Bangkok restaurant Gaggan took top spot overnight in the 2016 list of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. It's the second consecutive year the modern-Indian-street food-inspired restaurant has claimed the number one title, again pipping Tokyo's Narisawa, which placed second.
Perth-born David Pynt was Australia's best-on-ground, rocketing up the ranking 16 places to number 14 with his Singapore barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends. It feels "pretty good", said a laconic Pynt immediately after the ceremony. "It basically shows that people enjoy what we do; that we're on the right track and people are happy. That's all we can ask for."
Sydney's Tetsuya Wakuda was the highest-ranking Australian culinary presence with his Singapore restaurant Waku Ghin up three places to six on the list. And, while Bangkok-based former Sydneysider David Thompson's Nahm dropped one place to eight, he enjoyed a rowdy standing ovation as he took to the stage to receive The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award. "It's the pensioner's award," he had joked in the lead-up to the presentation, having already been told he was receiving the award. "And I'm hoping, I'm praying it will give me a bus ticket in every city in the world."
Meanwhile, Thompson is very happy with the performance of his new Perth restaurant, Long Chim, and says a Sydney CBD version is close. "We've found a spot and we're probably opening in the third quarter of this year."
The only other Australian to feature, Darren Hausler, had success with his Bangkok restaurant Eat Me climbing two places to number 23.
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants is one of two regional offshoots of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, run by the William Reed Media Group. This year it was vetted by auditing firm Deloitte, resulting in a draw for the first time in the regional competition. Japan's La Maison De La Nature Goh and Singapore's Tippling Club (ex-Vue de Monde head chef, Ryan Clift) were both ranked 31.
The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards 2016 will take place on June 1, moving from it's usual home in London to New York city. Melbourne's Attica restaurant was last year's best-placed at 32nd.
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2016: the top 10
1. Gaggan, Bangkok (no change)
2. Narisawa, Tokyo (no change)
3. Restaurant Andre, Singapore (up 2)
4. Amber, Hong Kong (up 2)
5. Nihonryori Ryugin, Tokyo (down 1)
6. Waku Ghin, Singapore (up 3)
7. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai (down 4)
8. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand (down 1)
9. Indian Accent, at The Manor, New Delhi (up 13)
10. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong (up 10)
See the full list at the worlds50best.com/asia
Correction: The original version of this story stated that the draw for the 31st position was the first in the competition's 14-year history. There has been a draw previously in the broader event. This has been amended in the text above.
Peter Barrett attended the event as a guest of Asia's 50 Best.