This is the 1st time I have written about my true feelings about the so-called Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the world. Viewing through the Top 1st to the 50th best placed venues, all the way down to the 100th listing, I really wanted to say that finally I am becoming rather skeptical of the whole game behind it all. It almost seems to be some kind of arbitrary hierarchy game. Obviously, I didn’t get around to visiting El Bulli before it had closed, but I did penned my review about this year’s so-called No.1 3* El Celler de Can Roca, Spain, which ended up swapping positions with the previously crowned 2* NOMA, from Denmark and which I somehow visited recently upon chance. Nothing to be proud of either if you know how long it took me exactly down to the precise minute from 3 months to the day in advance, to secure that table! No.13 2* The Ledbury, UK I have always admired for their accuracy of food cooking and sensibility. former No.1 and now forgotten No.33 3* the Fat Duck, UK was also one of the restaurants which was during a previous years named as the Top No.1 when it dethroned El Bulli during 1 year and I admire them for their theatrical plays with food and fun approach rather than true taste. Looking back upon the past 10 years, I am surprised I have actually been to 3 of the 4 best restaurants in the world as voted by this annual guide with the exception of El Bulli. I never felt a thing about it all and I had honestly had better meals in my life which might or might not have been named in this so-called Top List. I don’t even care anymore.
Dinner by Blumenthal which I haven’t been yet is much more casual by nature, but is now appearing as the no. 7 most desired spot for dinner and over-shot it’s bigger and much more Fine-Dining sister restaurant at The Fat Duck, as people jump on the band wagon and thinking to oust more expensive meals in Haute Cuisine at triple the cost. Attica from Melbourne suddenly slotted itself into No. 21 spot, which I have been a few times and despite possibly better than what is an almost over-hyped QUAY experience that represents Sydney or Australian food, is still to me a NOMA wannabe and I personally believe Vue de Monde is much more worthy of a having a mention and on an international level scale. Even the now defunct Becasse in Sydney or Royal Mail Hotel in Melbourne were possibly better in their food philosophical approach and I haven’t ever been to some of the latter up and coming Australian restaurants. My meal at the 3* Ledoyen in Paris last year was simply brilliant and one of my best ever meals in my life and ever so thoughtful, and yet again it doesn’t get a mention. Some dishes I ate in 2* Sur Mesure by Thierry Marx, Paris, were astonishingly good despite being Japanese inspired. The previously 3* Le Meurice meal I ate in Paris, where Chef Yannick has already left there, also made me some of the best dishes that I do rate as mesmerizing and during this year managed to slot in at No. 99 anyhow to make at least an appearance. Let’s not forget to mention that over at 1* Viajante, they came running in at Spot 59, which I personally thought had cooked certain dishes that were more thoughtful than NOMA in it’s recipe. And over at No. 71 listed 1* St Jonn, I think it’s more about their food approach than actual taste of the food.
The Fat Duck, Bray, UK -
Liked it. Theatrical rather than for the taste experience. But in hindsight it was fun enough. Once voted as the Top Restaurant in the world. Now rapidly dropping down the order for no reason.
NOMA, Denmark -
Overall good and I liked their approach. But probably too random and my menu planning was too seafood eccentric. Wish I could revisit here without that 3 months wait as is required to be booked by the precise minute or 2.
St John -
I can find better entrails and Nose-to-Tail meals in the world. I guess being one of the pioneers, they can still be proud of their achievements for pushing forward this movement ? But the Romans or even the Scots have been devouring all parts of the whole beast during peasantry times I believe..
1* Moo Restaurant, Barcelona, Spain -
Sister restaurant to the now so-called No.1 Restaurant, 3* El Celler de Can Roca. This smoked Pigeon dish with Hazelnut with Pigeon foie gras is forever engraved into my memory. Equally impressive were their desserts.
3* Ledoyen, Paris -
Ever so thoughtful and inspiring. One of the best meals I have had in my life but not even rated in the Top 100 list.
Les 110’s, Paris -
Le Foie et Rognon de Veau, Sauce Porto, Puree et Moutarde en L’ancienne - Euro 24
Veal liver and kidney are cooked in it’s own jus and port wine sauce. Served with a potato mashed with l’ancienne mustard. The foie was a little dense but for a veal foie gras this was expectedly to be cooked more closer to well-done! The Veal Kidney and the sauce was very well cooked and the sauce was compacted and reduced in flavours but not overly salty, enhanced by a bit of thyme influence. Lovely. No one will care about here either though.
Venison Scotch Egg at 1* The Harwood Arms, London -
Related to The Ledbury and led by the same team behind. Sometimes I just don’t care about Fine-Dining anymore. Been there and done that. I would rather eat a meal at Harwood Arms than at NOMA or even El Celler de Can Roca that today got crowned No.1 restaurant in the world and was great but I don’t think is what I am after anymore.
3* Lung King Heen – in Hong Kong
Yes it was decent good. I liked the food after a few tries too. But guess what, I had really had better chickens and food. As the best Chinese representative of Hong Kong food, I would like to take this opportunity to say that the Top 50-100 Restaurants list is most probably compiled by someone who can’t read and write in anything other than English.
2* Ming Court’s Chicken with Fried Lotus Slices-
Ming Court and The Chairman in Hong Kong, are both regarded as one of the best Restaurants in Hong Kong. So is Luk Yu Tea House during Dinner time for their best Sweet and Sour Pork in town and many other traditional dishes. I have no idea what or who the Top 50 Pellegrino’s Guide or Top 50 Asian Restaurant Guide are trying to represent. Certainly not the voice of the locals here.. And there is also no mention of The 8 in Macau, considered one of the finest Cantonese restaurants in this region without resistance. As for Western style food, I am almost certain that most HK foodies will not disagree that Mandarin Grill at Mandarin Oriental is one of the most engaging dinners to be had in town. And for that matter, Robuchon au Dome in Macau too. As for best Italian, is there really such a gap between 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo and Gold by Harlans? I have so far never met a foodie in town who doesn’t think Otto e Mezzo is at best of 1 Star quality on the international scale especially when compared with Italy. Somehow I think people are chasing after the Stars and Top 100 Ratings, but what is the point when it isn’t the voice of the local foodies and a bit exaggerated?