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Asia’s Best Restaurants 2021: Hong Kong’s The Chairman takes the top spot

There are eight awardees from Singapore, which includes the likes of Labyrinth, Burnt Ends and Restaurant Zen. Odette moves down to number two.

Consummate Cantonese joint The Chairman has nabbed the pole position from Odette, becoming the first restaurant from Hong Kong to rule the roost. Ever committed to bona fide Cantonese flavours, it earns the dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, and The Best Restaurant in China.

The restaurant, owner by chef-owner Danny Yip, been a consistent contender in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants since its inception in 2013 (save for 2014). It’s made a slow but steady ascent in recent days, which came to a zenith this year when it managed to dethrone Odette, the receiver of top honours for the past two years.

The three-Michelin-starred French haute dining destination, headed by Julien Royer, remains The Best Restaurant in Singapore. It’s followed by Singapore’s other three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Amis, at the 13th spot. Helmed by Sebastien Lepinoy, himself a student of legendary chef Joel Robuchon, the fine dining establishment saw a dip from its spot at number 11 last year.

Hot on its heels, Dave Pynt’s mod-Australian Burnt Ends at number 14, Restaurant Zen’s Nordic kaiseki a la Tristin Farmer at the 23rd spot and Jaan by Kirk Westaway at the 42nd.

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While that closes out old favourites, the Asia’s Best Restaurants 2021 list also saw three newcomers from the city state. These include Cloudstreet, Restaurant Labyrinth and Restaurant Euphoria.

OIGNON JAMBOREE

The Oignon Jamboree dish from restaurant Euphoria.

The first of the three was chef-owner Rishi Naleedra’s Cloudstreet at number 31, who’s also the brain behind Sri-Lankan joint Kotuwa and Michelin-starred Cheek Bistro.

Thereafter, contemporary locavore Restaurant Labyrinth, where chef-owner Han Li Guang celebrates Singaporean cuisine and produce, made its debut at the 40th spot, netting the coveted Flor De Cana Sustainable Restaurant Award. It’s a recognition of his efforts to support not just Singaporean produce, but produce found within 25 km of his restaurant – an endeavour some dismissed as impossible, he says. Now, around 70 per cent of his ingredients come from these sources, cementing his cuisine as a celebration of what Singapore has best to offer.

Says Han, “We push the boundaries and really support local producers. At the start, everyone said it was impossible in Singapore – that we were nuts. These awards are a thorough vindication, and I’m very grateful for them.”

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Finally, Restaurant Euphoria’s elegant gastro-botanica, a botanical-forward cuisine coined by its chef Jason Tan got a nod at number 41.

Other notable entries across the region include: The Best Restaurant in Japan winner Den, who’ve retained their podium spot at number 3; Gaggan Anand, with his namesake Bangkok restaurant Gaggan Anand, re-enters the list with a bang at the 5th spot after the closure of Gaggan in 2019, earning the Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles; and Mingles, six-time winner of The Best Restaurant in Korea, climbing its way up to number 10.