TWO Singapore establishments have made their debut on the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list this year: European eatery Corner House at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which came in at No. 17, and modern Singapore restaurant Wild Rocket at Upper Wilkie Road at No. 38.
For the chef-owner of Wild Rocket, Willin Low, 43, making it to the list a decade after opening the restaurant is a "very nice 10th birthday present".
He said: "We created modern Singapore cuisine 10 years ago and are delighted that it has not only caught on among other restaurants and cafes in Singapore, but it is now also internationally recognised.
"I am humbled that Singaporean cuisine is finally represented on the list."
Jason Tan, 33, chef and co-owner of Corner House, thinks its strong "gastro-botanica" identity - which focuses on the use of vegetables - and tight working relationship among his team members paved the way for its inclusion on the list.
He said: "I am excited and honoured, but it is also unexpected, given that the restaurant has been open for only 11/2 years.
"I hope that this award will make the restaurant more internationally recognised and push us further to explore using new ingredients and creating new dishes."
These restaurants are among 10 in Singapore that are featured on the list, the same number as last year.
The highest-ranking restaurant here is Restaurant Andre at Bukit Pasoh Road, which climbed to third spot from fifth last year.
The other restaurants are Waku Ghin at No. 6 (up from 9 last year); Les Amis at 12 (up from 13); Burnt Ends at 14 (up from 30); Shinji by Kanesaka at 21 (up from 32); Jaan at 29 (down from 11); Tippling Club at 31 (up from 36); and Iggy's at 36 (down from 18).
Local pastry chef Cheryl Koh of the Les Amis Group was also named Asia's Best Pastry Chef.
Singapore ties with Japan for having the second-most number of restaurants on the list, with 10 each.
China has the most, with 13.
The results were announced at a gala award ceremony at Bangkok's W Hotel on Monday night.
They were given out in Singapore in the first three years.
Progressive Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok, Thailand, was crowned Best Restaurant in Asia for the second year running and Narisawa in Tokyo, Japan, retained its second spot.
Australian chef David Thompson, who heads Thai restaurants Nahm in Bangkok and Long Chim in Marina Bay Sands, received The Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony.
Nahm slipped one spot to No. 8.
The list is determined by The Diners Club Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Academy, which comprises more than 300 professionals in the restaurant industry across Asia, such as food writers and critics, chefs and restaurateurs.
The Asian list is an offshoot of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, which is also published by William Reed Media Group.
The World's list is expected to be announced in New York City in June.
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HERE'S THE FULL LIST OF THIS YEAR'S WINNERS:
No. 1 - GAGGAN Bangkok, Thailand
No. 2 - NARISAWA Tokyo, Japan
No. 3 - RESTAURANT ANDRE Singapore
No. 4 - AMBER Hong Kong, China
No. 5 - NIHONRYORI RYUGIN Tokyo, Japan
No. 6 - WAKU GHIN Singapore
No. 7 - ULTRAVIOLET BY PAUL PAIRET Shanghai, China
No. 8 - NAHM Bangkok, Thailand
No. 9 - INDIAN ACCENT New Delhi, India
No. 10 - LUNG KING HEEN Hong Kong, China
No. 11 - HAJIME Osaka, Japan
No. 12 - LES AMIS Singapore
No. 13 - 8 1/2 OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA Hong Kong, China
No. 14 - BURNT ENDS Singapore
No. 15 - MINGLES Seoul, South Korea
No. 16 - L'EFFERVESCENCE Tokyo, Japan
No. 17 - CORNER HOUSE Singapore
No. 18 - FU HE HUI Shanghai, China
No. 19 - ISSAYA SIAMESE CLUB Bangkok, Thailand
No. 20 - QUINTESSENCE Tokyo, Japan
No. 21 - SHINJI BY KANESAKA Singapore
No. 22 - JUNGSIK Seoul, South Korea
No. 23 - EAT ME Bangkok, Thailand
No. 24 - TAKAZAWA Tokyo, Japan
No. 25 - MINISTRY OF CRAB Colombo, Sri Lanka
No. 26 - SUSHI SAITO Tokyo, Japan
No. 27 - THE CHAIRMAN Hong Kong, China
No. 28 - MR AND MRS BUND Shanghai, China
No. 29 - JAAN Singapore
No. 30 - LE MOUT Taichung, Taiwan
No. 31 - LA MAISON DE LA NATURE GOH Fukuoka, Japan
No. 32 - TIPPLING CLUB Singapore
No. 33 - TENKU RYUGIN Hong Kong, China
No. 34 - FOOK LAM MOON Hong Kong, China
No. 35 - ROBUCHON AU DOME Macau, China
No. 36 - IGGY'S Singapore
No. 37 - DEN Tokyo, Japan
No. 38 - WILD ROCKET Singapore
No. 39 - GALLERY VASK Manila, Philippines
No. 40 - L'ATELIER DE JOEL ROBUCHON Hong Kong, China
No. 41 - BO INNOVATION Hong Kong, China
No. 42 - KIKUNOI Kyoto, Japan
No. 43 - CUISINE WAT DAMNAK Siem Reap, Cambodia
No. 44 - WASABI BY MORIMOTO Mumbai, India
No. 45 - BUKHARA New Delhi, India
No. 46 - RAW Taipei, Taiwan
No. 47 - NIHONBASHI Colombo, Sri Lanka
No. 48 - TA VIE Hong Kong, China
No. 49 - LOCAVORE Bali, Indonesia
No. 50 - LA YEON Seoul, South Korea