The Best Restaurants In Asia

John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, February 25, 2014

Now in their second year, the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards are a regional version of the longstanding (and often contentious) World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Following the analysis of submissions by its roster of judges, the awards body has this year announced Nahm in Thailand as the continent’s best restaurant.

Found in Bangkok’s Metropolitan by Como hotel, the restaurant is led by Australian-born chef David Thompson and serves what is described as a “fiery, feisty menu [that] strikes a delicate balance between tradition and innovation, cultural practices and contemporary style.” Many of Thompson’s dishes are revivals and reinterpretations of centuries-old Thai meals and the restaurant came to international prominence when it was named one of the world’s best restaurants in the 2012 survey. It was ranked third in last year’s Asia’s Best Restaurants awards, and David oversaw the operation of an additional Nahm in London's Halkin Hotel from 2001 up until its closure in 2012.

Organised by William Reed Business Media, the awards require a panel of judges (who are selected from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy of over 900 authoritative members of the restaurant industry) to select what they consider the region’s best dining venues. Each member, who may be a chef, food critic or restaurateur, is allocated seven votes and the overall winners are selected from their combined submissions.

While Thailand took the top spot it is China that has collected the most plaudits in 2014. With 16 restaurants in the list, it is featured more than any other country. The most highly ranked is Hong Kong’s Amber. Japan, a longstanding favourite of Michelin judges, is the country with most new entries. All in Tokyo, the three Japanese restaurants appearing in the list for the first time are L’Effervescence (No.25), Sukiyabashi Jiro (No.38) and Sawada (No.41). Named Asia’s best restaurant last year, Tokyo’s Narisawa is placed second in this year’s list.

Other notable inclusions on the list are Singapore, which has eight restaurants on the list, and India, which has six. Bukhara (No.27 overall) has been named the best restaurant in India; London diners who have yet to visit the original New Delhi premises may recall encountering the brand in London – it “popped up” in the capital two years ago .

Announced in April last year, the most recent World’s Best Restaurants Awards features Girona’s El Celler de Can Roca at its peak. Three-time number one, Copenhagen’s Noma was placed second; Modena’s Osteria Francescana (l lauded most recently by Daniel Boulud ) was named third best. The highest-placed British restaurant on the current list is Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London.