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Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2020: Singapore's Odette keeps its top spot

Seven Singapore restaurants earned their place at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, with Odette swiping the coveted top spot for a second year running, and Burnt Ends securing fifth place.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2020: Singapore's Odette keeps its top spot

Odette's chef-owner Julien Royer took top honours at the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2020 awards. (Photo: Asia's 50 Best Restaurants)

The much-anticipated eighth edition of the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list was unveiled today (March 24). In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and travel restrictions across Asia, the winners were revealed online, in place of a glitzy awards ceremony originally slated to be held in Japan's Saga Prefecture. 

At 4pm today (Singapore time), the countdown began through a virtual ceremony streamed live on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants' Facebook page and YouTube channel. 

Addressing the online audience at the start of the ceremony, William Drew, Director of Content of The World's 50 Best Restaurants, said: "Today, the hospitality sector, just as the world as a whole, is experiencing unprecedented challenge due to the COVID-19 virus. We know that many millions of people are suffering all across the world right now. Our first thoughts and best wishes go out to those so adversely affected by this crisis. 

"Today’s announcement is not a celebration. The objective is one of recognition. This time, more than ever, the restaurant sector needs support. Recognising the hard work and talent of teams and individuals remains valid. Showing a sense of community and mutual respect also feels important. We obviously discussed whether we should go ahead announcing this year’s list and awards... The decision to proceed was made after consulting with chefs and restaurateurs and other leading figures in gastronomy across Asia. 

"So today is about supporting Asia. The list and awards aim to offer some small rays of positivity even in these dark days. So let’s keep our community connected, united and prepared for eventual recovery once the situation improves."

In the hour-long livestream, Singapore's Odette took the crown for the second year running, while six other Singapore restaurants earned a coveted spot on the list. They are, in descending order: Burnt Ends (No 5); Les Amis (No 11); Jaan by Kirk Westaway (No 21); Zen (No 28); Corner House (No 42); and Nouri (No 50). 

READ: Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2019: Odette tops the list and 6 other Singaporean restaurants honoured

Asked if he was expecting the win, Odette's Julien Royer told CNA Lifestyle: "To be honest, I haven’t really been thinking about it. It’s been such a challenging time for us in the F&B community, so we’ve been concentrating on that. 

Royer and his team after the win. (Photo: Asia's 50 Best Restaurants)

"Last night, for the first time in the history of Odette, we had the lowest number of covers in the restaurant – 19 diners. So tomorrow we are gathering with the team to discuss what we can do to improve business, especially during the weekdays. [With this win] it is good that we have a bit of optimism in this tough time. It’s also very nice that other chefs have been so supportive of one another. In these hard times, it’s important for us to support one another and we’ll keep going and do what we can to get through this."

Meanwhile, Burnt Ends, located in the heart of Singapore's Chinatown, retained its spot in the top 10 this year, climbing five places to No 5. French fine dining restaurant Les Amis, this year's winner of the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award, moved up to 11th place after being ranked 33rd last year. 

Jaan by Kirk Westaway also fared better than in 2019, moving up 11 notches. Newcomer Zen – Singapore's most expensive restaurant – made its striking debut at No 28, while stalwart Corner House climbed seven places this year. 

However, Nouri tumbled 11 spots from No 39 in 2019, and just made it by a hair's breadth to round off the top 50. And Waku Ghin, last year's No 40, was knocked off the list completely. 

READ: Les Amis is first Singapore restaurant to win Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award

Here is the full list of winners.

1. Odette, Singapore
2. The Chairman, Hong Kong
3. Den, Tokyo
4. Belon, Hong Kong
5. Burnt Ends, Singapore
6. Suhring, Bangkok
7. Florilege, Tokyo
8. Le Du, Bangkok
9. Narisawa, Tokyo
10. La Cime, Osaka
11. Les Amis, Singapore
12. Vea, Hong Kong
13. Indian Accent, New Delhi
14. Mingles, Seoul
15. Gaa, Bangkok
16. Sorn, Bangkok
17. Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, Tokyo
18. Mume, Taipei
19. Neighborhood, Hong Kong
20. Fu He Hui, Shanghai
21. Jaan by Kirk Westaway, Singapore
22. Wing Lei Palace, Macau
23. Sichuan Moon, Macau
24. Nihonryori Ryugin, Tokyo
25. Seventh Son, Hong Kong
26. JL Studio, Taichung
27. Toctoc, Seoul
28. Zen, Singapore
29. Sazenka, Tokyo
30. Ministry of Crab, Colombo
31. Amber, Hong Kong
32. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
33. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
34. Hansikganggan, Seoul
35. Ode, Tokyo
36. Raw, Taipei
37. Locavore, Bali
38. Paste, Bangkok
39. Bo.lan, Bangkok
40. La Maison de la Nature Goh, Fukuoka
41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
42. Corner House, Singapore
43. Shoun RyuGin, Taipei
44. Toyo Eatery, Manila
45. Bukhara, New Delhi
46. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
47. 80/20, Bangkok
48. L'Effervescence, Tokyo
49. Inua, Tokyo
50. Nouri, Singapore

Additional reporting by Aaron De Silva and Annette Tan

Source: CNA/st(ds)