Tag Archives: Restaurant

New York’s Fifth Avenue: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

From dazzling jewellery store and luxury retailer to Tiffany’s café, people take notice of Tiffany for its intricate and mesmerising colour palette, dominated by the iconic “Tiffany blue.”

This week, America’s house of design and fashion has just opened a new Tiffany’s café at the jeweller’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, and the café will operate during regular store hours.

Based on Truman Capote’s novel “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” starring Audrey Hepburn about 50 years ago, the gastronomy trademark skyrocketed to fame, and today, it still carries a strong influence in the New York dining scene.

There’s no mistaking the café’s brand identity!

The first ever dining concept, The Blue Box Café was taken from the 1961 film segment where actress Audrey Hepburn was snacking on a pastry near the storefront on Fifth Avenue, and at the same time, looking through the shop window like certain attention is worth giving.

With the official opening of New York’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, the café will attract shoppers on Fifth Avenue. Visitors can now order breakfast at Tiffany’s or sit down comfortably and enjoy a fancy meal instead of having breakfast on-the-go.

The café will serve up breakfast using Tiffany china and silverware and American classics made with regionally sourced ingredients while the menu will change seasonally to cater to the diverse palates.

Created by Paris-based design duo Ronon and Erwan Bouroullec, The Blue Box Café sits on the fourth level, on the same floor as the accessories collection which opened earlier this month.

Along with breakfast and lunch menus, the café will also serve high tea. Prices start at $29.

Half-Sunken into the Sea: Architects Snøhetta reveals plans for ‘Europe’s first underwater restaurant’

The semi-submerged building in Norway will function as a restaurant and a research centre for marine life

How often do we come across a complex yet eccentric architecture that is deliberately built to tilt, a futuristic apartment built to standout with its semi-rotation or even a person-made modern skyscraper built to a teetering angle?

Well, there are a few,  such as the Capital Gate tower currently under construction in Abu Dhabi, UAE, that leans four times as far as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, also better known as the church’s bell tower, and La Luciole Concert Hall in Alencon, France, an architecture construction showing two tilting “cylinder-looking” towers partly hidden underground.

But you’d have already known these.

While some building exteriors are indeed built to impress and show to the world the most astonishing sides of human’s civilisation, and how the relationships of both buildings and the reveal of a marvelous beauty from human’s inclinations towards art play a significant role in our landscapes today.

Snøhetta designs “Under”, Europe’s First Underwater Restaurant in Norway

Very soon, we will have Europe’s first underwater restaurant located at the southernmost point of Norway. Designed by Snøhetta, it will feature a semi-submerged building that will house a restaurant, marine research centre and artificial mussel reef.

“The sea bed facing the building will be optimised to encourage fish and shellfish to proliferate, and the walls themselves would act as an artificial mussel reef.” – According to the statement

“Under” in Norwegian’s context means very close to “wonder”, designed to emulate a concrete grey box with a restaurant able to accommodate up to 100 guests. According to Snøhetta, whether sliding into or out of the water, there’s a front-facing 11m x 4m panoramic glass panel, giving a view into the depths beyond.

Part of the restaurant will cater to biology research activities during the day to study marine biology and fish behaviour

Inspired by the coastal zone, the interior will feature subdued dark blue and green shades contrasting with warm oak and the 1m thick concrete on the outside

“Under” is another project within Oslo- and New York-based Snøhetta’s portfolio of waterside architecture works. They have also previously designed Times Square Reconstruction project in Manhattan, the Desmond Tutu memorial arch in Cape Town and the SFMOMA extension as well as the Norwegian Opera and Ballet.


Restaurants in Spain: Disfrutar in Barcelona named 2017’s ‘One to Watch’ under World’s 50 Best Restaurants

A Barcelona restaurant — that serves transparent, gelatin macaroni and invites guests to wash their hands in whisky as they eat their deconstructed whisky tart — has been named the 2017 restaurant to watch by a group of gastronomical tastemakers. Disfrutar, helmed by a trio of El Bulli alumni, has been named the recipient of the Miele One to Watch award by the same group that organises The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.

Chefs Mateu Casanas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch at Disfrutar. | © Francesc Guillamet/Disfrutar

Chefs Mateu Casanas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch at Disfrutar. |
© Francesc Guillamet/Disfrutar

Chef Ferran Adria‘s restaurant El Bulli restaurant in Catalonia, Spain, which shuttered in 2011 at the height of its popularity was, perhaps, one of the most exclusive dining destinations in the world in its time. Since leaving the now legendary restaurant, chefs Mateu Casanas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch teamed up to open their own ventures.

Disfrutar, which means “to enjoy” in Spanish, is their second restaurant after Compartir (“to share”) which is located in the coastal town of Cadaques. Their sophomore effort earned the chefs their first Michelin star in 2016.

Disfrutar restaurant | © Adri Goula /Disfrutar

Disfrutar follows in the footsteps of El Bulli with modernist cuisine.| © Adri Goula /Disfrutar

True to their El Bulli training, the menu at Disfrutar upholds the principles of modernist cuisine and is described as “avant-garde, theatrical and inventive.” One of their signature dishes includes curiously transparent penne pasta made from gelatin, tossed in truffle foam and Parmesan, served tableside.

A deconstructed whisky tart also invites guests to wash their hands in whisky and inhale the scent as they eat. “Being named this year’s winners of the Miele One To Watch Award is a huge recognition of our collective work,” said chef Xatruch in a statement.

Disfrutar restaurant | © Adri Goula /Disfrutar

Having received the Miele One to Watch award, Disfrutar joins the ranks of past winners Den in Tokyo, Sepia in Sydney and The Tasting Kitchen in Cape Town. | © Adri Goula /Disfrutar

“In addition, this award helps Disfrutar, which is a very young project, to become established and obviously encourages us to continue working and challenging ourselves.”

The One to Watch award shines the spotlight on emerging talent and recognises a restaurant outside the 50 Best list, which has potential to rise through the list’s ranks in the near future.

Previous winners include Den in Tokyo, Sepia in Sydney, Saison in San Francisco and The Tasting Kitchen in Cape Town.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards takes place in Melbourne, April 5.

Award winning restaurants in Europe: New Two Michelin Star eateries from Athens, Budapest, and more

The Michelin Guide for Main Cities of Europe this year incorporates 12 new two-star restaurants. | © Michelin Guide

For The Michelin Guide for Main Cities of Europe 2017, a dozen restaurants were given two stars, bringing the number of restaurants with two Michelin stars in the guide to 91. The Guide features cities such as Athens, Budapest, Krakow, Prague,  and Warsaw.

One of the restaurants freshly awarded two Michelin stars is Amador in Vienna. Set within an elegant, vaulted stone cellar, Amador serves up dishes such as the “Berlin, Paris, Vienna” plate, which features liver, calf shoulder and Perigord truffles from France. Rebecca Burr, Editor of Michelin Guide 2017 Main Cites of Europe, said: “The young but experienced chef [of Amador] creates sophisticated, intensely flavored, artfully presented dishes crafted from top quality ingredients.”

New restaruant opening in Paris, France: Interview with Chef Gérald Passédat on his new venture at Villa La Coste

Renowned Chef Gérald Passédat is known for his ability to produce stunning, and delicious gastronomic masterpieces. Lauded as the King of Mediterranean cuisine, the chef has embarked on a new project at Villa La Coste. Boasting 3 Michelin stars under his belt, the french cookery connoisseur tells us about his inspiration and passion.

The Mediterranean has always been a source inspiration for you. This is your first move outside of Marseille. Does it represent a new challenge in your career?

It is a magnificent project, and I couldn’t pass up on such a setting. Having said that, Aix-en-Provence is not that far from Marseille. I’m a native of Provence, so it doesn’t feel strange to divide my time between the Villa La Coste and the Petit Nice.

How is the restaurant service structured?

We are in charge of the “Louison Gérald Passédat” signature restaurant [editor’s note: named after Louise Bourgeois, whose works are exhibited in the vineyard]. Then there is also Villa La Coste restaurant, which is a more casual venue which prepares generous dishes throughout the day. And then there is the room service for the 28 villa suites. We also have to come up with “detox” dishes for the future spa. It is a real ocean liner of a project, bigger than the one I manage in Marseille. It has been nothing short of an adventure, and I was very impatient for it to open. It is immensely satisfying to have worked on a project from the very beginning.

How did you come to work with Villa La Coste?

The owner, whom I didn’t know, came to have lunch at the Petit Nice. When he had finished eating, he asked if we could talk for a few minutes. He explained that they were building the hotel and asked if I’d be interested in working on the project. The first time I visited the La Coste domain, I was absolutely amazed by the setting.

Château La Coste is remarkable for the series of contemporary artworks that are exposed in its vineyards. Were you attracted by this artistic connection?

By the art and also by the wine. The way the domain is managed is one of the main reasons why I agreed to work here [editor’s note: Château La Coste has 200 hectares under organic and biodynamic cultivation].

From a culinary point of view, is this a new departure given that you are in the heart of Provence and no longer on the Mediterranean?

It is a new dimension. But just because we are located in Provence does not mean that there will not be a connection between the region and the Mediterranean. We are only three-quarters of an hour from the sea. So I will still be working with my fishermen. I am also looking forward to working with produce from the vegetable garden and with local meat ingredients, whether it be lamb or poultry.

Do you think this project will provide you with a new source of inspiration?

It is a bit like writing a book. You are always trying to outdo yourself. And when you get to the last line, you always think ‘I could have done better.’ It is a healthy and positive way of making progress, and it is good to be open to new approaches and to take into account new criticism.

We noticed that the menu features a “turbot carpaccio with grated truffles and caviar,” which is very reminiscent of one of the more famous dishes served at the Petit Nice. Is this a reference to the family business?

It is a reference, but if we are preparing it in Provence we won’t be making it in Marseille. It’s good to draw on past inspiration when you are opening a new venue. But having said that, when I open a new restaurant I want the menu to be different.

Are you aiming for Michelin stars?

Yes, but no date has been set for that. We prepare the cuisine that we want to make, which fortunately or unfortunately is also the type of cuisine that can be awarded stars.

This interview was conducted by AFP Relaxnews.

New York Steakhouse Offers $50,000 Thanksgiving Meal

In what can only be described as outlandish, a New York steakhouse has launched a Thanksgiving meal made with the world’s finest ingredients for the princely sum of $50,000.

It is a meal meant to go down in the books as the ultimate American Thanksgiving feast and the restaurant has a track record of similar spectacular offerings. 

In a Facebook interview with ABC News Live, co-owner Marc Sherry of The Old Homestead Steakhouse revealed details of the exorbitant package that features everything from caviar-topped sweet potatoes to foie gras stuffing.

To create the headline-grabbing package and bump up the price tag significantly, the restaurant snuck in a few non-edible, luxury trimmings, including front-row seats at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a suite at the Waldorf Astoria New York worth $5,000, tickets to the New York Giants game worth $10,000, and limousine service.

Meanwhile, the Thanksgiving feast itself is likewise pimped out in creative ways.

The star of the show is a 20-pound organic, farm-raised turkey at $85 a pound, basted with olive oil that clocks in at $17 an ounce.

The orange cranberry sauce is spiked with Grand Marnier, aged balsamic vinegar priced at $60 an ounce, and a splash from a bottle of $1,720 French wine.

What looks like ordinary stuffing is in fact made with Japanese Wagyu beef at $465 a pound, and foie gras.

Sweet potatoes are topped with caviar worth $1,600 an ounce, while the mashed potatoes are laced with imported white Stilton cheese.

And a loaf of sourdough bread will be imported from the UK to sop up the gravy infused with Kentucky bourbon whiskey, from a $2,890 bottle.

It is not the first time The Old Homestead has carved an outrageous Thanksgiving meal.

Last year, the restaurant launched a similar package for $45,000 that included a two-carat diamond engagement ring. Other cities have put together similar extravaganzas, including Singapore.

“The people who have bought it is a cross stream of America,” Sherry told ABC News.

“People from Wall Street to people from out of town who wanted to bring their family to the NYC to have the ultimate experience.”

Diners on a slightly smaller budget can also order the restaurant’s regular Thanksgiving special that features both beef and bird and all the trimmings for $85. The Old Homestead has been in business for more than a century but remains under the radar with Michelin and Zagat, for example. 

New In: Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2017

For the 2017 edition of Michelin Hong Kong Macau, four restaurants have nabbed two Michelin stars. Three of the newest additions – Kashiwaya, Ta Vie and Mizumi – serve Japanese cuisine. The fourth restaurant to be awarded those two stars is none other than Feng Wei Ju, which is well-known for its Sichuan and Hunan cuisine. There are now 19 two-starred dining establishments in the region.

“The Hong Kong market has stabilized, gained in quality, and maintained a very rich offering with 49 different cuisines listed in the guide this year,” said international director Michael Ellis in a statement.

“Over the past three years our inspectors have noted a real development in Japanese cuisine, with more and more Japanese chefs deciding to open branches of their existing Japanese gastronomic establishments. This phenomenon is reflected in the 2017 selection of the Michelin Guide.”

Ellis is referring to Osaka-based Kashiwaya, and Sushi Tokami, a one-starred restaurant which hails from Tokyo. All eight restaurants across the region maintained their three-star status.

Seven addresses in Hong Kong and three restaurants in Macau earned their first star this year, bringing the total in the area to 53 (41 in Hong Kong and 12 in Macau). This year’s Street Food category, which highlights the best street food vendors in the region to reflect the local food scene, features 21 addresses in Hong Kong and 12 in Macau.

The Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2017 is available in English and Chinese November 10.

Inaugural Michelin Guide Seoul Unveiled

A total of 24 restaurants in the South Korean capital received Michelin stars, reflecting the city’s ambitions as a fine-dining hub and the emergence of Korean cuisine from the well-established shadows cast by those of neighbors China and Japan.

“I think it’s widely seen as one of the hidden gems of world cuisine,” said Michael Ellis, the international director of Michelin guides.

Of the two restaurants to receive three stars, Gaon in Seoul’s upmarket Gangnam area offers two multi-course menus based on the daily meals enjoyed by the kings of the Joseon era (1392-1910) and priced at 180,000 won ($157) and 250,000 won.

The guide cited Gaon for its “meticulously-prepared dishes” and commitment to promoting a “better understanding” of Korean food.

Gaon’s executive chef Kim Byoung-Jin said he was stunned and “extremely honoured” with the three-star rating, crediting his kitchen team and an insistence on the finest seasonal produce.

“All good food starts from fresh ingredients,” he told AFP.

Overdue Appreciation

Having spent the past 13 years honing his take on traditional Korean cuisine, Kim said he hoped the ultimate stamp of approval from Michelin would help South Korean gastronomy “receive the appreciation it deserves”.

“In order for Korean cuisine to be universalized, it must meet a universal standard and I think the Michelin listing will help Korean food become a more approachable cuisine for many people,” he said.

Of the 21,000 restaurants featured in Michelin guides around the world, just over 100 are rated with three stars. Starred restaurants have in the past built big businesses after being recognised.

The other three-star recipient was La Yeon in the Hotel Shilla, which was praised by Michelin for the chef’s contemporary touch on traditional Korean cuisine.

Following the 2007 publication of the Tokyo guide – Michelin’s first foray into Asia – Seoul is the latest city in the region to get its own version of the culinary bible.

There are also editions exploring Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“Seoul is a gastronomic roller coaster,” Ellis said. “There’s so many things going on: brining, pickling, fermenting, frying, barbequing, seasoning… great techniques,” he added.

Among the one-star recipients was Balwoo Gongyang, a popular lunch and dining spot which serves strictly vegetarian dishes based on Korean Buddhist “temple” cuisine.

Lucia Cho, the owner of Gaon and of another restaurant, Bicena, which was awarded one star, said it had initially been a struggle to marry Korean cuisine and fine dining – not least because of resistance among Koreans themselves.

“When we first opened Gaon, not many people appreciated the value of Korean food and complained about our pricing,” Cho said.

“But people pay 300,000 won on Japanese or Chinese course meals,” she said, adding that attention from Michelin would “make Koreans think more about what defines good food”.

Not everyone was impressed by the Michelin choice.

Joe McPherson, founder of the country’s oldest food blog, ZenKimchi.com, had given Gaon a damning review back in 2007.

“It’s the poster child for everything wrong with Korean concepts of fine dining. They just took basic Korean food, made it a little prettier and jacked up the price,” McPherson said after the Michelin launch.

The two and three-star restaurants on the list “felt like they had been put together by Korean businessmen, rather than food lovers”, he added.

The Michelin guides, first published in France more than a century ago to promote automobile travel, now cover 28 countries and spotlight diverse cuisines including Brazilian, Burmese, Cajun, Peruvian and Tibetan.

Masaharu Morimoto Opens First Vegas Restaurant

Masaharu Morimoto Opens First Vegas Restaurant

Chef Masaharu Morimoto, best known among US audiences for his appearances on “Iron Chef America,” has touched down in Las Vegas, making his official debut at the MGM Grand.

Morimoto Las Vegas is now open at the casino resort, offering three distinct dining experiences: the sushi bar, main dining room, and Teppan tables.

The menu harmonizes Japanese and Western cuisines, with dishes such as tuna pizza, salmon Caesar salad, and Duck Duck Goose, which marries duck meatball soup with duck confit fried rice and gooseberry compote.

Morimoto Las Vegas is the latest star-powered eatery to open at the MGM Grand. Morimoto joins Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Joel Robuchon and Michael Mina’s PUB at the hotel and casino.

Masaharu Morimoto Opens First Vegas Restaurant

Morimoto Las Vegas interior

Michael Tusk Quince Awarded Three Michelin Stars

San Francisco cements its status as one of the leading gastronomic destinations in the US, as the 2017 Michelin edition of the Red Guide bestowed Michael Tusk’s Quince with the coveted three-star rating.

Tusk’s dining establishment incorporates Italian cuisine (Tusk was trained as a chef in Europe) with local Northern California produce. One of its signature offerings is a tortelli dish re-interpreted with a mix of sweetcorn, nasturtium and fava bean. Tusk’s dishes are rich and flavorful without losing sophistication – one example is his risotto with Dungeness crab and dill flowers. Quince is also a member of the Relais & Châteaux network.

“We have closely watched Chef Michael Tusk for several years now. In his cuisine, every dish, even the simplest, is exceptional,” comments Michael Ellis, International Director of the Michelin Guide. “It is his fine, precise techniques, that now makes Quince a unique experience for the customer: an experience that is worth the trip.”

Quince joins the prestigious club of three-star restaurants already in San Francisco: Benu, The French Laundry, Manresa, Saison and The Restaurant at Meadwood.

For its 2017 edition, the Michelin Guide San Francisco awards a new two-star rating to David Barzelay’s restaurant, Lazy Bear.

There are seven new additions to the one-star category.

The Michelin Guide San Francisco 2017 is available from bookstores or via the Michelin Restaurants application.

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten Returns to London

Acclaimed New York-based French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will be opening a new culinary establishment at London’s Connaught hotel next spring.

Vongerichten’s restaurant will serve French cuisine in a casual atmosphere for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. The luxury hotel also houses Hélène Darroze’s two Michelin-starred restaurant.

The new dining space will mark Vongerichten’s return to London’s gastronomy scene. Previously, his acclaimed restaurant Vong occupied The Berkeley before closing in 2002.

“I am excited to make my return to London, one of the most vibrant and dynamic food destinations in the world and I hope to create a new restaurant at The Connaught that reflects both my signature farm to table cooking style but with a few surprises,” said the chef in a statement.

The latest opening will expand his restaurant empire, which includes outposts across the US, China, Hong Kong, France, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico. His flagship New York restaurant Jean-Georges holds three Michelin stars.

The restaurant at The Connaught is slated to open in the spring of 2017.

Icelandic Cuisine: Tourism Boom

Icelandic Cuisine Gets Tourism Boost

There is a low, growing buzz in the food world that is taking notice of the large culinary talent coming out of Iceland, whose population numbers 332,000. It is a hum that grew louder with the appointment of Icelander Gunnar Gislason as head chef of Claus Meyer’s latest restaurant Agern in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, one of the year’s most anticipated openings.

Gislason’s Reykjavik restaurant Dill is widely regarded as one of the best examples of Icelandic cuisine, while Meyer is the brains behind Noma in Copenhagen.

But back in Iceland, there’s also a robust dining scene driven by the booming number of international visitors, clever tourism campaigns, and a growing curiosity about the country whose otherworldly landscape doubles as a setting for Game of Thrones, and whose Viking, slow-clap war cry earned the world’s admiration.

For many Iceland-bound visitors, food is an afterthought on their adventure-packed itinerary, which often includes glacier walks, snowmobiling, ice climbing and horseback-riding.

But chefs like Gislason and Ylfa Helgadottir of Kopar restaurant are drawing more attention to Icelandic cuisine, which has long stood on the fringes of the New Nordic movement, dominated by Norway and Denmark.

Icelandic Cuisine: Tourism Boom

Lobster and crab risotto at Kopar

On a Saturday night in September at Kopar, American, British and Asian tourists — some in dinner attire, others still in hiking boots and wool sweaters — take up most of the tables.

The menu is meant to take guests through an edible journey of the country’s land and sea. Or as it is also known, the land of fire and ice.

Surprisingly light and fluffy battered cod tongues are served with a garlic-flavored cream cheese and lemon dip while sweet scallops are given the ceviche treatment with dill cream and Icelandic caviar.

Helgadottir’s smile is seen on Tourism Iceland’s latest promotional campaign, Iceland Academy, a series of videos created in response to the recent tourism boom.

Since 2010, the annual growth in tourist visits has averaged 22 percent – impressive given the global average of 3.5 percent between 2005 and 2014.

New figures estimate a 29 percent increase in the number of visitors by the end of 2016 compared to 2015. That translates to 1.6 million tourists – or nearly five times the country’s population.

Icelandic Cuisine: Tourism Boom

Salted fillet of Icelandic cod, with quinoa, roasted hazelnuts at Kopar

Construction cranes and massive holes in the ground stand as testament to the pace of development in Reykjavik where hotels can’t be built fast enough.

And according to Google, Reykjavik is the fastest rising search term for cities around the world as of July 25, with New Yorkers expressing the highest interest.

The influx of wealthy, adventure-seeking travelers (recently Gwyneth Paltrow was one of them) has inspired local chefs to cater to sophisticated palates and break out from under the infamy of fermented shark and roasted sheep’s head.

As Helgadottir points out in her tutorial “How to eat like an Icelander,” Iceland enjoys one of the longest life spans in the world, a fact often credited to the purity of ingredients. Lamb is sourced from free-roaming sheep and fresh fish are caught sustainably.

At one of the hottest new addresses in Reykjavik, Messinn, a flaky filet of plaice is served in the cast-iron pan it was fried in, served simply with potatoes in butter, capers and tomatoes.

At the four-star Hotel Ranga in South Iceland, pink-fleshed fillets of lamb are pan-fried and served atop a carrot purée and green pea cream.

And at Skyrgerðin, the menu pays homage to one of Iceland’s oldest food traditions, skyr, a rich, dairy product that could be described as the low-fat version of Greek yogurt.

For a sample of Icelandic-influenced cuisine abroad, check out the menu at much-acclaimed restaurants Texture in London, Agern in New York, and Dottir in Berlin.

The writer was a guest of the Icelandic tourist office Visit Iceland and Icelandair, whose Stopover Buddy program allows travelers to tack on a seven-night stay en route to their destination for no additional fee. The program also pairs visitors with a local who will provide tours based on the travelers’ interests.

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The most beautiful restaurant in all London is a German gymnasium… Well, the German Gymnasium, in fact. This stunning two-story restaurant served in a former life as England’s first purpose-built gym and helped to host London’s first National Olympic Games in 1866. In a twist that might be hard to understand, the German brasserie has been named the most beautiful eatery at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016.

The German Gymnasium, located in the heart of King’s Cross in London, was named the overall winner at the eighth annual event, which shines the spotlight on the most beautifully designed spaces around the world.

Lovers of good design will appreciate the German Gymnasium as it pays respectful homage to its heritage in preserving original details like the climbing hooks in the ceiling and cast steel columns.

German Gymnasium Most Beautiful London Restaurant

The building was completed in 1865 and was funded from London’s Germany community for the German Gymnastics Society.

Designed by Conran & Partners, the restaurant is described as a modern interpretation of a classic brasserie with German overtones. Warm walnut timber paneling and black and grey distressed leather upholstery are set off against fresh, contemporary accents like an occasional pink and red tone. The space features two bars, first floor restaurant, Grand Cafe and outdoor terrace.

The menu is likewise a celebration of the landmark’s German roots under the culinary vision of chef Bjoern Wassmuth, who has created a menu featuring a few classic Mittel-European dishes like schnitzel, currywurst, sauerkraut and strudels.

The Black Forest menu features black forest ham, truffled potato soup, venison “Baden Baden” with Spatzle and lingonberries and a chocolate sponge cake with cherries and chantilly called the “Danube.”


In the category of best overall bar design, the Blue Wave bar in Barcelona was given the top honor. Designed by El Equipo Creativo, the interior is conceived to evoke a wave about to break.

Located on the water’s edge in the Barcelona Port, designers used reflective elements and ceramic tile in various shades of blue and white to harken sea foam, sea waves and light.

Here are the international winners of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016:

  • Best Overall Restaurant: German Gymnasium, London, UK designed by Conran & Partners
  • Best Overall Bar: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo

Regional winners:

  • Best Restaurant North America: Torafuku, Vancouver, Canada, by Scott & Scott Architects
  • Best Bar North America: Kat & Theo, New York, USA by Aviva Collective
  • Best Restaurant Europe: Les Bains, Paris, France, RDAI
  • Best Bar Europe: Blue Wave, Barcelona, Spain, El Equipo Creativo
  • Best Bar Asia: Foxglove, Hong Kong, NCDA
  • Best Restaurant Asia: Shugaa, Bangkok, Thailand, Party Space Design
  • Best Restaurant Australia & Pacific: So 9, Sydney, Australia, Brand Works
  • Best Bar Australia & Pacific Bar: Pink Moon Saloon, Adelaide, Australia, Sans-Arc Studio
  • Best Bar Middle East Africa: News Cafe, Johannesburg, South Africa, Studio A
  • Best Restaurant Middle East & Africa Restaurant: Jo Grilled Food, Tehran, Iran, White Rhino Design Group
French ski lodge La Bouitte in the French Alps © La Bouitte, Relais & Chateaux

Relais & Chateaux Welcomes 21 Newcomers

Relais & Chateaux touts itself as the standard-bearer for the hotel and restaurant industry, much like the Michelin label. Another 21 properties and restaurants will be able to hang the coveted fleur de lys symbol, designating membership to the group.

The shortlisted properties are all independent and must adhere to distinct criterias characterized as “the soul of the innkeeper,” “celebration of the senses”, and “the art of living”.

The newcomers to the Relais & Chateaux club hail from the US, Colombia, France, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, China, Japan and New Zealand.

Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City at his restaurant in New York May 16, 2016. © TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City at his restaurant in New York May 16, 2016.


The latest New York addition, Chef Eric Ripert’s restaurant Le Bernardin, extended its acclaim beyond the three Michelin star it holds. The upscale restaurant regularly tops New York’s best eats lists for its seafood and is one of the hottest tables in town for both locals and tourists alike.

Bread Crusted Red Snapper Saffron “Fideos” Chorizo in Smoked Sweet Paprika Sauce at Le Bernardin © Shimon & Tammar

Bread Crusted Red Snapper Saffron “Fideos” Chorizo in Smoked Sweet Paprika Sauce at Le Bernardin
© Shimon & Tammar


Over in France, an alpine ski lodge located in the heart of the Trois Vallees, is the latest chalet to gain admittance into the group. Boasting three Michelin stars, the Hotel Restaurant La Bouitte in the French Alps is a luxury ski lodge designed to reflect its surroundings, with luxurious furnishings set off against rustic wood beams and flooring.

Father and son duo Rene and Maxime Meilleur have also made the country inn one of France’s premier dining destinations for dishes like “veal à la Savoyarde” with cheese polenta and creamy sauce.

Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, New Zealand © Courtesy of Wharekauhau

Wharekauhau Lodge and Country Estate, New Zealand
© Courtesy of Wharekauhau


In New Zealand, The Wharekauhau Lodge & Country Estate, a property set on a sheep farm, was given its membership card for offering guests an indulgent stay in a bucolic setting with forests, lakes and rivers.

And over in Japan, travelers looking to stay at an authentic ‘ryokan’ or traditional Japanese inn may want to consider Nishimuraya Honkan in Hyogo which also received Relais & Chateaux’s stamp of approval. With a heritage that stretches back 150 years and seven generations, the inn offers a peaceful retreat amongst bamboo forests and hot springs.

The ryokan also serves traditional kaiseki, a Japanese tasting menu made up of several small plates.

For more Relais & Chateaux properties visit https://www.relaischateaux.com.

NYC Landmark Returns to Life as The Beekman Hotel

The Temple Court complex has returned to life as The Beekman hotel and it is more luxurious than ever. One of the earliest skyscrapers in the Big Apple (it has nine stories which was pretty impressive back in the 1800s), the building has been returned to its former glory much as it was in 1881. Having been a regular office building for most of its existence, this revamp sees the landmark located between the East and Hudson Rivers become a new luxury hotel and dining destination. Beekman-hotel-new-york-3

Step through the doors and guests are greeted by a soaring nine-story Victorian atrium and pyramidal skylight; this atrium was Temple Court’s claim to fame when it opened and remains impressive today. Another ode to its Victorian-era past are cast iron railings, balustrades and dragon-shaped cast iron brackets. The 287 rooms within the hotel are decorated with vintage furnishings from around the world, sourced from antique dealers. Custom-designed oak beds will welcome guests along with a bathroom that is tiled in Carrara marble.Beekman-hotel-new-york-2

Apart from luxurious amenities for guests from out of town, the hotel also boasts a two dining options. The first is Fowler & Wells by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio that serves up modern American dishes such as lobster Thermidor and beef Wellington that pay tribute to cuisine of turn-of-the-century New York City. The second is a brasserie-style restaurant, Augustine, by Keith McNally. Featuring French classics, a special rotisserie and grillades section for meat, fish and poultry, it is set to be a treat for those choosing to dine here.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten

Chef Vongerichten Opening Vegetarian Restaurant

Jean-Gorges Vongerichten will be setting up a new restaurant in New York City come September. Aimed at being a vegetarian restaurant, named abcV, the chef will feature ingredients such as cabbage, mushrooms and beets as the highlights in dishes.

Rather than replacing meat with vegetables, such as with a vegetarian burger, the French chef is taking up the challenge to serve vegetable centric options for diners. The concept of a vegetable centric eatery is a first for New York. While the full menu has yet to be released, he did tease a few dishes such as sauerkraut, buckwheat crêpes, dosas and congee.

His latest venture is in response to the increasing popularity of vegetarian and vegan restaurants that cater to hose who are health and environmentally conscious. The new restaurant is Vongerichten’s third collaboration with furniture and design store ABC Carpet & Home. It is a follow up to ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina.

Vongerichten is now following in the footsteps of other chefs such as Alain Passard, Alain Ducasse and René Redzepi. Michelin-star chef Passard first removed red meat from the menu of L’Arpège following the mad cow disease 10 years ago while Ducasse replaced the red meat with cereals and vegetables in 2014. This spring, Denmark’s most famous chef René Redzepi announced plans to turn his next restaurant into a part-time vegetarian eatery.


Washington DC: Restaurant City of the Year

It seems Washington DC’s burgeoning dining scene has attracted a reasonable amount of traction – the city has been awarded this year’s title of “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appetit magazine. Surprisingly, it isn’t high-end establishments with Michelin stars that are credited for this achievement. Instead, the emergence of more casual neighborhood joints was the deciding factor for the magazine’s editors.

“Yes, DC has long been a city that could out power-lunch any place in the country, and great meals could be had at many of the big-box restaurants in the center of town. But now DC has more than that: It finally has a ton of great neighborhood restaurants,”writes Editor Andrew Knowlton.

And it seems that new-age chefs and restaurateurs are the ones who are pushing the norms with new and inventive flavors. A few restaurants singled out include The Dabney, a farmhouse-style eatery where 99 percent of the menu is cooked over an open flame; Bad Saint, which serves up bold Filipino fare; and Tail Up Goat for Knowlton’s favorite goat lasagna.

Ahead of releasing the final top 10 list of America’s best new restaurants on August 16, the good guys at Bon Appetit have also given their two cents on the country’s best sandwich, pizza and taco places. Here, we bring you some of the highlights:

  • Sandwich of the year: The classic lox sandwich at Philly Style Bagels, Philadelphia
  • Pizzeria of the Year: Pizza Jerk, Portland Oregon
  • Dessert of the Year: Molasses-bourbon doughnut, Hole Doughnuts, Asheville
  • Bar of the Year: Bar Goto, New York
  • Bakery of the Year: Arsicault, San Francisco
  • Taco of the year: Taco de Trompo, Trompo, Dallas
  • Best burger: Bateau, Seattle

108 at Noma Restaurant Reopens, Copenhagen

108 at Noma will soon have a new home, and a permanent one to boot. The pop-up venture from its older, more avant garde sibling Noma is set to open this week, helmed by Noma’s chef and co-owner René Redzepi and chef Kristian Baumann (pictured below).

108 at Noma_kristian

First opened in January within the compounds of Noma in Copenhagen, the pop-up restaurant was a massive hit under Baumann, who oversaw the business until April, when the pop-up closed to prepare for its permanent reopening. Noma’s team has since been busy hunting down the highest quality Danish ingredients and liaising with local farmers and producers so as to offer diners the contemporary and refined menu they’ve come to be known for.

Like Noma – which shot to culinary fame with two Michelin stars – 108 at Noma will also pay homage to Danish gastronomy, albeit serving up a more casual offering of family-sized portioned meals to share.


Michelin Awards Singapore’s Hawker Stall Stars

When Michelin released the Bib Gourmand just the other day, Singapore’s culinary scene was embroiled in excitement. In an update from the Bib Gourmand, Michelin has awarded actual stars to a select number of Singapore’s eateries. You would be pleased to know that two hawker stalls even found their way into the Michelin star-studded list of fame, the first time this has happened.

Marking themselves as the world’s first stars for street food (Singaporeans rejoice!), meet Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle in Crawford Lane, as well as Chinatown Food Complex’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. Twenty other restaurants, including Paragon Shopping Centre’s Crystal Jade Golden Palace, round out the number of eateries awarded one Michelin star to a grand total of 22.

Similarly, six restaurants now count two Michelin stars under their names, while the sole top laurel of three stars was bestowed upon Restaurant Joel Robuchon, a contemporary French outlet decked with a majestic art deco-inspired dining room. “From the quality of the ingredients – with only the best selected – to the finesse of the cooking, through to the impressive wine list that includes over 1,000 references, the experience offered by the chef Joël Robuchon is quite simple exceptional! ” exclaims Michael Ellis, International Director of Michelin Guides. You go, Glen Coco.

Congruent to Singapore’s queuing culture, we expect long lines at these places now that they bear the Michelin seal of approval. We call dibs.

The full Michelin Guide Singapore 2016 will be available in print from bookstores islandwide, or in digital through Michelin’s upcoming app for both Apple and Android phones, as well as at its website here.

Luxuo AFP Italian chef Massimo Bottura © AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA

Focus: Chef Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana

The man behind Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy creates world class wonders and serves them up with a dash of humor. His father wanted him to become a lawyer, and he nearly did.

But Massimo Bottura’s obsession with cooking instead has paid off: his restaurant may have put the noses of conservative Italian chefs out of joint, but it now boasts the title “best in the world”.

Set in the heart of Modena in northern Italy, the Osteria already boasted three Michelin stars before it snapped up first prize at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards in June thanks to a creative cuisine that reinvents Italian traditional dishes.

Winning was a “very emotional” experience, Bottura told AFP, though he said one of the main differences between first and second place on the prestigious list was “the number of interviews” he is now asked to give.

With its blue-grey walls, taupe carpet, artworks on the walls and photographs of the singer Edith Piaf, there are just 12 tables and most diners come for the tasting menu, with its 220 euro ($245) price tag.

The fare may be world class but this osteria does not take itself too seriously. A wax sculpture of a security guard by American artist Duane Hanson startles diners at the front entrance. The levity continues once seated.

Dish names include “An eel swimming up the Po River” and “Yellow is bello”. Bespectacled Bottura, 53, worked on one of his signature creations, “Memory of a mortadella sandwich”, for four years.

Follow your Palate

“I rely on my past, but I look at it critically and without nostalgia, because I want to bring the best of the past into the future,” he says.

He says he has always “sought to look at the world from under the table, with the eyes of a child stealing the pasta his grandmother” is making from scratch.

The kitchen — and the table he hid under while his grandmother fought off his quick-fingered brothers with a rolling pin — became “my safety place”.

When he was 23-years old Bottura, who was famous for rustling up culinary delights for his friends, dropped his law studies to open a Trattoria in Campazzo, in the countryside around Modena in the Po River Valley.

On his days off, he would study with French chef Georges Cogny, who had a restaurant two hours away.

“He said to me: ‘always follow your palate, because you have a great palate which will make Modena known around the world'”.

Two years and an interlude in New York later, it was another Frenchman that changed his destiny, Alain Ducasse.

After the Provencal food guru came to Bottura’s Trattoria, the Italian ended up going to work for him in Monte Carlo for a time.

Ducasse had a huge influence on him: “He taught me to be obsessed: obsessed with quality ingredients, obsessed with detail”.

Back in Modena in 1995, he opened the Osteria Francescana. Never satisfied, he jumped at the chance five years later to learn from another great master, Spanish giant Ferran Adria.

Adria taught Bottura the “freedom to be creative”, to think that “a sardine can be worth as much as a lobster, but it all depends on whose hands it is in.”

Mouthfuls of Passion

Bottura begins with local products and messes around with traditional recipes, drawing for inspiration on everything from his childhood kitchen to poetry, art and music, “compressing my passions into mouthfuls”.

His philosophy and creations at first perplexed and even angered Italy’s culinary old guard.

“It’s ironic isn’t it? Ten years ago they wanted to string me up in the main square because I ‘destroyed’ our grandmothers’ recipes”.

With the world prize in the bag, Bottura turns his mind back to his social projects, particularly his war on food waste.

His next big gig will see him set up a caffetteria in Rio which will transform leftover food from the Olympic Games Village into free meals for the poor living in the Brazilian city’s favelas.

Everything the excitable chef does comes with the support of his American wife Lara Gilmore, who left New York for him and gave the ok for his Spanish adventure even though she was pregnant at the time.

“I fell in love with Massimo’s kitchen before actually falling in love with him,” she says.

“He really got me with his creamy velvet artichoke soup”.