Bangkok’s own Gaggan restaurant claims the No.1 spot yet again at the 2017 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards
When the No.2 spot was announced on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017—sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna—a cheer of triumph erupted from the audience. Not only was the crowd cheering for Singapore’s André restaurant, the runner-up recipient, they were also anticipating the announcement that a certain restaurant, by process of elimination, had obviously clenched the top spot… none other than Bangkok’s own Gaggan!
For Chef Gaggan Anand it was his third consecutive 1st place finish, and as he and his business partners made their way up to the stage—to the strains of the Guns’n’Roses version of Live and Let Die—the joy on his face was plain for all to see.
“I’m humbled,” he said, “and I wish I could break this award into 50 pieces and share it with all the chefs in this room. This is not for me, this is for Asia!” He also acknowledged his dedicated staff, adding: “All of the 67 people in the restaurant are the best team that I’ve ever worked with.”
The awards ceremony was held—for the second year in a row—at the W Bangkok Hotel, and invited guests included a mix of industry VIPs, international media, and some of the region’s most celebrated chefs. This year, the number of Bangkok-based restaurants on the list totalled nine, a notable increase from last year (interestingly China, Japan, and Singapore also secured nine spots on the prestigious list).
Of the Bangkok bunch, David Thompson’s Nahm took the #5 spot (up from #8 last year). Closing in on the top ten, the modern German restaurant Sühring, a new entry this year, took the #13 spot, while Bo.lan claimed the #19 spot (after not appearing on the list last year). Issaya Siamese Club, helmed by superstar Chef Ian Kittichai, came in at #21, while Tim Butler’s Eat Me clocked in at #31. Other newcomers amongst the BKK entries this year included The Dining Room at The House on Sathorn (#36), where Turkish Chef Fatih Tutak’s multi-cuisine creations continue to turn heads, Chef Thitid Tassanakajohn’s modern Thai cuisine resto Le Du (#37), and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Bangkok’s branch of the French chef’s worldwide chain (#40).
Aside from the top 50 spots on the list there were also several individual awards being handed out, including Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017 which was claimed by Chef-restaurateur May Chow of Little Bao (Hong Kong and Bangkok). Meanwhile, the Chefs’ Choice Award was given to Dave Pynt from Burnt Ends (Singapore), the Highest Climber Award was earned by Locavore, Bali’s best sustainably sourced local ingredient restaurant, and celebrated Italian chef Umberto Bombana, of 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Hong Kong), walked away with this year’s Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Each year the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list welcomes a host of new entries and 2017 is no exception,” remarked William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. “In its 5th year, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is proud to showcase the region’s diverse cuisines, introduce gourmets to innovative dining concepts, and celebrate Asia’s emerging talent”.
Immediately following the awards, at the lavish after party, The House on Sathorn’s outdoor courtyard was the scene for plenty of hand-shaking and back-slapping. There was lots to celebrate, and the free-flow festivities continued until almost midnight. Once the witching hour had struck, the after-party moved to Gaggan’s own restaurant where the entire side street the restaurant is located on had been taken over by an army of raucous revellers. It was a no-holds-barred event, with enough food, drink and music to keep everyone going until the wee hours. It will no doubt be remembered by those who attended as the most “off the hook” foodie event of the year.
Amazingly, despite all this success, Gaggan has made no secret about his plans to close his flagship restaurant in 2020. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be fading into obscurity. He will continue to invest in new restaurants, and provide financial backing for new and upcoming talented chefs—he’s one of the backers behind the wildly successful Sühring, and his Bangkok-based Meatlicious restaurant is also doing exceedingly well. In the coming months and years he will put his name and money behind three young Gaggan alumni, each of whom will open a restaurant within a stone’s throw of Gaggan HQ.
About the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list
The list is created by tallying the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, a group of over 300 influential leaders from the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s dining scene. The main sponsors of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants are S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the leading natural still and sparkling mineral waters of the fine dining world.
The Big Winners
The top 10 entries at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards 2017 are as follows:
3.Amber (Hong Kong)
4.8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bomban (Hong Kong)
7.Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo)
8.Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai)
10.Burnt Ends (Singapore)