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DigestOdette Is The Best Restaurant In Asia

Odette Is The Best Restaurant In Asia

Odette Is The Best Restaurant In Asia
By Don Mendoza
March 27, 2019
Chef Julien Royer’s modern French restaurant makes history by earning top honours at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 awards, becoming the first restaurant in Singapore to top the popular list

It was the result many were quietly hoping for. And though it may seem like a little too much to anticipate that a restaurant from Singapore might top the Asia’s 50 Best list ahead of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards the country will host in June, Odette at the National Gallery Singapore did just that a few hours ago, becoming the first restaurant in Singapore to claim the No.1 spot on the list.

To boot, chef-owner Julien Royer and his team have achieved this in under four years. The restaurant opened in 2015 and was the list’s highest new entry in 2017 before debuting on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list last year at No.28. Royer was also helming the kitchen when Jaan was honoured with the One To Watch Award at the Asia 50 Best list’s inaugural ceremony in 2013.

“It’s hard to believe, it’s amazing,” he shares during a short press conference held after the ceremony at Wynn Palace in Macau. “As you know, Odette is named after my grandmother on my mum’s side, and she’s the one who fed us so well when we were kids, and she’s the one who showed me how much pleasure, emotion and love you can give people, through food, cuisine and hospitality—this is my tribute to her and also what we try to do on a daily basis.”

Looking back at how far he has come since moving to Singapore in 2007, he posits how his style of cuisine has evolved, taking some inspiration from Asia. He attributes this to Singapore’s unique location at the crossroad of culture and cuisine in the region. “I really like the fact that I’m learning a lot since I’ve been here in Asia; every single trip, every single discovery makes my food better. (Being in Asia) has thought me to be very humble when it comes to cooking.”

(Related: Female Bartenders Shine At This Year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars Celebrations)

To be sure, Odette has grown into one the island's most highly regarded restaurants for Asian-inspired French cuisine. “People here are just crazy about food, and I love that,” he says with a laugh. He went on to affirm that the DNA of the cuisine at Odette is French, though it has been impacted by Singapore’s geographic location and the increasing use of vegetables, citrus and spices from the region. “This is something that I’m working on … I’m trying to explore the flavours of Southeast Asia and how to slowly infuse some in my cooking, but in subtle touches that enhance the flavour without breaking (the cuisine’s) DNA,” he affirms, adding how it’s a very fragile balance, and an ongoing exercise.

Making Sense 

Also worth noting is dedicated champion of crossroads cooking, Nouri, which debuts at No.39. It was truly unexpected, exclaims its elated chef-owner Ivan Brehm, who laughed about how he had thought it was a scam when he received the email about Nouri’s win. “But in the context of what we are doing, it makes sense,” he adds, explaining that everything about the restaurant, its story and ethos, were especially aligned the last 18 months. Long-time favourites Burnt Ends and Jaan climb to No.10 and No.32 respectively, while Les Amis (No.33), Waku Ghin (No.40) and Corner House (No.49) make it a total of seven entries from Singapore to make the list.

After holding the No.1 spot for four consecutive years, Gaggan in Bangkok drops to No.2 but retains the title of The Best Restaurant in Thailand. Represented by 12 restaurants, Japan has the most number of entries, led by Den in Tokyo at No.3.

(Related:A Drink With... Ivan Brehm, Chef-Owner Of Nouri)

See below for the complete list:

No.1

ODETTE, Singapore

No.2

GAGGAN, Bangkok, Thailand

No.3

DEN, Tokyo, Japan

No.4

SÜHRING, Bangkok, Thailand

No.5

FLORILÈGE, Tokyo, Japan

No.6

ULTRAVIOLET BY PAUL PAIRET, Shanghai, China

No.7

MUME, Taipei, Taiwan

No.8

NARISAWA, Tokyo, Japan

No.9

NIHONRYORI RYUGIN, Tokyo, Japan

No.10

BURNT ENDS, Singapore

No.11

THE CHAIRMAN, Hong Kong, China

No.12

8 1/2 OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA, Hong Kong, China

No.13

MINGLES, Seoul, South Korea

No.14

LA CIME, Osaka, Japan

No.15

BELON, Hong Kong, China

No.16

GAA, Bangkok, Thailand

No.17

INDIAN ACCENT, New Delhi, India

No.18

IL RISTORANTE LUCA FANTIN, Tokyo, Japan

No.19

BO.LAN, Bangkok, Thailand

No.20

LE DU, Bangkok, Thailand

No.21

AMBER, Hong Kong, China

No.22

NAHM, Bangkok, Thailand

No.23

SAZENKA, Tokyo, Japan

No.24

LA MAISON DE LA NATURE GOH, Fukuoka, Japan

No.25

SUSHI SAITO, Tokyo, Japan

No.26

L'EFFERVESCENCE, Tokyo, Japan

No.27

JADE DRAGON, Macao, China

No.28

PASTE, Bangkok, Thailand

No.29

FU HE HUI, Shanghai, China

No.30

RAW, Taipei, Taiwan

No.31

SHOUN RYUGIN, Taipei, Taiwan

No.32

JAAN, Singapore

No.33

LES AMIS, Singapore

No.34

VEA, Hong Kong, China

No.35

MINISTRY OF CRAB, Colombo, Sri Lanka

No.36

WING LEI PALACE, Macao, China

No.37

NEIGHBORHOOD, Hong Kong, China

No.38

LUNG KING HEEN, Hong Kong, China

No.39

NOURI, Singapore

No.40

WAKU GHIN, Singapore

No.41

TOCTOC, Seoul, South Korea

No.42

LOCAVORE, Bali, Indonesia

No.43

TOYO EATERY, Manila, Philippines

No.44

SEVENTH SON, Hong Kong, China

No.45

QUINTESSENCE, Tokyo, Japan

No.46

DEWAKAN, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

No.47

SUGALABO, Tokyo, Japan

No.48

SORN, Bangkok, Thailand

No.49

CORNER HOUSE, Singapore

No.50

TA VIE, Hong Kong, China

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Digestasia's 50 bestbest restaurantstop singapore restaurantsodettejulien royer

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