Tag Archives: Restaurant

World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 Bound for Melbourne

In the lead up to the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2016 in New York City later today, the organisers have announced that 2017 will see the 16th edition head to Melbourne. It is hardly an accident that the powerful restaurant ranking program is moving away from London. Instead, moving to Australia is part of the brand’s newly launched global tour, which will see the Awards move to other gastronomic capitals around the world over the next few years.

Launched in 2002, the award ceremony will be hosted in collaboration with Tourism Australia and is set to be the second time that it is held away from its home base in Europe. The draw to Australia is based on its strong showing in the previous ranking, with notable addresses such as Attica, Quay, Sepia and Brae making the list in 2015. Tapping into Australia’s rich culinary market to boost its tourism, is not a new concept for the country’s tourism board. Last year, the organization tapped Danish chef superstar René Redzepi of Noma — a World’s 50 Best Restaurants alumni who has nabbed the top spot four times — to bring his Nordic cuisine to Sydney in a pop-up that opened at a new waterfront space in Sydney.

“The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list provides an annual barometer to the greatest food, wine and restaurant experiences from all around the world,” said Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan in a statement.

“The awards align closely with Tourism Australia’s global campaign focus on food and wine and provide another compelling chapter in our ongoing Restaurant Australia story which we continue to share with the world.”

It’s precisely this kind of alignment, however, that has been criticized by some of the event’s most vocal opponents, notably a group of disgruntled French gastronomes who accused World’s 50 Best organizers of favoring chefs from countries with which they built commercial ties

Last year, the group released their own version of the ranking dubbed La Liste, which they claimed was based on a mathematical algorithm based on hundreds of guide books and online reviews.

The winners of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards will be announced out of New York Monday night, starting at 8 pm EDT.

Catch the livestream of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants here.

New Menu: db Bistro & Oyster Bar

We love food and we will not deny it so when they asked for volunteers to try out a new seafood menu, there was no hesitation from us. With a few new additions to its menu, db Bistro & Oyster Bar at Marina Bay Sands offers up some hearty seafood dishes that will not disappoint. As seafood lovers ourselves, we helped to suss out the highlights of the new menu.

For more information, click here.

Singapore New Eats: District 10 Steak Lunch

When we find a new restaurant the offers some mouth-watering meals, we just can’t wait to share. This week, we bring you the Great Lunch Steak Out at District 10. Located in the heart of Singapore, it offers a sumptuous menu for three including a T-bone steak flown in all the way from the United States. Using a traditional Italian recipe, the meal is not one to be missed.

For more information, click here.

Den Restaurant Singled Out by Asia’s 50 Best

Despite being hidden in a small alleyway next to a convenience store, Den may be one of the most interesting Japanese dining-spots out there. The Tokyo restaurant first made Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in February at 37th place. Now, the World’s 50 Best has marked it as this year’s ‘One To Watch’ – due to chef Zaiyu Hasegawa’s unique and playful vision of traditional kaiseki cuisine.

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Hasegawa started off at a ryotei (a traditional high-end Japanese restaurant) where his mother was working. He grew dissatisfied with the traditional style of cooking – noting in an interview that formal Japanese cuisine “lacks range… It’s not like haute couture where everything fits each customer perfectly”. With this new vision of hospitality (or, in Japanese, omotenashi) to accommodate each diner, he opened Den in 2007.

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The small intricate dishes that can be found within the restaurant have a vision of inventiveness that goes beyond many chefs out there. One of the signature dishes includes a garden salad made up of 20 different vegetables. Another is a ‘moss rock’ desert actually served on a shovel. The eight-course menu changes with the seasons.

The ‘One to Watch’ award is presented to the restaurant thought to have the most potential to move up the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in the near future. Hasegawa will receive the distinction on June 13 during The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in Manhattan.

You can check out Den’s website over here.

Images courtesy of World’s 50 Best List. This story was written in-house, based on an AFP report.

Marine Menu: Borago Serves Up Seaweed, Algae

Chile boasts of a rich biodiversity across its long coasts, arid deserts, and even the glacial climes of Patagonia. Included in this incredible biodiversity are 750 species of seaweed or algae and 30 different edible mushrooms, many of which are utilized in the kitchen of the Borago restaurant located in Santiago. Borago is known as one of the best restaurants in Latin America – innovative and flavorful – due, in most part, to the efforts of Chef Rodolfo Guzman who spearheads the restaurant’s unique tastes.

Last year, the restaurant broke into Restaurant magazine’s list of the World’s 50 Best, coming in at 42. It also placed second behind avant-garde Peruvian favorite Central, in a similar list for Latin American restaurants. Guzman primarily uses halophiles – plants that grow in salty environments and need little or no soil – as the focus of his many dishes. He hunts them amidst the rocks of Chilean beaches or sources them from a network of 200 local providers, while also collaborating with many biologists, anthropologists and mycologists, or fungi specialists to search for new avenues of taste. This is all a part of his goal to research and promote Chile’s endemic plant life while using it to create a new cuisine.

Such ingredients bear unusual names: like beach chard, sea parsley, rock clovers, and sea asparagus. But, Guzman explained to AFP, the plants have salty flavors and, on average, 38 percent protein, the same amount as fish. “These plants are very important for us. They have a truly incredible flavor,” he added.

For a tasting menu, ranging from $60 to $90, a range of dishes chock full of local ingredients can be savored. Some of these includes dishes like “Araucania region pine nut chocolates” to “Guanaco jerky,” made with the meat of a llama-like wild animal.

Like so many other countries across the world, this is all a part of a culinary trend to turn to the roots of one’s own cuisine, while updating it with modern techniques. Axel Manriquez, the executive chef at the Hotel Plaza San Francisco in Santiago and Guzman’s colleague, is another chef who aims to turn native ingredients into sublime gastronomical delights. “These days we chefs are looking to that old home-style, family cooking, but giving it added value with these products that have always been here,” Manriquez said.

Within Latin America, Guzman’s vision of Chilean cuisine is helping bring it out of the shadows of its neighbor Peru, a darling of restaurant critics worldwide, by rediscovering traditional flavors and embracing the nation’s indigenous Mapuche roots as a guiding influence. As always, it’s a combination of innovative minds and established techniques that’ll push a cuisine further up the curve, into the international view, creating a wider view of what is possible.

You can check out what Borago has to offer over at their website.

Vege Might: Chef Alain Passard Earns Lifetime Award

Going vegetarian would probably be easier if we all had the cooking skills of Alain Passard. The French chef surprised the world back in 2001 when he turned away from red meat in view of the mad cow disease crisis – despite being famous as a maître rotisseur (roast chef). Now, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of his Michelin-starred restaurant Arpège, the organizers of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant have decided to award him the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication.

Nothing feels more royal on the plate than a slab of steak unless you walk into Arpège, where Passard has done up humble vegetables like beets, turnips, carrots, and fennel with such expertise that they can easily take their weight in the culinary spotlight. Beets are given the sushi treatment, crème brulée is reinvented using garlic, and spinach perfumed with a hazelnut butter. His influence has even spread down to other chefs like Alain Ducasse and René Redzepi – both focusing their menu to accommodate a more vegetarian slant. Of course, Arpège still serves fish and poultry aside for its gastronomic wizardry with vegetables.

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A plus for having plant-based cuisine is the ability to access the ingredients first-hand yourself. In order to ensure the finest crop, Passard sources his veggies from one of three organic gardens that he owns within a 200km radius. He commented in a statement: “The most beautiful cookbook is dictated by nature, and we are merely the spokesmen inspired by that”.

Passard joins Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, Juan Mari Arzak, Alice Waters, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller in the canon of World’s 50 Best Restaurants Lifetime Achievement winners. The winners themselves will be announced this June 13 in New York City.

KGB-favored Restaurant Reopens in Moscow

A chic restaurant where spies exchange secrets and plans under the cover of shady lighting seems like something out of a spy novel but apparently it is not too far away from the truth. The Aragvi restaurant in Moscow’s Tverskaya street opened at the height of Stalin’s bloody reign way back in 1938, and was a high-end eatery frequented by the KGB and other well heeled Soviet Comrades, including cosmonauts, filmmakers, and chess champions. Although it closed down in 2003, the restaurant is now being relaunched under its original name after a hefty $20 million restoration.

Aragvi opened on the initiative of Stalin’s notorious security chief Lavrenty Beria for the use of officials from his NKVD agency, the Soviet secret service later renamed the KGB. It specialized in Georgian dishes (Stalin himself was an ethnic Georgian) that soon became the talk of the town. This came at quite a cost though in the tightly controlled economy of the Soviet Union, as diners had to pay one-tenth of the average monthly wage to have the opportunity to eat alongside the usual suspects who broke bread there.

“In the Soviet Union, dropping a mention of the famous Aragvi chicken — which was grilled with nuts and garlic — gained you entry into the creme de la creme of society,” said one former diner, Nelli Maximova, an 83-year-old retired translator.

The KGB used the spot as a hangout to recruit agents and wired the place up with hidden microphones. Mikhail Lyubimov, who headed the KGB’s operations against Britain and Scandinavian countries, noted that Aragvi was “the favorite place to recruit agents and for farewell parties for agents going abroad”. He also added that the front-of-house staff were mainly retired KGB officials.

The restaurant was even immortalized in Soviet literature and featured in films. The poet Sergei Mikhalkov came up with the lyrics of the new Soviet national anthem while eating there. In fact, the very name of the restaurant has a literary root – being named after a Georgian river located inside a former hotel where Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov once stayed. All of this adds up to quite a large legacy.

In order to tap into that legacy, the Tashir Group and Gor Nakhapetyan, who previously led the Troika Dialog investment group, took on the task of restoring Aragvi to its former glory. Beyond its famous Georgian fare, such as khinkali (dumplings full of meat and bouillon) and khachapuri (bread topped with cheese), there will also be non-Georgian specialties like borscht and Black Sea herring pate. Being favored by the government back in the day, the restaurant had its most important ingredients, particularly those for its famous “satsivi” or cold chicken in nut sauce, delivered in a special train carriage from Tbilisi.

Angela May Food Chapters Opens at Robinsons

Those familiar with The Bocuse d’Or or the World Pastry Cup, may recognize Angela May — she has been one of the personalities associated events since 2009. Her passion for food has now resulted in a restaurant that carries her name. Located at Robinsons The Heeren, Angela May Food Chapters is another chapter her culinary journey.

It stands as the first restaurant in the world with May’s name and offers diners contemporary cuisine the subtle Asian influences. Thanks to her rich heritage (She’s American-Thai), she is able to experiment and infuse what she has learnt from experience and her travels into the dishes. What sets her venture apart, is the fact that most of the herbs and vegetables used in the dishes are farmed inside the restaurant. She also supports farmers in Singapore as they provide the restaurant with vegetables and fish.

Cauliflower Steak

Cauliflower Steak

You can understand her passion and creativity when you have just a mouthful of the dishes offered. Take for instance, the chilled coconut chia and fresh berries pudding with drizzle of Gula Melaka that is served with — wait for it — a dusting of Saigon cinnamon. Or you can simply drool over the cold scallion noodle bowl with soy glazed shiitake and pickled cucumbers, that is offered for high tea.

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll

My personal favorite is the handpicked marble pastry counter (and will be the favorite of any sane person with a sweet tooth). The counter offers up house-made desserts and pastries for those who are dining in as well as those who wish to savor it in the comfort of their home. She also has a freshly baked cookie plate that I would have inhaled in a heartbeat if not for those pesky table manners.

Interior of the restaurant with its wood wave feature ceiling

Interior of the restaurant with its wood wave feature ceiling

Featuring a wood wave ceiling at the entrance, you are immediately enveloped into a cozy and warm interior. Akar de Nissim specially crafted the hand-carved oak and sycamore tables and chairs for the restaurant — they also created a special edition candle that you can purchase. There is a 10-seater lounge that overlooks the busy streets of Orchard Road and playful limited edition macaron tables as well as special mini bag chairs for handbags.Angela-May-Food-Chapters-Interior-2

“We are delighted and proud to bring Angela May Food Chapters on-board, and we are confident this new offering will inject a dose of vibrancy and flavor into our expanding repertoire of covetable F&B options at Robinsons the Heeren” said Mr. Christophe Cann, Group CEO-Asia, Al-Futtaim Group. He added “With Angela May Food Chapters’ delectable menu and curated restaurant décor, it will certainly expand our shopper’s dining horizons and up our ante in bringing new experiences as the leading department store in Singapore!”

To learn more about the menu at Angela May Food Chapters, click here.

Tour d’Argent’s Duck-Press Fetches $45,000

What in the world is a duck press? We will get to that of course but first, a bit of backstory… Overlooking the river Seine, the Tour d’Argent restaurant has seen many changes over the years. Thanks to this history, the Michelin-starred restaurant had acquired a large number of dishes, furniture, rare spirits and liquors. As part of its efforts to modernize the restaurant and its logo, Tour d’Argent auctioned off over 3,000 items from its private collection. One item that garnered much attention during the auction by Artcurial, was the silver plated duck-press.

Crafted in the 19th century by Christofle, the duck press also bears the Left Bank restaurant’s emblem and was expected to fetch EU4,000 to EU6,000. It was sold however, for EU40,000 ($45,000) — nearly 10 times its estimate. Used to squeeze the blood and bone marrow from ducks, the device is said to have served an impressive 1.15 million dishes of “Canard a la Presse” since 1890. Today, this might well be the most expensive duck press in the world, although statistics on these devices are hard to come by.

Other notable items that were auctioned include the Grande Fine Clos du Griffier Cognac. Estimated to be one of the oldest bottles in the selection that was sold, it si believed to date back to 1788 and was expected to fetch EU20,000 to EU21,000 ($22,00-$23,000).

“The Tour d’Argent is continuingly evolving and the renovations we have undertaken have led to us accumulating a large amount of porcelain, crystal, glass and silverware and also furniture which no longer has a relevant place today” said André Terrail, owner of Tour d’Argent. He added that “Just like our new visual identity, we are establishing the Tour d’Argent in the present, whilst continuing on from the past.”

Paris Ferris Wheel Turns Pop-up Restaurant

If you are in Paris later this month and are seeking out a special treat, seek out the Ferris Wheel in Paris’ Place de la Concorde, which will turn into a pop-up restaurant for one night only May 19. Organized as part of this year’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, which as the name suggests looks for the world’s most talented up-and-coming chefs, diners can step aboard in a first for the French capital’s “Grande Roue.”

Normally, the “Grande Roue” in Paris’s Place de la Concorde is a fun way of taking in the city’s sights that’s especially popular during the winter holiday season. Now, for the first time, the city’s ferris wheel is set to become a pop-up restaurant. Around 400 lucky diners will take a seat in one of the 48 cabins for dinner sittings at 7pm and 9:30pm. We can only imagine how this might work and that very uncertainty means the experience could be a very special one indeed.

The pop-up will be serving dishes cooked by the French finalist in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition, who will be selected at a country-wide semi-final May 9. Cabin companions will be served an amuse-bouche, followed by a starter, the chef’s signature dish and a dessert. The finalist will be accompanied in the kitchen by the triple Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno. The chef, based at the Pavillon Ledoyen restaurant in Paris, is one of the jury members who will help select the French finalist, before coaching them for the final. The pair of chefs will be stepping into a pop-up kitchen installed at the foot of the wheel especially for the occasion.

Anyone hoping to enjoy this unique culinary experience, taking diners over 70 meters above ground, will need to book quickly. Reservations can be made online at www.finedininglovers.fr (in French) and places are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Note that bookings must be made for two people.

The final of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition will be held October 15 in Milan, Italy.

Miami Supercar Rooms: Eating with Auto Art

Sometimes, a car connoisseur’s love goes beyond the boundaries of the road. For those intense enthusiasts who want to involve their cars in every single moment of their lived experience, even eating, Miami has just the thing. Before you squeal with glee, thanks to the image above, this is not a glorified members-only carpark where you can pull in with your Aventador or 458 Italia to enjoy your Mouton-Rothschild with a serving of carbon monoxide. This is more like a members-only restaurant that also doubles as a gallery showcasing the awesome car collection of a mysterious figure known as Elo.

With the opening of Miami Supercar Rooms, touted to be the world’s first Auto Art Gallery and Gourmet Dining Experience, you can combine the best of both fine dining and automotive-craftsmanship into a single luxuriously tailored experience. This whole experience was developed by the founder of UK’s London Motor Museum, the automotive visionary and car-collector Elo.

Elo at Miami Supercar Rooms

Elo at Miami Supercar Rooms

It’s not easy on the pocket though. Booking one of the six outdoor pods (each seating six people) for an evening’s gourmet experience will set you back by up to $3000. In exchange for that, you get to enjoy a special five-course gourmet meal crafted by an Executive Chef from a local Miami restaurant (the chef changes each month), while lounging next to one of the most desirable cars in the world from Elo’s collection. There’s also an open bar that can be enjoyed and a post-diner program of entertainment involving progressive music and live musicians. The experience is available only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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The whole space stands at 15,000 square feet and houses a whole range of extremely rare models, such as the 1955 SL 300 Mercedes Gullwing; 1929 Rolls Royce Bootch; 1958 450 S Maserati vintage racing car; 1961 196 SP Ferrari vintage racing car and the 2007 Shelby Supercar Ultimate Aero TT (crowned in 2007 as the fastest production car in the world, clearly before the Veyron took that title). Also featured is the extremely rare (with only three models in the whole world) Lamborghini Tractor, and a 1935 derivative of the only Bugatti “Atlantic,” known as the “Pacific” – built by the famed Terry Cook of Delahaye ÙSA.

1929 Rolls Royce Bootch

1929 Rolls Royce Bootch

1953 Lamborghini Tractor

1953 Lamborghini Tractor

Of course, the Supercar Rooms are still free for browsing. Between the hours of 10.00am and 6.00pm, the Auto Art Gallery is open to the public, except on Tuesday.

1935 Pacific by Delahaye USA

1935 Pacific by Delahaye USA

For those whose idea of a romantic night out involves a dinner under the stars, mixed in with a bit of beautiful automotive elegance, this may just be the spot to look to. You can check out more information and book reservations at http://www.miamisupercarrooms.com/.

Miami Supercar Rooms Water

Pop-Up Orient Express Gourmet Treat

We remember the Orient Express putting brakes on the service in 2009, yet another victim of the financial turmoil of that time. Today, finance and commodities face even greater uncertainty and the specter of the legendary train service is pulling back into stations at Cannes, Paris and Bordeaux. The AFP reports that this reincarnation is but a temporary measure, hence ‘specter’, as triple Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno’s pop-up restaurant, La Table Orient Express. The service will be in stations between May 3 and July 30 so it will be just in time for the Cannes International Film Festival.

Immortalized by Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, this most luxurious of trains is teasing a return to service this summer. Although it won’t be taking passengers to the gateway of the Orient, it is likely to inspire just as much nostalgia and passion, especially among foodies, since its famous blue Pullman carriages will be catering specifically for gourmet diners.

Passengers can step aboard the 38-seat Orient Express dining experience from May 3 and July 30, and enjoy a gourmet meal amid period decor from the train’s heyday in the 1920s. This special service will take diners on a three-hour trip, serving up a selection of dishes from chef Alléno as the scenery goes by.

La Table Orient Express will be starting its culinary voyage on the French Riviera, coinciding with the Cannes International Film Festival, May 2 to 28.

Diners will be served canapés with rose petals, foie gras and a dusting of hazelnut, as well as a Bellevue lobster consommé. Then comes the starter, promising a modern cassolette of demoiselles de Loctudy langoustines cooked in a seawater court-bouillon and with an elderflower fritter. The main is a Pascal Cosnet poularde de Mayenne hen poached in milk spiced with Iranian black lime, cinnamon and cardamom, and served with fine-grain semolina with coriander and sultanas.

Dessert will be the work of Yann Couvreur, former pastry chef at the Prince de Galles luxury hotel in Paris, and who is expected to open his own boutique soon. The young master of desserts will be preparing a meringue nest with Gariguette strawberries and mint, served with vanilla whipped cream. The meal costs €530 (approx. $602) per person, with an additional €60 (approx. $68) for specially selected wines to accompany each dish. Tables can be booked online at www.orient-express.com.

La Table Orient Express rolls into Paris (Gare de l’Est) from June 1 to July 16, before heading to Bordeaux from July 20 to 30.

Interview: Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

You might be familiar with the name Nobu if you have been paying attention to the international buzz over chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, amongst many other locations worldwide and in the USA. Since his partner in the Nobu business is Robert De Niro, he also has a certain pop culture cachet. His other line of restaurants, Matsuhisa, is privately owned by the Matsuhisa family.

Chef Nobu is quick to clarify that though he has been linked to Nikkei cuisine – the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine – his cooking is distinctly ‘Nobu.’

For the 67-year-old chef, that means cooking that is firmly rooted in Japanese cuisine, with just a few touches of Peruvian influences like jalapeno peppers, cured ceviches and anticucho, traditional beef heart skewers.

He frowns on labels like fusion and Nikkei, and prefers to describe his cuisine by his name, food that is “Nobu Matsuhisa.”

While in Paris to oversee his newest restaurant, Matsuhisa Paris at Le Royal Monceau hotel this week, the chef spoke about his second attempt at opening a restaurant in the French capital, sushi etiquette and the person he’d most want to cook for.

Nobu Matsuhisa's signature black cod with miso at Le Royal Monceau Paris

Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature black cod with miso at Le Royal Monceau Paris

What is ‘Nobu’ cuisine?

I started training in Tokyo when I was 18 years old and started cooking Japanese food. Then I moved to Peru and saw a lot of different ingredients like lemons, garlic, cilantro, onions so I started making Japanese dishes with Peruvian ingredients. But my base cooking is Japanese. This is what I call Nobu-style food.

This isn’t the first time you opened a restaurant in Paris. In 2001, you opened Nobu. What’s different this time?

When I opened Nobu Paris in 2001 I was a bit disappointed. The restaurant wasn’t perfect. So we closed it after a year and a half. Now, 15 years later my partners and I have opened restaurants in Mykonos, St. Moritz, Athens, Munich… so we have teams in Europe. Before we opened in Paris this time, we also did pop-up promotions to test the grounds.

You’ve added hotelier to your resume with two hotels and another three coming up in London, Miami and Saudi Arabia. What do you look for when you stay at a hotel?

For me, there has to be a nice gym. I like the Royal Monceau for their swimming pool. I swam today and yesterday. I like to exercise so a gym is very important. Of course, hospitality and good service is important. But sometimes too much service is very uncomfortable too. I don’t like overly complicated hotels. I like simple.

What are some of the mistakes you see diners make when they eat sushi at your restaurants?

In Japan, we never use too much soy sauce. When you eat sushi in Japan, never mix wasabi with soy sauce because the sushi already has wasabi between the fish and the rice. Also the sushi chef will often brush soy sauce on the fish. And in Japan you eat it in one bite. This is the real way. In America and Europe they mix wasabi with lots of soy sauce. Also, in Japanese culture, Japanese people never put soy sauce on their steamed rice. In the beginning when I saw this I was shocked. But now I laugh.

If you could cook for one person that you haven’t cooked for yet, who would it be?

If my father were still alive I would like to cook for him. I’ve made sushi for my mother but my father passed away when I was a child. If my father were here now I would like to prepare sushi for him.

Matsuhisa Paris at Le Royal Monceau opened last month. The chef’s restaurant empire includes more than 30 restaurants in 28 cities around the world.

Dine Naked at The Bunyadi, London

If it has always been a fantasy to eat in the buff with complete strangers, get ready to strip at The Bunyadi, a pop-up naked restaurant where customers are more than welcome to remove all clothes and get comfy.

Opening this summer in central London at an as yet undisclosed address, the naked restaurant already boasts a 4,000-person waiting list. Meal-goers are invited to remove all articles of clothing (yes, that includes your underwear) and change into a gown; punters can then choose whether to keep or remove the gown at their table. Privacy is maintained by bamboo partitions on the restaurant floor, closing off diners in intimate space and keeping prying eyes at bay. Members of staff are also expected to be minimally clothed.

Named after a Hindi term for ‘base’ or ‘natural’, The Bunyadi’s concept goes beyond food. The idea to free diners from the “trappings of modern life” and focus on the bare essentials means that dishes are cooked over wood fire and served in handmade clay crockery – over candlelight no less. The cutlery will also be edible and vegan and non-vegan options will be available.

Diners intrigued by the concept but not quite brave enough to go the whole hog can be rest assured that keeping your clothes on are also an option at the non-naked section. Join the waiting list today at thebunyadi.com.

 

This story was written in-house, with an AFP wire report as the source. There are as yet no images of what the restaurant actually looks like.

 

 

 

Review: Thai Restaurant Long Chim

Long Chim brings the art and flavors of Bangkok to Singapore with the opening of its new restaurant at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Translating to ‘come and taste’, Long Chim is a happy and open invitation for diners to eat Thai food while surrounded by the ambience and vibrant culture of the Bangkok streets.

Just like the streets, Long Chim’s food is fast and affordable and guests have their food cooked in plain view. Diners will be treated with the aromatic scents of Thai spices looming throughout the restaurant, transporting them to the colorful famous streets of Chatuchak or Yaowarat market. Mouth-watering dishes from all over Thailand can be eaten as individual plates at the open kitchen counter, or shared with family and friends in the main dining room.

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Aromatic satay of beef with cumin, green curry of beef, prawns roasted with vermicelli, noodles of all kinds, in soup or stir fried, and duck roasted in a wood-fired oven, are just a few favourites from the variety of delicacies guests can choose from. Long Chim’s banana roti or durian ice cream (editor’s note: SERIOUSLY LEGIT) is a must-try to top off the meal.

Restaurant Manager Aom Orawan and Thai Head Chef Yingyod Raktham manage the team at Long Chim with support from Chefs Matthew Albert, Annita Potter and David Thompson.

“I am so glad we opened our first Long Chim here in Singapore. People have been so welcoming. I hope we can return the favor by producing food that everyone likes – street food, Thai food: Long Chim’s food,” says David Thompson.

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Crafted by the award-winning drinks team at Proof & Company, Long Chim’s bar program features interesting cocktails that have been inspired by popular Thai desserts and ingredients. Tipples include Long Chim’s Sticky Rice Sour, made with aged rum, rice wine, fresh mango juice and pandanus, and coconut foam.

One interesting and artistic main feature of the restaurant is its array of specially curated graffiti from international street artists. New Zealand-born writer-turned-street artist Diamond One coordinated a team of fellow artists whom he knew could mirror the eloquent grime of Bangkok streets to design the wall murals for Long Chim. These three talented street artists, who go by their pseudonyms, include Alex Face and Gong (both of whom are from Thailand), and Spanish renowned spray-paint artist Sath. From the abstract medley of color and signage, to Thai gods and traditional arts, the graffiti design for the interior of Long Chim truly encompasses the unique vibe and cultural history of the iconic Bangkok streets.

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For one of the walls in Long Chim, artist Gong chose to scribe the lyrics of a classic song called Gub-Khav-Pecha-Khat (or ‘Food Killer’). Amongst this wall of lyrics, he also designed the letter Chor-Chang, a Thai letter that translates to ‘elephant’. The letter was selected as it appears in the restaurant name, and also represents an iconic and sacred symbol of Thailand.

“The art of Thailand has the ability to communicate a story of artist and land, for this reason I dedicate myself to painting in Thai style. I don’t paint in a completely traditional way though, I don’t feel I’m trying to tell the stories of our past, I am trying to record a snippet of the present in a Thai way, because of this my work has modern elements and techniques making it more relevant to people of our time,” explains Gong.

*For more information, please visit www.longchim.com.sg

Story Credits
This articles was originally published in Art Republik

Ash & Elm Semi-Buffet Lunch in Singapore

Ash & Elm has introduced a new semi-buffet lunch menu to cater to the lunch crowd. Housed in the InterContinental Singapore, guests can look forward to a wide range of European classics. From the chacuterie and cheese room to the salads and appetisers, the restaurant makes a lunch meeting slightly more inviting. For those seeking something slightly more satisfying, there is also an option of a main course.

Find out more about the Semi-Buffet Lunch at the Ash & Elm from the InterContinental Hotel, here.

Chef Alain Ducasse Opens Paris Brasserie

With establishments in the UK, USA and Japan, along with many more in France itself, Alain Ducasse may be one of the most established Michelin-star chefs in the world. His latest venture, brings him to the revamped Les Halles area of Paris. The new brasserie named Champeaux is situated in the Les Halles shopping mall and is set to provide diners with traditional brasserie fare, but with a modern twist.

The Les Halles area has a vivid history in French culture, being the setting of a book by famous naturalist writer Emile Zola entitled “The Belly of Paris” (Le Ventre de Paris). An extensive renovation project for the Les Halles mall and transport hub was undertaken in the past six years – its latest development being the new canopy-style roof. Ducasse knows the history all too well, and pays homage to the location in his restaurant name, which was once given to the locality where Louis VI ordered the building of Les Halles.

The restaurant will serve hungry diners from 8am to midnight, or 1am on Saturday. The space seats 180, and is defined by industrial effects and furnishings, with a large electronic billboard to boot, featuring nuggets of information on the dishes of the day amongst others. Besides food, Champeaux also aims to have special cocktails, served up by the mixologist Marjolaiine Arpin.

Soufflés will be the restaurant’s signature dish, along with sweet and savory options of traditional brasserie fare such as deviled eggs, croque-monsieur hot cheese and ham sandwiches, French onion soup cooked without the gratin top, a lighter take on pâté en croute, and spatchcock-style lemon chicken. Dishes will be accompanied with ingredients dear to Ducasse, such as spelt, spices and condiments. Starters and desserts are priced from €6 (approx. $6.85), with dishes of the day at €22 (approx. $25) and à la carte options from around €50 (approx. $57).

With Champeaux, Ducasse has created a space to satisfy the appetite of the neighborhood’s young clientele, as well as business people and tourists. You can find out more about the brasserie at Ducasse’s website.

Is Neo-Korean Cuisine the Next Big Thing?

With the Michelin launch set for Seoul, this could be the start of South Korea’s rise into a culinary spotlight that has been long dominated by giants such as Japan and greater China. The country has been slowly gaining prominence in its stature, with a few restaurants listed on the Asia’s 50 Best List, and chefs in the international scene being won over by aspects of the cuisine. Once the Michelin inspectors are done scouring the capital for notables, the fine dining scene will surely get a boost.

In 2014, the Korean restaurant Jungsik located in TriBeCa was the first of its kind to be awarded 2 stars in the New York Michelin guide. Later, Mingles, in Seoul, shot to the 15th spot of Asia’s 50 Best as the Highest New Entry on the ranking, just two years after opening (Jungsik was also on the list, with another restaurant called La Yeon).

Chef Kang Min-goo from Mingles can be seen as one of the buzzing forward-thinking minds at the forefront of pushing the cuisine to greater heights. He trained under Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain, and later enjoyed stints at Nobu in Miami and the Bahamas, where the knowledge he picked up helped stimulate his innovation for the wonderful dishes crafted in his restaurant. At Mingles, a seasonal menu plays with ‘jang’ and ‘cho’ — Korean fermented sauce and vinegar — and divides dishes into sections like grains, vegetables and fish. Traditional Korean dishes are also given Western touches such as foie gras and truffle, surprising local palates and reinventing old classics.

“For Korean customers, I wanted to provide a fun experience; for foreigners, I wanted to provide a special meal that they can only have here. I wanted them to discover newness in familiarity…Over the past few years, restaurants in Korea have started to have their own diverse food offerings,” the chef revealed in an interview with Time Out magazine.

And those from the outside are catching on to the potential. Triple Michelin-starred chef Eric Ripert is an outspoken fan of Korean temple cuisine, pointing to these secluded locales as containing some of the best kept secrets in the culinary world. Another New York-based French chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, starred in a 2011 documentary travel series with his half-Korean wife Marja, exploring Korea’s culinary heritage. The overall rise of Korean cuisine can also be credited in part to the popularity of some of America’s hottest young Korean-American chefs, including David Chang and Roy Choi.

The Michelin guide for Seoul is due for the second half of the year, where the community, both local and international, is sure to be eagerly awaiting what may come in store.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Gaggan Tops Asia’s 50 Best Again

‘Progressive Cook’ Gaggan Anand’s eponymous restaurant in Bangkok took the title of Asia’s Best for the second year in a row for this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list. This also marks the first time the list, which was started in 2013, has had a consecutive winner in its short history. Previous top winners include Japanese restaurant Narisawa and Thai restaurant Nahm.

Anand’s style of cooking has been known as playful, yet never at the expense of taste. With a deep love for his own country’s cuisine and a modernizing touch, Anand has pushed Indian street food into the ranks of fine dining.

“There are 26 cuisines in India and each cuisine is so different from each other. I could make 26 Gaggans with these 26 different cuisines… it’s so diverse” he said in an interview with Fine Dining Lovers last year.

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The chef also picked up his flair from a stint in the kitchen of elBulli under the ever inventive Ferran Adrià. Some of the dishes have names such as ‘Who Killed The Goat?’ (lamb chops cooked sous vide) and ‘I Want My Curry!’ (crab curry served in tiffin pots).

A fine example of the chef’s culinary skills at work can be seen here, displaying his dish ‘The Story of a Fish called Kin-Medai’. This dish is segmented into four parts, starting off with a beautiful red cut of fish sprinkled with yellow-orange spice powder.

In his interview for Asia’s 50 best, Anand expressed confidence at what winning the award entails:

“We just want to make sure if we were given the responsibility of being the best restaurant in Asia, we must make sure that every guest feels it”

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“The world is getting smaller and we got more bolder, this whole Asia’s 50 best made us more bold, it made us do what we wanted to do. The menu is, the kitchen is, everything is what we want to do, not what people want us to cook.”

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Anand also made reference to other Bangkok restaurants and chefs on the list such as Issaya and David Thompson (who won the Lifetime Achievement award this year). He expressed how the award emboldened his work and helped to shine a spotlight on a region eclipsed by the other Western gastronomic capitals. He noted how it was rare to find a restaurant fully-booked in the country in the past.

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“Everyone’s sharing the success of Asia’s 50 best. Suddenly things have changed in the world.”

The highest new entry for the year was Mingles, in Seoul, South Korea. It also claimed the title of Best Restaurant in Korea. With the advent of the list, more and more of the continent’s best cuisine is being illuminated.

The full list can be viewed here

The Top 10 for 2016

1. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
2. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
3. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
4. Amber, Hong Kong
5. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
6. Waku Ghin, Singapore
7. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
8. Nahm, Bangkok
9. Indian Accent, New Delhi
10. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong

This story was written in-house, from a variety of sources, including the AFP wire service. Images are courtesy of Gaggan.

David Thompson Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

David Thompson’s staunch traditionalism finally paid off, as the Thai-dedicated Australian chef became the 2016 recipient for the Lifetime Achievement Award in this year’s edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. His restaurant, Nahm, happens to be one of the hottest dining places in Bangkok, but the Michelin-recognized chef (for his London establishment) has an international influence range, extending to Singapore, where his other restaurant Long Chim is situated.

The celebrity chef’s restaurants have been aptly named by critics as Temples of Thai Gastronomy. Despite his Aussie roots, Thompson has dedicated his time to tracking down the centuries-old cookbooks of Thai matriarchs in order to serve up authentic flavors. For his efforts, he’s considered an honorary Thai, and he’s even released some books detailing in-depth recipes and looks into the history of the cuisine.

Among his claims to fame are scoring a Michelin star within six months of Nahm’s opening in London, and scoring the No. 1 spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2014 for the Bangkok outlet at the Metropolitan Hotel. When he receives his award on February 29 at a gala ceremony, he can add one more to the record.