Two from India in Asia's 50 best restaurants: Check details here

The Indian Accent restaurant in New Delhi
A year of lockdowns and temporary closures impacted the list of Asia’s leading dining rooms, with some new names emerging near the top.

The Chairman in Hong Kong was named the No 1 restaurant in the region by World’s 50 Best Restaurants, which is owned by William Reed Business Media Ltd. The other restaurants that made up the Top 5 were Singapore’s Odette, Den in Tokyo, Le Du in Bangkok and Gaggan Anand — a new entry — also in Bangkok. It represented a shift from previous lists.

The announcement came in a virtual ceremony on March 25.

Odette in Singapore, part of the Lo & Behold Group, has been the top restaurant for the past two years. “It’s been very fun, very humbling to be recognised by our peers,” said Julien Royer, Odette’s chef-owner, in an interview.

In March 2020, the ceremony took place despite the pandemic, which closed many of the winning dining rooms, at least temporarily. The decision to go forward with the event drew criticism on social media — and a few days after, the organisers cancelled its international 2020 rankings.

The judging this time around factored in a mix of pre-Covid experiences as well as much from after the pandemic started, according to William Drew, the director of content for 50 Best. He said they adjusted the voting to account for the fact that many judges would have had more limited ability to travel in the current climate. Although, he added, the organisation trusted the voters to make a judgment based on what they thought was best.

“We wanted to produce the list,” Drew said in a phone interview.

“The ranking is important, but it’s a vehicle for celebrating great restaurants. The bigger picture is to recognise that restaurants are massively important to all of us.”

Odette’s Royer predicted that a future trend in cooking at the top restaurants in his region would be a return to simplicity. “Creativity when it comes to cooking will be less important than quality. People are really looking for this now.”

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is selected and voted on by a panel of more than 300 food writers, critics, chefs, restaurateurs and food aficionados. The awards are held and published each year since 2013 by William Reed Business Media.

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