SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Singapore restaurants grabbed top spots in a new guidebook to the best Asian eateries that favours the region's twists on modern European cuisine rather than street stall favorites.
The Miele Guide, which describes itself as Asia's first independent restaurant guide, gave top billing to Iggy's in Singapore for emphasis on innovative food and a style that allows diners to view the kitchen and be "suitably splashy" or discreet.
"We try to keep it simple -- we focus on getting the timing, taste and temperature just right -- and getting the freshest ingredients," Iggy's founder Ignatius Chan told Reuters.
The guide, launched this month after a banquet that included serving Iggy's smoked veal cheek with truffle mashed potatoes, included two other Singaporean restaurants in the top five: Les Amis at number three and Gunther's at four.
Hong Kong's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon came in at number two, with the French chef getting two other restaurants in the top 20, while Mozaic in Bali, Indonesia, made number five.
Hong Kong restaurants did well with eight in a top 20 that also featured the sushi of Tokyo's Kyubey and the kebabs of New Delhi's Bukhara. But mostly the top spots favoured modern European or Chinese cuisine.
In a city-state known for blending Chinese, Malay and Indian food, local Singaporean favorites such as chilli crab, chicken rice and fish head curry are unlikely to be found on the menus of Les Amis or Gunther's, known for its caviar angel hair pasta.
Iggy's Chan said diners are more fluent in international food than they used to be and are looking for lighter meals.
Miele, a German home appliance company, said it launched the annual guide to help the Asian restaurant industry grow. The list of 320 restaurants was picked by 84 of the region's food writers, polling amongst the public and from a jury of 1,500 food experts.
Its six-course launch for 350 people, which featured Mozaic's beef with pickled peaches and toasted spices and finished with a raspberry vodka cocktail topped with caramelized meringue, belied a financial crisis that is leading to job cuts for many of the jet setting regional bankers and foodies the guide is aimed at.
"People have got to get real -- you've got to offer more at lower prices," said Chan, a sommelier who offers set menus at Iggy's such as a three-course lunch for S$55 ($37.50) and a six-course tasting lunch for S$115. (www.iggys.com.sg)