After weeks of anticipation, the wait is over.
The big winners at the inaugural Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao Best Asian Restaurants Awards are VLV at Clarke Quay, Imperial Treasure Fine Shanghai Cuisine at Ngee Ann City, and Shinji by Kanesaka, formerly at the Raffles Hotel.
The three were given Gold awards, with 21 restaurants named in the Silver category at Wednesday night's (March 29) gala reception held at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore. Restaurants in the Bronze category were announced on March 15.
Celebrating the very best in Asian dining in Singapore were about 200 people from the food and beverage scene. They were treated to a spread presented by the national culinary team, which won two gold awards at last year's Culinary Olympics in Germany.
VLV's executive head chef Martin Foo, 50, also picked up the Chef of the Year award, while Imperial Treasure's founder, Mr Alfred Leung, 63, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the consistent quality across his empire of restaurants. He is travelling, so his son Kenny, 37, who oversees the group's operations and projects, accepted the award on his behalf.
Imperial Treasure's Fine Teochew Cuisine restaurant at Ion Orchard was among the Bronze winners, while Shinji by Kanesaka's sushi-ya at The St. Regis Singapore is in the Silver category. Its Gold restaurant at Raffles Hotel re-opens at Carlton Hotel Singapore on April 3.
The event is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), and food and beverage consultancy Poulose Associates.
Sphere Exhibits chairman and SPH's executive vice-president of circulation Chua Wee Phong gave out the Chef of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement awards, while the gold and silver prizes were presented by SPH deputy chief executive officers Patrick Daniel and Anthony Tan.
Other Silver award recipients include Peranakan restaurant Candlenut at Como Dempsey, Japanese restaurant Hashida Sushi at Mandarin Gallery, and fine-dining Indian restaurant Rang Mahal at Pan Pacific Singapore.
The judging panel was made up of The Straits Times Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun, Life deputy editor Wong Ah Yoke, Lianhe Zaobao food correspondent Marcus Yeo, and Ms Ng Yimin, a correspondent at the Chinese paper.
It came up with a list of 80 Asian restaurants to be considered and members dined incognito at the eateries, using quality of food and service to determine the winners.
The awards, part of the year-long gourmet extravaganza Asian Masters, are to be given out annually.
Asian Masters, which is in its fifth edition, features events such as whisky- and champagne-pairing dinners throughout March. It continues with monthly dining promotions until February next year.
For more stories on Best Asian Restaurants, go to http://str.sg/4n39
1. Imperial Treasure Fine Shanghai Cuisine
2. Shinji by Kanesaka, formerly at the Raffles hotel, to open at Carlton Hotel
2. Chef Kang's
3. Crystal Jade Golden Palace
4. Golden Peony
5. Hashida Sushi Singapore
7. Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant
8. Jiang-Nan Chun
10. Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant
11. Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
12. National Kitchen by Violet Oon
13. Paradise Teochew Restaurant, Scotts Square
14. Rang Mahal
15. Shinji by Kanesaka, The St. Regis Singapore
16. Si Chuan Dou Hua, Parkroyal on Beach Road
17. Spring Court Restaurant
18. Summer Pavilion
19. Waku Ghin
20. Wild Rocket
21. Kaiseki Yoshiyuki
2. Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House
3. elemen, Millenia Walk
5. Hua Ting Restaurant
6. Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant
7. Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine
8. Kanda Wadatsumi
9. Lei Garden Restaurant
10. Long Beach Seafood Restaurant, Dempsey
11. Long Chim by David Thompson
13. Man Fu Yuan
14. Punjab Grill
15. Putien Restaurant, Kitchener Road
16. Sabai Fine Thai On The Bay
17. Samy's Curry
18. Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro
21. Tao Seafood Asia
22. Teochew Restaurant Huat Kee
23. The Banana Leaf Apolo
24. The Catch Seafood Restaurant & Bar
25. The Famous Kitchen
26. Tong Le Private Dining
27. Tonny Restaurant
28. Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
29. Xi Yan Private Dining
30. Yakiniku Yazawa