Thailand’s Le Du crowned ‘best’ at Asia’s Top 50 Restaurants

Le Du in Bangkok was awarded the accolade of ‘best restaurant’ in Asia in a live ceremony hosted in Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

As part of this year’s Asia’s Top 50 Restaurants, both Singapore and Thailand claimed big wins with nine restaurants a piece. Additionally, in a brand new category Shenzen-based sommelier Della Tang won the prestigious Best Sommelier award.

Le Du owner and chef Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn shared his gratitude and disbelief on the stage and said: “I am so honoured that I’m standing among the best chefs in Asia in this room. This is more than a dream come true.”

Chef Thitid, who has been on a mission to elevate Thai street food with French finesse and elegance, also draws focus on locally-sourced Thai ingredients. It was a double win for Thitid as his second Bangkok-based restaurant, Nusara, closed in at third position. Other Thailand restaurants included Gaggan Anand at No.5.

Tokyo’s Sezanne was elevated to the second pole position and led the Japanese capital with seven entries in total, including Den, last year’s winner, at the No.4 position.

Both Singapore and Thailand counted nine entries in Asia’s Top 50 Restaurants, while Hong Kong saw five restaurants on the feted list. Singapore’s Odette claimed the sixth place, moving up two spots from 2021.

Odette’s unapologetically French vibe comes with an extensive and international wine program curated by wine director Vincent Tan who has admitted “challenges all conventions of a traditional pairing” with combinations such as Rosemary Smoked Egg with South African Naudé Cinsault.

“I believe that wine selection is an integral part of a dining experience,” said Tan and added: “A restaurant’s personality is a sum of its cuisine, hospitality, wine, interior design, the art within the space, and most importantly, its people.”

Other winners from the Lion City included Korean accented Meta at No.17; the neo-Nordic Zen at No.21, also recognised for the Art of Hospitality Award. And Chef Dave Pynt’s fiery Australian restaurant, Burnt Ends at No.24. Newly launched Born debuted at No. 36.

Pynt’s Burnt Ends has maintained a constant presence on the list since its debut in 2016 and continues to champion quality Australian produce with an Australia-centric wine list.

“We don’t follow the usual rule of thumb to place our wines according to regions. Instead, we list it in a way that follows the intensity of flavours, the same way our chef writes down our daily menu,” said Neil Claudio, head of beverage.

He observed that wine lists in Singapore are getting savvier than before when people only drank labels. “Now, you see the trend on grower Champagne, natural wine producers, and sustainability of wine production in mind.”

It was a great night also for modern Singapore restaurant Labyrinth, which picked the highest climber award for its leap to No.11 spot from No.40 in 2022.

“I’m still in a state of disbelief,” said Chef-Owner, Han-Li Guang. “Ever since I opened the restaurant…the struggle has always been about putting Singapore cuisine on the world map.”

Unencumbered by European cuisine and wine rules, Labyrinth has identified how it aims to be more creative with wine pairings. “We cannot adopt a traditional method, where we move from Champagne to white to red. Drinks play a more experiential role in the flavours of Asian cuisine, where it’s deeper, layered and complex.”

Beverage director Sho Osumi also shared his first-course pairing, which immediately broke conventions by introducing a sweet Graham’s Tawny 10 Port with a soy caramel glazed bread served with seaweed and Kopi butter.

Only five Hong Kong restaurants landed a spot on the coveted list, including modern Cantonese restaurant Chairman at No.13, French-inspired Neighbourhood at No.29, innovative Chinese restaurant Wing at No. 37, Jia Group’s Latin-flavoured Mono at No.41. The city’s iconic Caprice was placed at No.49. It is evident that Covid restrictions did not help highlight the city’s top restaurants, but as Hong Kong is open for business, this is slated to change in the coming years.

This year, a new category recognised the integral sommelier team. The first Beronia Asia’s Best Sommelier Award 2023 was awarded to Della Tang of Shenzen’s Ensue restaurant. “I’m very thrilled and honoured to be the first to win this inaugural prize and to represent Mainland China,” Tang shared with db.

Shenzen-based Della Tang won the Best Sommelier Award 2023

 

Tang added: “This is a great recognition for all the passionate females that are constantly thriving to excel, and shows that we, the same as men, can also be leaders in the wine industry.”

The complete list of winners are as follows:

1. Le Du, Bangkok
2. Sezanne, Tokyo
3. Nusara, Bangkok
4. Den, Tokyo
5. Gaggan Anand, Bangkok
6. Odette, Singapore
7. Florilege, Tokyo
8. La Cime, Osaka
9. Sorn, Bangkok
10. Narisawa, Tokyo
11. Labyrinth, Singapore
12. Sazenka, Tokyo
13. The Chairman, Hong Kong
14. Villa Aida, Wakayama
15. Mosu, Seoul
16. Masque, Mumbai
17. Meta, Singapore
18. Fu He Hui, Shanghai
19. Indian Accent, New Delhi
20. Ode, Tokyo
21. Zen, Singapore
22. Suhring, Bangkok
23. Onjium, Seoul
24. Burnt Ends, Singapore
25. Euphoria, Singapore
26. Cloudstreet, Singapore
27. Les Amis, Singapore
28. Mingles, Seoul
29. Neighborhood, Hong Kong
30. Avartana, Chennai
31. Ensue, Shenzhen
32. Cenci, Kyoto
33. Ms Maria & Mr Singh, Bangkok
34. Da Vittorio, Shanghai
35. Potong, Bangkok
36. Born, Singapore
37. Wing, Hong Kong
38. Raan Jay Fai, Bangkok
39. Wing Lei Palace, Macau
40. Anan Saigon, Ho Chi Minh
41. Mono, Hong Kong
42. Toyo Eatery, Manila
43. Sichuan Moon, Macau
44. L’effervescence, Tokyo
45. Mume, Taipei
46. Baan Tepa, Bangkok
47. Born & Bred, Seoul
48. Metiz, Makati
49. Caprice, Hong Kong
50. Refer, Beijing

This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.

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