Pick of The Peak's best restaurants honoured

Modern European restaurant Bacchanalia at the Masonic Club in Coleman Street and Japanese restaurant Hashida Sushi at Mandarin Gallery were named this year's Best New Restaurants at The Peak Magazine's annual G Restaurant Awards last night.

A total of 39 awards were presented at the Pan Pacific Orchard hotel in Claymore Road.

Given out for the fifth year, the awards are organised by tri-annual magazine The Peak Selections: Gourmet & Travel, an offshoot of Singapore Press Holdings' luxury magazine, The Peak. They aim to recognise restaurants that deliver superb dining experiences.

Some 230 guests, including restaurateurs, chefs, readers and advertisers attended the event.

On Bacchanalia's award, head chef Ivan Brehm, 30, said: "It's a great achievement for everyone involved. The award belongs to the whole team at Bacchanalia, including those who have left us. It is a labour of love."

The nine-month-old restaurant was also honoured as The S. Pellegrino New Restaurant Of The Year at the annual World Gourmet Series Awards of Excellence last Saturday.

Hashida Sushi's Mr Kenjiro Hashida, 35, a second-generation sushi chef, said: "This time last year, we were rushing to open. I didn't know anything about Singapore's restaurant scene then, let alone these awards. I appreciate this honour and it will be a test for us to maintain our quality."

The restaurant opened 11 months ago.

Restaurant Andre in Bukit Pasoh was named Restaurant Of The Year for a second year running; and Shinji By Kanesaka at Raffles Hotel, won the award for Best Dinner Experience (Asian). The upscale sushi restaurant had previously won the Restaurant Of The Year award in 2012.

Restaurants that received Awards Of Excellence this year also included some newer ones such as The Black Swan in Cecil Street, which opened last July; as well as industry stalwarts such as Iggy's at Hilton Singapore and Les Amis at Shaw Centre.

A panel of 11 judges comprising ambassadors, gourmands and wine writers, dined incognito to critique a shortlist of restaurants. The list was compiled by food writers and critics such as The Straits Times' Mr Wong Ah Yoke and Ms Tan Hsueh Yun, and Lianhe Zaobao's Dr Ng King Kang.

Asked why the awards always seem to highlight usual suspects in the dining scene here, the magazine's editor Sylvester Ng, 34, says: "The G Restaurant Awards honour the best of the best. If these restaurants have made it on our list before, it only serves to demonstrate that they have managed to stay consistently good - which unfortunately is not always the norm with many restaurants. From the onset, we wanted to develop a definitive list rather than a laundry list of restaurants."

On the quality of award winners this year, Dr Chng Chai Kiat, 38, head of dental at KK Women's and Children's Hospital, who has been a judge on the panel for the last two years, said: "Besides being good in their craft, these restaurants gave diners something extra. For example, there was a lot of innovation in the food."

He added that judges critiqued restaurants based on the entire dining experience which, aside from food, also included ambience and service.

The Peak Selections: Gourmet & Travel costs $18 (with GST) and is available at bookstores including Kinokuniya, Times, Times Newslink and MPH.

Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

Award winners

Restaurant Of The Year: Restaurant Andre, Bukit Pasoh Road

Best New Restaurant (Western): Bacchanalia, Coleman Street

Best New Restaurant (Asian): Hashida Sushi, Mandarin Gallery

Best Dinner Experience (Western): Jaan, Swissotel The Stamford

Best Dinner Experience (Asian): Shinji By Kanesaka, Raffles Hotel

Best Wine List (Western): Les Amis, Shaw Centre

Best Wine List (Asian): Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant, Forum The Shopping Mall

Best Business Lunch (Western): Senso Ristorante & Bar, Club Street

Best Business Lunch (Asian): Cherry Garden, Mandarin Oriental Singapore

This article was published on April 8 in The Straits Times.

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