The Philippine flag was proudly waved onstage at the W Bangkok when Gallery Vask chef Chele Gonzalez, and partners architect Carlo Calma and Paula Cortez-Solinap, received their award. The restaurant, located at the Clipp Building in Bonifacio Global City, entered the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. They made the list at No. 39 last year; this year Gallery Vask moved up four places to No. 35. It was the only restaurant from the Philippines on the list, earning them the title of Best Restaurant in the Philippines for the second year in a row.
“This win is so meaningful for us,” said Calma, who designed the space. “To win once means you’re good; to win twice must mean you’re onto something really, really good… so we’re excited to continue this journey.” Gonzalez, who is originally from Torrelavega, Spain, added, “I want to thank the Philippines for welcoming me with open arms and allowing me to grow as a chef and artist.”
Gaggan in Bangkok remains the best restaurant in Asia for the third year in a row, a win which chef-owner Gaggan Anand dedicated to his daughter Tara, India (his country of birth), Thailand (his current home), and his team. “I don’t think I’m the best in Asia, but the 67 people in my restaurant are the best team I work with,” he said. Later on, the 68 of them threw the most memorable’ unofficial after-party, bringing together street food from around Thailand, lady boys, henna tattoos, free-flowing wines and cocktails at their colonial-style restaurant—cementing Thailand’s last year as host country with a bang. Next year, the awards ceremony will be moving to another Asian capital.
This year’s Top 5 was a steady stream of upward movement. Andre Chiang’s Restaurant Andre (Singapore) moved up to take the No. 2 spot; Richard Ekkebus’ Amber (Hong Kong) rose to No. 3; Umberto Bombana’s, who was also the recipient of this year’s Diner’s Club Lifetime Achievement Award, 8 ½ Otto E Mezzo Bombana (Hong Kong) leaped up nine spots to No. 4; and David Thompson’s Nahm (Thailand) moved up three spots to No. 5
There were 10 new entries this year, with Bangkok coming in largest with four new restaurants: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Bangkok (No. 40), Le Du (No. 37), House on Sathorn (No. 36), and Suhring (No. 13). The six other new entries include Ronin (Hong Kong, No. 45), Mume (Taiwan, No. 43), The Tasting Room by Galliot (Macau, No. 39), Jade Dragon (Macau, No. 32), Florilege (Japan, No. 14)—and the highest jumper, Julien Royer’s Odette (Singapore) which flew straight up to No. 9! Royer will be visiting the Philippines this April as part of Madrid Fusion Manila.
Other special awards included: May Chow of Little Bao Hong Kong as Asia’s Best Female Chef, Dave Pynt of Singapore’s Burnt Ends as Chefs’ Choice; Den in Tokyo, Art of Hospitality; and TocToc in Korea as One to Watch.
The Asia’s 50 Best is sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna and run by William Reed Business Media, in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. For the full list of the winners, visit <theworlds50best.com/asia/en/asias-50-best-restaurants.html>
The Top 20 Restaurants in Asia
1. GAGGAN – Bangkok, Thailand
2. RESTAURANT ANDRÉ – Singapore
3. AMBER – Hong Kong, China
4. 8 1/2 OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA – Hong Kong, China
5. NAHM – Bangkok, Thailand
6. NARISAWA – Tokyo, Japan
7. NIHONRYORI RYUGIN – Tokyo, Japan
8. ULTRAVIOLET BY PAUL PAIRET – Shanghai, China
9. ODETTE – Singapore
10. BURNT ENDS – Singapore
11. DEN – Tokyo, Japan
12. L’EFFERVESCENCE – Tokyo, Japan
13. SUHRING – Bangkok, Thailand
14. FLORILEGE – Tokyo, Japan
15. MINGLES – Seoul, Korea
16. LES AMIS – Singapore
17. LUNG KING HEEN – Hong Kong, China
18. QUINTESSENCE – Tokyo, Japan
19. BO.LAN – Bangkok, Thailand
20. WAKU GHIN – Singapore
Text courtesy of Cheryl Tiu