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Odette keeps top spot at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards

Julien Royer (middle) - chef-owner of Odette.jpg
Julien Royer (centre) and his team at Odette.

SINGAPORE’S three Michelin-starred restaurant Odette retained its top position in the 2020 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for the second year in a row. The announcement was on March 24 in a low-key video streamed online after the original ceremony was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Singapore restaurants on the list also did well, with most moving up from last year, led by Burnt Ends which was promoted to fifth place from its 10th spot previously. Les Amis was a double winner, as the three Michelin-starred restaurant shot up to number 11 from 33 last year, in addition to receiving the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality award. 

Zen made its debut in the list at number 28, behind Jaan by Kirk Westaway which was elevated to number 21 from 32. Corner House moved up slightly by seven spots to 42 from 49. Only Nouri fell sharply from its 39th position to just barely making it into the list at number 50.

“It was unexpected to retain the award from last year,” said chef Julien Royer of his win. “To share it with the whole team was very special, especially in this time of crisis - this is something for them to stay positive and look to the future.” Of the current situation, he said: “We are still learning to adapt, the most important thing is to ensure a safe environment for guests and staff.”

Added Les Amis’ director of culinary and operations Sebastien Lepinoy: “It’s good to hear that we did a good job (moving from 33 to 11). Times are hard for the industry, and it seems to get worse by the day. I hope (the 50 Best list) helps us to get support from Singapore customers. I know people are afraid to go out and eat but we ensure the best hygiene and safety for our guests.”

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Originally meant to be held in Saga prefecture in Japan, there was little fanfare in the video presentation by William Drew, director of content for William Reed Business Media, which runs both the Asian and world version of the lists. There were taped messages of support from chefs around the world and a short film about Saga as consolation for the missed food tours that the tourism board had planned for the event. 

The awards come at a somber time, with the restaurant industry around the world badly hit by the Covid-19 virus which has seen borders close and even famed restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen closed temporarily and Alain Ducasse’s Rech in Hong Kong permanently shutting its doors. 

Said Mr Drew: “Today’s announcement is not a celebration. The objective is recognition. This time, more than ever, the restaurant sector needs support.”

Full list of winners: 
1. Odette, Singapore
2. The Chairman, Hong Kong
3. Den, Tokyo
4. Belon, Hong Kong
5. Burnt Ends, Singapore
6. Suhring, Bangkok
7. Florilege, Tokyo
8. Le Du, Bangkok
9. Narisawa, Tokyo
10. La Cime, Osaka
11. Les Amis, Singapore
12. Vea, Hong Kong
13. Indian Accent, New Delhi
14. Mingles, Seoul
15. Gaa, Bangkok
16. Sorn, Bangkok
17. Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, Tokyo
18. Mume, Taipei
19. Neighborhood, Hong Kong
20. Fu He Hui, Shanghai
21. Jaan by Kirk Westaway, Singapore
22. Wing Lei Palace, Macau
23. Sichuan Moon, Macau
24. Nihonryori Ryugin, Tokyo
25. Seventh Son, Hong Kong
26. JL Studio, Taichung
27. Toctoc, Seoul
28. Zen, Singapore
29. Sazenka, Tokyo
30. Ministry of Crab, Colombo
31. Amber, Hong Kong
32. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
33. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
34. Hansikganggan, Seoul
35. Ode, Tokyo
36. Raw, Taipei
37. Locavore, Bali
38. Paste, Bangkok
39. Bo.lan, Bangkok
40. La Maison de la Nature Goh, Fukuoka
41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
42. Corner House, Singapore
43. Shoun RyuGin, Taipei
44. Toyo Eatery, Manila
45. Bukhara, New Delhi
46. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
47. 80/20, Bangkok
48. L'Effervescence, Tokyo
49. Inua, Tokyo
50. Nouri, Singapore

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