It may be only six months old, but modern Chinese restaurant VLV at Clarke Quay has already emerged a front runner in the dining scene here.
VLV was honoured with the Gold accolade on the inaugural Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao Best Asian Restaurants list, and its head chef Martin Foo, 50, picked up the Chef of the Year award.
He said: "I didn't think we would get the recognition so quickly. We will definitely pop the champagne, but it is back to work tomorrow. There is no time to be lazy."
The other two restaurants in the Gold category were Shinji by Kanesaka, formerly at the Raffles Hotel; and Imperial Treasure Fine Shanghai Cuisine at Ngee Ann City.
The Imperial Treasure Group's founder Alfred Leung, 63, also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the consistent quality across his empire of restaurants. As he is travelling, his son Kenny, 37, who oversees the group's operations and projects, accepted the award on his behalf.
•Imperial Treasure Fine Shanghai Cuisine
• Shinji by Kanesaka, formerly at Raffles Hotel (opens April 3 at Carlton Hotel Singapore)
• Chef Kang's
• Crystal Jade Golden Palace
• Golden Peony
• Hashida Sushi Singapore
• Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant
• Jiang-Nan Chun
• Kaiseki Yoshiyuki
• Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant
• Man Man Unagi Restaurant
• National Kitchen by Violet Oon
• Paradise Teochew Restaurant, Scotts Square
• Rang Mahal
• Shinji by Kanesaka, The St Regis Singapore
• Si Chuan Dou Hua
• Spring Court Restaurant
• Summer Pavilion
• Waku Ghin
• Wild Rocket
Besides honouring the Gold recipients, the gala reception held at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore last night also gave out Silver awards to 21 restaurants.
They included Peranakan restaurant Candlenut at Como Dempsey, Japanese restaurant Hashida Sushi at Mandarin Gallery, modern-Singaporean restaurant Wild Rocket in Upper Wilkie Road, and fine-dining Indian restaurant Rang Mahal at Pan Pacific Singapore.
Imperial Treasure's Fine Teochew Cuisine branch at Ion Orchard was part of the Bronze list released on March 15, while Shinji by Kanesaka's sushi-ya at The St Regis Singapore was in the Silver category. Its Gold-winning restaurant at the Raffles Hotel reopens at Carlton Hotel Singapore on April 3.
Celebrating the very best in Asian dining in Singapore were about 200 people from the food and beverage industry.
They were treated to a sumptuous spread prepared by the national culinary team, which won two gold awards at last year's Culinary Olympics in Germany.
The event was organised by Sphere Exhibits, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), and food and beverage consultancy Poulose Associates.
The personality awards for chef Foo and Mr Leung were given out by Sphere Exhibits chairman and SPH's executive vice-president of circulation Chua Wee Phong, while the gold and silver prizes were presented by SPH's deputy chief executive officers Patrick Daniel and Anthony Tan.
The judging panel comprised 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.
They drew up a list of 80 Asian restaurants in Singapore for consideration and members dined incognito at the establishments, using quality of food and service to determine the winners.
Mr Wong, 55, said of Best Asian Restaurants: "The awards credit Asian chefs who are usually overlooked in similar programmes, so it is good to see them all dressed up and excited about it."
The awards, part of the year-long gourmet extravaganza Asian Masters, will be given out annually.
Asian Masters, which is in its fifth edition, features events such as whisky- and champagne-pairing dinners throughout this month.
It continues with monthly dining promotions until February next year.
For more stories on Best Asian Restaurants, go to str.sg/4n39