There will be no three-Michelin-starred restaurant for Singapore this year, but five new restaurants earned one star in the Michelin Guide Singapore 2018.
Eateries received their gongs at Resorts World Sentosa on Wednesday evening (July 25) at a gala dinner.
(RELATED: Check out the full 2018 list with photos here.)
The newly-minted restaurants with one Michelin star are: modern Australian barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends in Teck Lim Road; Jiang-Nan Chun, which serves Cantonese and southern-Chinese food at the Four Seasons Hotel; wine-centric French restaurant Ma Cuisine in Craig Road; Nouri in Amoy Street, which serves what it calls crossroads cooking; and Sushi Kimura at Palais Renaissance.
Jiang-Nan Chun’s Chinese executive chef Lam Hon Tim, 41, said in Mandarin, “I’m very happy to receive the award. I will continue to work hard, and cook even better dishes for my customers. I do feel some pressure, but I am also motivated.”
Mathieu Escoffier, 31, co-owner and chef of Ma Cuisine, said: “It’s amazing because I think we are the first gastro wine bar in Asia to have this accolade of one Michelin star. It just means we are doing our job like we feel, and that is fantastic. We are going to continue what we built seven months ago, get better and better, and please our guests.”
Ms Katrina Wheeldon Pynt, wife of Burnt Ends owner-chef Dave Pynt who could not attend the ceremony due to a prior commitment, said: “We didn’t think we fit into the Michelin star category of restaurants as Burnt Ends is a barbecue restaurant serving modern Australian barbecue. Everyone wants a little star, so it is quite nice to have one, but we will still continue to function if we didn’t have one.”
Twenty-nine restaurants, including Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, retained their one Michelin star in the third local edition of the guide.
Osia at Resorts World Sentosa lost its one star and in the wake of the closure of Joel Robuchon Restaurant in June, Singapore has also lost its only three-Michelin-starred restaurant.
A total of 39 restaurants earned 44 stars this year.
More than 400 guests attended the event, including restaurateurs, chefs, and members of the public who paid $595++ per person to attend the ceremony and gala dinner.
The gala dinner had the theme of “The Past Through Tomorrow”, to honour Singapore’s culinary stars who helped shape local food culture and to celebrate the chefs of today. The six-course wine-pairing dinner was prepared by chefs from Michelin-starred establishments who put their spin on iconic Singapore dishes.
The line-up included chef Sun Kim of one-Michelin-starred Meta in Keong Saik Road; chef Emmanuel Stroobant of one-Michelin-starred Saint Pierre at One Fullerton; and chef Rishi Naleendra of one-Michelin-starred Cheek By Jowl in Boon Tat Street.
Chef Alvin Leung of three-Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong; chef Lam Ming Kin of one-Michelin-starred Longtail in Taipei; and chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier of two-Michelin-starred Le Normandie Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, also lent their skills to the evening.
The dinner opened with chef Stroobant’s Seabundance of new harvest oscietra caviar and white grapes. The second course was chef Sun’s Chilli Crab Bibimbap made from Alaskan king crab, a homemade sambal and seaweed rice, followed by chef Lam’s Chutoro-jak of fatty tuna, watermelon, peanut, calamansi and shiso.
For the fourth course, guests were presented with Black Garlic Chicken Riz of poached French organic chicken with a rice emulsion and black garlic by chef Dunand-Sauthier. The fifth course was chef Leung’s Ikan Buah Keluak, a dish of marble goby, buak keluak, durian coconut, foie gras, straw mushroom and sweet potato vine. Chef Naleendra presented Chendol Parfait, a concoction of red bean parfait, coconut sorbet and coffee-infused ginger ale snow, for dessert.
This year’s Michelin Guide Singapore also paid tribute to eight culinary heroes who were featured in a video presentation.
Mr Roland Lim and Mr Justin Lim, from Roland Restaurant, Mr James Loy and Ms Jane Tan, from Loy Kee Chicken Rice, Mr Hooi Kok Wai and Mr Chris Hooi, from Dragon Phoenix Restaurant, and Ms Jenny Yap and Mr Raymond Ou Yong from Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant were recognised for their contributions to Singapore’s dining scene.
The Michelin Guide Singapore is put out by French tyre company Michelin. Michelin inspectors, who dine independently and anonymously, and pay for their meals, assess the restaurants. The judging criteria includes food quality, cooking techniques and value for money.
There will also be an invite-only trade seminar on July 27 for members of the food and beverage industry. Chief inspector of the Michelin Guide Michael Ellis, along with a panel of industry experts, will share insights on the five criteria judged by Michelin inspectors. These include the chef’s personality as expressed through his cuisine, mastery of flavours and cooking techniques, and consistency between visits.
This article first appeared in The Straits Times.