asias 50 best

Latin Americas 50 Best

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The Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Mexico, Enrique de la Madrid and his wife flanked by the top two chefs Mitsuharu, Virgilio Martinez and Latin America’s 50 Best Charles Reed (to the right) Helen Pietrini, Tim Brooke Webb and William Drew (to the left).

Here’s to the power of Food and restaurants. Did you think Food is only about nourishment, taste, excitement, great cooking, expression of love? It’s much more. It’s a global force. I write from the most prestigious Oscar of food awards being held in Mexico. Not only did the  Minister of Tourism Enrique De la Madrid, grace the awards but even the President of Mexico tweeted and congratulated the chefs.  

Building this all-powerful global platform to promote gastronomy is  Charles Reed and his dream team of the Worlds 50 best restaurant academy (also Asia’s 50 best, Latin America’s 50 best). I am all admiration for this dynamo dream team from London  who even  in as far away as Latin America not only encourage and award the finest 50 best restaurants, give diners an accurate compass to find the best but also ensure positive benefits to flow to local communities from greater awareness and international visitors and even promote tourism. May this uniting global power of food and restaurants grow and magnify!

Note: Latin America’s top two  restaurants, Central (Virgilio and Pia Martinez) and Maido (Mitsuharu)  are both in Lima and I had the most amazing meals there…including 15 course, pure vegetarian ones.

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

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Stop press: Here, in Amazing Thailand, Indians shine at the Food Oscars. This is known as a delicious coincidence: A few days ago, Hollywood Oscars and Asias food Oscars were celebrated almost simultaneously. Here in Bangkok, superstar chefs have flown in from all parts of the world to attend the prestigious Asias 50 best restaurant awards. While champagne sparkled the evening, the most delightfully innovative food did the rounds. The air was thick with excitement and suspense.


Every square inch of the Awards ceremony hall at the W, Bangkok bristled with star-power. The Minister of Tourism, deputy Prime Minister, Celebrated chefs, restaurateurs and industry VIPs were in attendance.Asias 50 best restaurants in it’s fourth edition this year continues to grow in influence and magnetizes the best. This year, with 13 nations represented, the 2016 list includes restaurants from more countries than ever before, showcasing a rich variety of dining experiences across Asia.

Amid huge applause and hugs, the pony tailed genius Gaggan walked  up to receive his award. He retains the dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna and The Best Restaurant in Thailand, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Ive had many a fabulous meal at his  eponymous Bangkok restaurant. Here Chef Gaggan Anand draws inspiration from the street food of his home town of Kolkata, reinterpreting traditional Indian cuisine with modernist cooking techniques. His approach is inventive, adventurous and highly individual, yet respectful of India’s culinary legacy.


Chef Manish Mehrotra and Rohit Khattar’s Indian Accent (New Delhi)   was awarded the best restaurant in India (2nd year consecutively). Indian Accent rises 13 places to No.9 this year. Chef Mehrotra’s masterly evolution of Indian cuisine works magic in the delhi restaurant and has just opened in New York. Here once again I had the most delightfully delicious interpretation of Indian food which retains it’s authentic flavors.


The iconic Bukhara  with it’s timeless appeal and menu that has stood the test of time for three decades was awarded among Asia’s 50 best. Helmed by the dynamic Manjit Singh Gill and JP Singh, over the years Bukhara has played host to global heads of state, royalty, filmstars and more. And in an international scenario where innovation is leading the way, it is a credit to our heritage that Bukhara is on this global list.


What sets this fine dine Japanese restaurant apart from the others is the amazingly creative and fabulous vegetarian menu. Of course the exquisite sushi and sashimi and black cod and other non vegetarian dishes are as impeccable as ever. Several Japanese chefs wield their magic along with Executive chef Amit Chowdhary. Competing with the Japanese restaurants of Japan and still holding it’s own is a matter of pride for us.


Blazing the way, rewarding the restaurant industry and being THE foodies guide, Asia’s 50 best has come a long way. It is helmed by the dynamic and dapper Charles Reed (whose London based “The worlds 50 best” was  set up 14 years ago). Devilishly handsome and efficient managing director Tim Brooke Webb,  is joined now by the lovely and brilliant Helene Pietrini. William Drew, the ever-helpful and equally brilliant Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants along with the creative and hard working Laura price, Maria Olite and the entire dream team cooked up a fabulous Asian Oscars.

P.S. Asias 50 best is held in such high global esteem that the worlds best (crowned at The worlds 50 best in London for 2015) Joan Roca of El Cellar can Roca also flew in from Spain, for the awards. He along with Ashley Palmer Watts from London’s Dinner and Peter Gilmore from Australia are exploring Thailand as part of #Asias50bestexplores. But that’s another  amazing story.




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Asia 50 best 1Ofcourse! Its true that a picture is worth a thousand words…but this accompanying photo I’ve shot is worth many more. Please take a look at it:  in it are superstarchefs whose restaurants have been crowned The Worlds best (Joan Roca) Asia’s best (David Thompson) and also our very own India’s best (Manjit Singh Gill, Hemant Oberoi, Manish Mehrotra), not to forget our   Indian in Bangkok (Gaggan Anand) and from Srilanka (Dharshan Munidasa). It sure is time to celebrate.     For many reasons…firstly, am thrilled that so many of our Indian restaurants are being awarded on this international stage. Happy, that Asia’s gastronomy is being given the due prominence it deserves and focusing the spotlight on is the whole team of “Asia’s 50 best” ( Charles Reed and William Drew, editor of  “The Restaurant Magazine” are in the photo too)


Prestigious, glittering, coveted are some of the words that describe the awesome “Asia’s 50 best” award ceremony. Not only have the whos who of the restaurant world jetted in from all parts of the world, but are here with bated breaths. There is anticipation and excitement and the air is so thick with it that I could have cut it with a knife and plopped it into my champagne glass. William Drew the editor in chief of The Restaurant Magazine flags off the ceremony and whoa! The applause never stops.  Here’s a quick look at our winners.



Having stood the test of time, ITC Maurya  (Delhi’s)  North-West Frontier restaurant with its short menu (the same since it opened 35 years ago) continues to draw packed houses. I have eaten here several times (including shot as a judge on Times Now’s  TV show) and this cavernous and rustically decorated restaurant is arguably India’s most famous. Dal Bukhara and Sikandari raan have assumed iconic status.


I am so delighted that Bangalore’s Karavalli has made it to Asia’s 50 Best list. I just shot for the Times Now TV show as a judge here and was absolutely thrilled by the consistency, freshness and authenticity in Chef Naren Thimmiaih’s vast repertoire. Old classics are as fabulous as the new additions. Robustly spiced crabs, delicately  steamed fish, velvety curries…I ate them all in the charming alfresco courtyard.


Indian Accent

I reviewed Delhi’s playful and eclectic Indian Accent within a few days of it’s opening. And am happy that Chef Manish Mehrotra continues to dazzle with his cookery with a global hue

Chicken tikka quesadillas with Swiss gruyère; tandoori bacon prawns with wasabi cream; masala miso Scottish salmon.

I love the karela enlivened with churan.


Dum Pukht

Fine dining taken to it’s finest here. I have filmed my TV show in the ITC’s  traditional temple to  “dum” cooking done lovingly and slowly

in a sealed clay pot. Done  over a low fire intensifies  natural flavors, while the judicious use of aromatic herbs and spices adds another level of complexity to the dishes. The regal ambiance adds yet another dimension of pleasure.


Luxurious modern Indian food with a global twist a la  Grand corporate  chef Hemant Oberoi

where upscale fine dining gets finer.
The cuisine offers a modern take on local street food and traditional regional dishes using some very un-Indian ingredients such as scallops, black cod, morels, foie gras and halibut.  New techniques, innovative presentations and the use of organic produce and spices.


What! How come a Japanese restaurant located in Mumbai gets an international award?

A collaboration between Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and Taj Hotel legend Hemant Oberoi yields specially created Japanese vegetarian dishes which are masterpieces in taste and texture. Tomato Carpaccio topped with wasabi and yuzu sorbet and the black cod miso are my favorites here.

Nihon Bashi

Ive had the most amazing authentic Japanese cuisine in the heart of Colombo at Japanese-Srilankan Dharshan Munidasa’s restaurant.


Kolkatta born Gaggan reinvents Indian food with modernist techniques in Bangkok with plenty of molecular wizardry too.


Not only do “Asias 50 best” and “Worlds 50 best” awards encourage restaurants and promote tourism but also serve as guideposts for us foodies, directing us to the best places to eat in. And then ofcourse, when our very own Indian restaurants get honored, it is time to say “Jai ho”