Waku Ghin (No 7), Iggy’s (No 12), Les Amis (No 14), Jaan (No 17), Shinji (No 35) and Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck (No 40).

Here is the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014
1. Nahm – Bangkok, Thailand
2. Les Créations de Narisawa – Tokyo, Japan
3. Gaggan – Bangkok, Thailand
4. Amber – Hong Kong, China
5. Nihonryori Ryugin – Tokyo, Japan
6. Restaurant Andre – Singapore
7. Waku Ghin – Singapore
8. Ultraviolet – Shanghai, China
9. Lung King Heen 龍景軒 – Hong Kong, China
10. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana – Hong Kong, China
11. Mr & Mrs Bund – Shanghai, China
12. Iggy’s – Singapore
13. Caprice – Hong Kong, China
14. Les Amis – Singapore
15. Bo Innovation – Hong Kong, China
16. Kagurazaka Ishikawa – Tokyo, Japan
17. Jaan – Singapore
18. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – Hong Kong
19. Fook Lam Moon 福臨門 – Hong Kong, China
20. Jungsik – Seoul, Korea
21. Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin – Bangkok, Thailand
22. Quintessence – Tokyo, Japan
23. Tippling Club – Singapore
24. Le Mout – Taichung City, Taiwan
25. L’Effervescene, Tokyo, Japan
26. Fu 1015 – Shanghai, China
27. Bukhara – India
28. Bo.Lan – Bangkok, Thailand
29. Indian Accent, at The Manor – New Delhi, India
30. Dum Pukht – New Delhi, India
31. Issaya Siamese Club – Bangkok, Thailand
32. Varq – New Delhi, India
33. 28 Hubin Road – Hangzhou, China
34. Takazawa – Tokyo, Japan
35. Shinji by Kanesaka – Singapore
36. Wasabi by Morimoto – Mumbai, India
37. Eat Me – Bangkok, Thailand
38. Sukiyabashi Jiro – Tokyo, Japan
39. Robochon Au Dome – Macau, China
40. Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck – Singapore
41. Sawada – Tokyo, Japan
42. Hajime – Osaka, Japan
43. Sushi Saito – Tokyo, Japan
44. Nihonbashi – Colombo, Sri Lanka
45. Yardbird – Hong Kong, China
46. Family Li Imperial Cuisine – Shanghai, China
47. Sarong – Bali, Indonesia
48. Franck Bistro – Shanghai, China
49. Karavalli – Bangalore, India
50. Tenku RyuGin – Hong Kong, China

1. Nahm – Bangkok, Thailand
Thai fare in an upmarket restaurant setting. Chef David Thompson had convinced his naysayers by collecting recipes wholeheartedly from the streets of Thailand, even creating dishes that are said to be truly traditional in taste.

2. Les Créations de Narisawa – Tokyo, Japan
Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa is all about “sustainability and gastronomy”, creating dishes “in harmony with nature and the environment”. He gets his food inspirations from the forests, and serves soil, charcoal and bark on the table, with imaginative food that tells a story.

3. Gaggan – Bangkok, Thailand
Gaggan, a progressive Indian restaurant in a colonial style wooden house set in the heart of downtown Bangkok, showcases modern interpretation of Indian classics. Romantic and satisfying.

4. Amber – Hong Kong, China
Amber is at the perfect blend of the produces from East and cooking techniques from the West. Chef Richard Ekkebus, Dutch-born and French-trained, loves a light touch to his cooking, with great emphasis placed on creative beautiful presentations.

5. Nihonryori Ryugin – Tokyo, Japan
RyuGin’s Chef Seiji Yamamoto is known to push culinary boundaries, creating avant-garde dishes, while blending with the seasonal ingredients available in Japan. Every season has a different menu, and every day it may differ based on what is available in the market.

6. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
Chef Andre Chiang’s philosophical menu is based on an “Octaphilosophy” theme of eight dishes, representing Pure, Salt, Artisan, South, Texture, Unique, Memory and Terrior. Every single dish represented perfection with the blend of ingredients, the intricacies that go into creation, and the thought process of putting it together.

7. Waku Ghin, Singapore
Opened by Celebrity Chef Tetsuya Wakuda, ‘Waku’ means to ‘spring forth’ and ‘ghin’ means silver which happens to be his favourite colour. Some of the dishes, like the signature Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar, are phenomenal.

8. Ultraviolet – Shanghai, China
Ultraviolet, very aptly called, brings restaurant dining on a whole new level. Only ten diners are allowed, where they arrive at a mystery location to enjoy a 20+ course dinner in a multi-sensory restaurant. Yes, UV lighting, projection, music, sounds … as though you are dining in a sci-fi movie, minus Milla Jovovich.

9. Lung King Heen 龍景軒 – Hong Kong, China
With a name that means “view of the dragon”, it almost feels that you are walking into a palace with an open dining hall offering a panorama of the Victoria Harbour. This is the world’s first Chinese restaurant and the only Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong awarded the coveted maximum of 3 Michelin stars.

10. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana – Hong Kong, China
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana is the only Italian restaurant outside of Italy to have received 3 Michelin stars – that means it serves exceptional cuisine, and worth a special journey.

This year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 awards has few surprises, except with the notable disappearance of 2013’s Number 18 The Chairman Restaurant 大班樓 from Hong Kong. This is also a more diverse list, finally with restaurants from Korea (Jungsik at No 20) and Taiwan (Le Mout at No 24) after last year’s obvious lack of representation.

Having blessed to have eaten at most of the top restaurants, Nihonryori Ryugin may have been robbed of a better ranking once again. Its gastronomical avant garde yet distinctly Japanese experience is one hard to beat.

The common criticism with such a list is that the restaurants are skewed towards European-styled, fine-dining and molecular. My personal wish is to see more varied Asian restaurants that truly showcase the diversity of our cultures and cuisines. I think we are getting there.

Other Related Entries
The World’s Best Restaurant 2013 – El Celler De Can Roca (Girona, Spain)



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