SINGAPORE - Once again, Singapore has restaurants with three Michelin stars. And not one but two.
Odette and Les Amis were both given the maximum three stars in the fourth edition of the Michelin Guide Singapore unveiled on Tuesday (Sept 17) at a ceremony in Capella Singapore hotel.
Both fine-dining French restaurants had received two stars in the last three years since the guide was launched in 2016.
Singapore had three-star Restaurant Joel Robuchon in 2016 and 2017, but it closed down in June 2018, leaving a vacuum until now.
Odette's chef-owner Julien Royer, 37, said the top award was only the beginning and not the end for what he and his team were trying to achieve for the restaurant. "We try to get better every day."
He added: "It's due time for Singapore restaurants to get three stars as we are a nation of foodies. We have a strong responsibility to be at the top of our game. It is like winning the gold medal at the Olympics."
The restaurant at the National Gallery Singapore is co-owned by the Lo And Behold group of restaurants.
Chef Sebastien Lepinoy, 45, of Les Amis in Shaw Centre was elated: "I've been waiting for this for 29 years. I started when I was 16 until now."
"Three stars is the biggest accolade a chef can get. It's a real barometer. If you get it in Singapore, it's like getting it in Paris, London or Tokyo."
Asked what is next, he said: "I will go and catch the fourth star. I will tell my team that the easier day was yesterday. We need to do more."
Five restaurants received two stars this year, the same number as last year. Making its debut in the Singapore guide was Zen, which was opened in November 2018 by Swedish chef Bjorn Frantzen and restaurant group Unlisted Collection.
Saint Pierre, which received one star in the last two years, moved up a notch this year when it was awarded two stars.
The remaining three retained their two stars: Shisen Hanten, Shoukouwa and Waku Ghin restaurants.
There were 37 eateries that received one star, three more than last year.
Among them were two hawker stalls who were also awarded one star last year: Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Hawker Chan, which was previously known as Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle.
There were nine newcomers with one star, including Terra Tokyo Italian, which was awarded a star in 2016 but lost it in 2017.
Said the restaurant's Chef Seita Nakahara, 39: "It's a different feeling from the first time. We had just opened and were not expecting anything. It was a beautiful moment.
"But as you know, we lost the star the following year. Our team has been trying to win back the star. This year, we got it back. I always thought you could not get it back."
In all, 44 eateries took stars home, five more than last year.
Dropping out of the guide this year was Crystal Jade Golden Palace. Another was Bacchanalia, which was replaced by Vianney Massot Restaurant in April. The new restaurant was awarded one star this year.
A third restaurant Whitegrass closed down in December 2018.
Restaurants with one star
Alma by Juan Amador
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine
Putien (Kitchener Road)
Shinji by Kanesaka (Bras Basah Road)
Shinji by Kanesaka (Tanglin Road)
The Song of India