The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list first appeared in the Restaurant magazine in 2002 as a feature. Soon after, an awards night was established to celebrate the results and so was born one of the most extraordinary gatherings of chefs on the planet. Drawing inspiration from this list, William Reed Business Media launched Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, which focuses the world’s media on this emerging and vibrant market. It is published taking into consideration the decision of their expert panel that is a perfect mix of critics, Michelin-star chefs and renowned restaurateurs. Here’s the list of the top 10 fine-dining restaurants that made it to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2015…
* Gaggan, Bangkok
Gaggan is an Indian restaurant, but not as you know it. Here, chef Gaggan Anand takes classic Indian dishes and reinterprets them with modernity and flair in a bid to bridge the gap between eastern and western cuisines. Anand was the first Indian chef to undertake an internship with Ferran Adrià’s research team at el Bulli, delving into the famed Spanish restaurant’s wizardry, and it shows in the style of cooking at his eponymous restaurant.
* Narisawa, Tokyo
Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa left Japan at the age of 19 years to train in Europe, returning eight years later to open his first restaurant in Odawara City to instant critical acclaim. The restaurant, originally called La Napoule, was renamed and reopened in Tokyo in 2003, finally becoming Narisawa in 2011. Bringing best practice from his training in France, the chef employs classical French cooking techniques, but uses the finest Japanese ingredients.
* Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
The third edition of Paul Pairet’s extraordinary and pioneering project, Ultraviolet, is due for release in the summer of 2015. Prior to that, the two existing manifestations have run in parallel, alternating between UVA and UVB on a fortnightly basis. All three share some fundamental characteristics, however, born from the French chef’s unique, quirky take on favourite dishes and ingredients from around the world.
* Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
Seiji Yamamoto is among Japan’s foremost practitioners of kaiseki: a succession of courses showcasing a variety of cooking methods and the seasons through intricately presented dishes. Nihonryori RyuGin—the chef’s Minato-based flagship—has turned this already artful meal structure into something that, for some at least, will come close to a spiritual experience.
* Restaurant Andre, Singapore
To dine at Restaurant André is to embark on an exploratory journey around the mind and memory of chef and co-owner André Chiang. Each of the eight exquisite courses, paired primarily with biodynamic French artisanal wines, reflects aspects of his multi-faceted culinary experience: born in Taiwan, Chiang worked extensively in France under nouvelle cuisine masters, including Pierre Gagnaire and the Troisgros brothers, followed by stints in Shanghai and the Seychelles, before landing in Singapore almost a decade ago.
* Amber, Hong Kong
Located in The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental’s smaller, more individual Hong Kong hotel, Amber provides a fitting showcase for Dutch-born chef and culinary director Richard Ekkebus’ modern French food with nods to a globe-trotting career that has included stints in Holland, France, Mauritius and Barbados. His cooking is ambitious, with dishes typically comprising a number of expertly paired ingredients, whether they be caramelised apples and pears, salsify, tonka beans and citrus peel with venison or aloe vera, banana, micro-sorrel and olive oil with pineapple.
* Nahm, Bangkok
Voted The S Pellegrino Best Restaurant in Asia in last year’s list, Nahm remains one of the finest Thai restaurants in the world, thanks to David Thompson and head chef Prin Polsuk’s stellar cooking and forensic attention to detail. The Australian-born chef-restaurateur takes an almost obsessive approach to authenticity. His outlook is both retrospective—he studies century-old cookbooks of long departed Thai matriarchs—and forward-thinking, with some plates taking influence from contemporary Thai street-food dishes.
* 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
A tribute to chef Umberto Bombana’s favourite film, the 1963 autobiographical 8½ by Italian director Federico Fellini, 8½ Bombana is a tribute to all things Italian in the heart of Hong Kong’s central district. Located in the Landmark Alexandra shopping mall, the restaurant features a spacious dining room adorned with artwork from Picasso and Dali, as well as two private dining areas, a cosy lounge and a bar.
* Waku Ghin, Singapore
Taking its name from two Japanese words—waku meaning to arise, and ghin meaning silver, in honour of Tetsuya Wakuda’s signature colour—Waku Ghin is the Japanese-born chef’s smart and stylish restaurant in the plush Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore. The 25-cover space is an intimate affair, split into four private rooms of differing styles, varying from a muted grey-and-white-walled room with carpets to a warmer, wooden-floored bar-style seating area, each with a private chef delivering a 10-course dégustation menu.
Restaurants serving molecular Korean food might not be plentiful, but chef Jung Sik Yim is on a mission to ensure that they are memorable. His eponymous ‘new Korean cuisine’ restaurant opened in Seoul in February 2009, heralded as the first restaurant in which molecular gastronomy was applied to Korean ingredients, and it has captured the imagination of Korean and international diners ever since.