A dish at Corner House at Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Photography: Vee Chin, Art Direction: Denise Rei Low
European restaurant Corner House at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Japanese restaurant Syun in Resorts World Sentosa received Best New Western Restaurant and Best New Asian Restaurant honours respectively at high-society magazine The Peak’s annual G Restaurant Awards.
The list of winners also included eight new entries to the list, the highest in the award’s six-year history.
They include Xperience Restaurant and Bar in Sofitel So Singapore and Japanese restaurant Shinzo in Carpenter Street.
Some 43 awards were presented at the ceremony in The Fullerton Hotel. More than 250 guests, including chefs, restaurateurs, critics, advertisers and readers attended the event.
The G Restaurant Awards, which recognise restaurants that deliver superb dining experiences, are put together by quarterly magazine, The Peak Selections: Gourmet & Travel. This spin-off title of The Peak magazine targets high net-worth gourmands.
On Corner House’s win, chef-owner Jason Tan, 32, says that having a “gastro-botanica” concept, which centres on the use of vegetables in dishes, has helped the 10-month old restaurant stand out from the sea of new restaurants.
He says: “We make humble ingredients such as tomatoes, beetroot and onions the heroes on the plate, instead of the usual foie gras and truffles. Winning such a prestigious award will give me more confidence to go deeper into creating more creative gastro-botanica dishes.”
Grilled cod with sake miso yuzu sauce at Japanese restaurant Syun at Resorts World Sentosa. Photography: Elton Chong
Japanese chef Hal Yamashita, 46, says that opening Syun, the five-month-old restaurant that is his first overseas, has paid off. He says: “Singapore is such an important hub in Asia, winning this award will really help to establish our restaurant’s presence not only locally but regionally. The increasingly sophisticated dining culture in Singapore is also very encouraging for our business.”
Dr Chng Chai Kiat, 40, head of the dental service department at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, who has been a judge for the past three years, says: “Syun has a unique take on Japanese food, with interesting dishes such as sea urchin rolled in wagyu beef with caviar and its prices are reasonable for a high-end Japanese restaurant.”
He adds that Corner House stood out for its adventurous and innovative dishes.
“It is unusual for a restaurant to make salads the main dishes. The unusual vegetables used in the dishes are aesthetically-pleasing taste good.”
Five-year-old Restaurant Andre in Bukit Pasoh Road was named Restaurant of The Year for the third consecutive year.
Chef Andre Chiang, 39, says: “Winning such a local award is more important than the other regional and international awards, as it shows that the people in Singapore are not bored of me, and appreciate the effort and surprises that my team bring to the table. I feel a greater responsibility to showcase Singapore’s fine-dining scene on an international scale.”
Mr Sylvester Ng, 36, editor of The Peak Selections: Gourmet & Travel, says that casual dining restaurants made a strong showing on this year’s list. These include Spanish restaurant La Taperia in Shaw Centre and Asian-Fusion restaurant Labyrinth in Neil Road.
He says: “This is a reflection of the competitive dining landscape in Singapore, as more new chefs inject life into the scene with new concepts. There are more casual restaurants entering the scene, but they serve top quality gourmet fare.”
He adds that the growing number of causal restaurants here act as a good bridge to bring diners to the fine-dining world eventually.
Awards of excellence were also presented to ALBA 1836 and Saha Signature Indian Restaurant & Terrace Bar, both in Duxton Hill.
Winners were selected from more than 100 restaurants shortlisted by food critics including The Straits Times’ Wong Ah Yoke, The Business Times’ Jaime Ee and Lianhe Zaobao’s Ng King Kang.
A panel of 14 judges, including ambassadors, head honchos and directors of companies who are food and wine connoisseurs, dined at these restaurants incognito over a nine-month period that started in September last year, to decide the winners. The selection criteria included quality of food, service, wine list and overall dining experience.
The Peak Selections: Gourmet & Travel costs $12 and is available at major bookstores including Kinokuniya, Times, Times Newslink and MPH.
Restaurant Of The Year:
Restaurant Andre, Bukit Pasoh Road
Best New Restaurant (Western):
Corner House, Singapore Botanic Gardens
Best New Restaurant (Asian):
Syun, Resorts World Sentosa
Best Dinner Experience (Western):
Jaan, Swissotel The Stamford
Best Dinner Experience (Asian):
Hashida Sushi, Mandarin Gallery
Best Business Lunch (Western):
Iggy’s, Hilton Singapore
Best Business Lunch (Asian):
Fat Cow, Camden Medical Centre
Best Wine List (Western):
Joel Robuchon Restaurant, Resorts World Sentosa
Best Wine List (Asian):
Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant, Forum, The Shopping Mall
This story was first published in The Straits Times on May 25, 2015. For similar stories, go to www.sph.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.
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