Which Restaurants In Mainland China Were Dropped And Why
Earlier this month, the Miele Guide released its newest lists of Asia’s top restaurants, which included no notable restaurants in mainland China in the top 20 listings with the exception of Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant, though it dropped eight places this year. Completely dropped from the list this year were the Shanghai restaurants Laris, previously ranked eighth, and M on the Bund, previously ranked fourteenth.
Laris, opened by David Laris in the Three on the Bund building, was a newcomer to the top 20 last year, praised for a sophisticated menu that hailed from the chef’s background in French dining as well as influences from the Asian cities in which he’s worked. With its high price point, Laris targeted business executives, expatriates, and well-heeled tourists. Reviews over the past year marked it as a far step down from the 7th-ranked Gunther restaurant in Singapore, with consistently empty tables. Service, once attentive and pristine, and consistency in the cooking grew lacking without the attention of its namesake chef, David Laris, who has spent the past year pursuing a number of ventures including The Fat Olive, Barbie Cafe, and Downstairs, a restaurant beneath the URBN hotel in Shanghai. While still undeniably one of Shanghai’s top restaurants, the growing Southeast Asian dining scene has proven too strong and knocked Laris from the top 20 rankings.
M on the Bund has been a presence on the list for the past two years, most recently ranked fourteenth. After a decade in business, it has become a top international restaurant guided by the vision of Australian chef and restauranteur Michelle Garnaut. The chef, Hamish Pollit, creates fusion dishes with touches from Australian, French, and mediterranean cuisine. With spectacular views of the bund and an artful decor, M on the Bund is still a destination restaurant, but with few changes over the past years, the restaurant has become somewhat lax and fallen behind the new upstarts cropping up across the city.
Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant barely made the cut this year, and while most of the restaurants served Western or fusion food, this restaurant was included for its namesake Peking Duck. Chef Dong Zhengxiang has been said to have perfected the dish, using ‘super lean’ ducks that retain less fat. The restaurant is consistently named in guidebooks as the best Peking duck restaurant in China, and with the addition of its impeccable service, Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant has stayed on the list.
With unwavering praises, the downgrade from rank twelve to twenty would have to be attributed to not only the changing dining landscape in Asia, but also the changing tastes of Asian diners.The countries evaluated this year were Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The shortlist panel had representation from each of those countries to collectively represent the Asian diner. The Miele Guide, created in 2008 as Asia’s first independent restaurant guide, prides itself in its four rounds of judging; the panel of restaurant critics creates a shortlist of the top restaurants for the public to vote on online, and then a selected jury of food and wine professionals as well as The Miele Guide’s in-house team dine at the top ranked restaurants. The Miele Guide then lists the best restaurants as decided by the public votes and the jury. Each restaurant is judged on the quality of the food served, the ambiance of the restaurant, the level of service and should be chosen to “reflect the tastes of Asian diners.”
Hong Kong and Singapore are the best represented on the list and will stay consistently so, as Hong Kong and Singapore continue to attract the attention of celebrity chefs, but restaurants in Malaysia and India have gained traction quickly. With Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa nabbing famed restaurateurs Joel Roubuchon (whose Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Macau outposts are on Miele’s top 20), Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, and Wolfgang Puck between the two mega-resorts, Singapore’s prominence as a dining destination will only grow if China continues to take its time.
Article by Felice Jiang