In Singapore today The Test Kitchen moved from 50th position last year to number 44 on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, and was recognised as the Best in Africa. Mirazur in Menton was named the World’s 50 Best top restaurant, not without controversy surrounding a significant change in the rules regarding the top spot this year. The 18th ‘truly global’ ceremony of the Awards was women-dominated, to make up for their past under-representation.
Host city Singapore was praised, with videos of the city, and of its food and beverage culture. The community of chefs was emphasised, through the vehicle of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, breaking down borders between countries and continents. Today was named Tony Bourdain Day, in honour of his passing last year. Annabel Crab from Australia was the new and first female presenter of the Awards. Two Awards changes were announced:
# the panel of about 1000 voters for the Awards was ‘gender-balanced’, whatever that may mean, undefined!
# no former number one restaurant was acknowledged in the Top 50 list, instead moved to a Hall of Fame Best of the Best: Eleven Madison Park, Osteria Francescana, The Fat Duck, Osteria Francescana, El Bulli, Noma (the former location), and El Celler de Can Roca.
TIME magazine reported, using a controversial headline ‘Why the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 List is more controversial than ever’, that in January 2019 the organisers of the World’s 50 Best announced that ‘any restaurant that takes or has previously taken the top spot on the list is disqualified from subsequent editions and moved instead to a Hall of Fame-like collection called the Best of the Best.’ So, for example, Osteria Francescana, Eleven Madison Park, El Celler de Can Roca, cannot be named the number one restaurant in 2019: or ever after, given that they have been in the number one spot already. This rule change was the result of a lobby group of top chefs of the best of the best restaurants on the prestigious list, wanting to open up the number one spot to other restaurants, especially those owned by the ‘younger generation’. But the TIME article refers to an anonymous source stating that not only does the new rule unclog the top spots but it also avoids ‘the decline in reputation that some notable chefs have suffered once they fell from the first place’. These chefs took the ranking personally, and started to not attend the prestigious event, which is now held in a different city every year, a move which is seen to be bad for the community spirit amongst the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The rule could possibly dismiss the Award reputation, if the top restaurant can no longer win the number one spot just because it has done so in a previous year/s, argues the magazine. Top chefs like Rene Redzepi of Noma and Ana Ros of Hisa Franko’s in Slovenia are speaking out against this rule change, and the former will not even attend the award ceremony this year.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurant List follows below, with the Best of Awards, for 2019, thanks to Eater:
The 2019 World’s 50 Best Restaurants List
1. Mirazur (Menton, France) – Chef Mauro Colagreco said it’s been a great year, with this achievement and a third Michelin star.
Chef: Mauro Colagreco
Last year’s rank: 3
Average cost: €110-€210
2. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Chef: Rene Redzepi
Last year’s rank: N/A
Average cost: 2,500 DKK
3. Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Spain)
Chef: Victor Arguinzoniz
Last year’s rank: 10
Average cost: €176 tasting
4. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Chef: Gaggan Anand
Last year’s rank: 5
Average cost: THB 6,500
5. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark) – a big jump, from 19 last year
6. Central (Lima, Peru)
7. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
8. L’Arpège (Paris, France) – big climb
9. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)
10. Maido (Lima, Peru)
11. Den (Tokyo, Japan)
12. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
13. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)
14. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
15. Septime (Paris, France) – a big climb, from 40 last year
16. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)
17. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
18. Odette (Singapore)
19. Twins Garden (Moscow, Russia)
20. Tickets (Barcelona, Spain)
21. Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden)
22. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
23. Cosme (New York City, USA)
24. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)
25. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
26. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
27. The Clove Club (London, United Kingdom) – a big climb
28. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, USA)
29. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
30. Elkano (Getaria, Spain)
31. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
32. Nerua (Bilbao, Spain)
33. Lyle’s (London, United Kingdom)
34. Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
35. Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, USA) – the audience sent best wishes to her for her recovery from breast cancer, Dominique Crenn not attending.
36. Le Bernardin (New York City, USA) – a big drop from 26th last year
37. Alinea (Chicago, USA) – a big drop
38. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)
39. A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil)
40. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
41. The Chairman (Hong Kong)
42. Belcanto (Lisbon, Portugal)
43. Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)
44. Test Kitchen (Cape Town, South Africa) – Best in Africa – increased by six places
45. Sühring (Bangkok, Thailand)
46. De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands)
47. Benu (San Francisco, USA)
48. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)
49. Leo (Bogotá, Colombia)
50. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)
As a past guest of Restaurant Mirazur, I received the following email this afternoon:
Best Pastry Chef: Jessica Préalpato (Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris)
Best Female Chef: Daniela Soto-Innes (Cosme, New York City)
Icon Award: José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup, Washington D.C.)
One to Watch: Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera, Italy)
BBVA Scholarship Winner: Andersen Lee
Sustainable Restaurant Award: Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)
Chefs’ Choice Award: Alain Passard
Highest Climber: Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
Art of Hospitality Award: Den (Tokyo, Japan)
Top previous World’s 50 Best Restaurants dropping from the list this year include DOM, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, The Ledbury, Astrid y Gastón, and Estela.
As a special focus on Cape Town Fine Dining Lovers, which carried the live-stream of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants event today, featured an article whereby Chef Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat introduces his favourite Cape Town restaurants, fabulous publicity for our city. Chef Kobus attended the event as a second South African representative:
Cape Town on South Africa’s west coast, flanked by Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, is known for its excellent fresh produce, fish and wines. An emerging food scene has appeared out of the rubble of years of political isolation and 27-years after the fall of apartheid, the city is coming to terms with its complicated and rich culinary heritage.
What makes up the South African plate, and particularly the Cape Town kitchen? Food and the politics of food and identity colour this conversation. Could one say that the gatsby, a hearty foot-long bread roll traditionally filled with fries and inexpensive ingredients like polony and atchar, is the quintessential Cape Town dish? What about the nation’s favourite, braai (barbeque) and the myriad Xhosa meals that aren’t often featured on local restaurant menus? Indigenous, Black, Cape Malay, Afrikaner and English colonial influences have mingled to some degree but you’d be hard-pressed to find too many restaurants taking on a truly South African profile. Changes are afoot though.
Chef Kobus van der Merwe, whose 7-table Wolfgat in Paternoster, a fishing village two hours out of the city, received critical acclaim from the likes of The World Restaurant Awards where it was named “Restaurant of the Year” earlier this year, for his honed-in approach known as “strandveld” cookery – food from the beach and its immediate surrounding areas. “We cook very intuitively, with the unique West Coast landscape, the seasons and the weather as our inspiration,” Van der Merwe says. “Our aim is to capture this unique location’s special sense of place and to share it with our guests. The dishes are simple, often compromised of only three or four ingredients, showcasing indigenous herbs, seaweeds and succulents.”
Van der Merwe enjoys the region for its unique natural beauty and the people who live there, he says. “I like the fact that it feels quite remote, yet you’re a two-hour drive from the city. The pace of living is also much slower here, which is great.”
Below, you can enjoy a selection of the best places in Cape Town and surroundings for food travellers, recommended by chef Kobus van der Merwe.
“Although Cape Town City Centre isn’t nearly as inclusive as it should be, when I explore the CBD on foot I’m always pleasantly surprised at the vibrant side-streets with small cafés offering a variety of different cultural tastes and pan-African treats, from Cape Malay to Ethiopian and beyond,” Van der Merwe says. Try Addis in Cape for Ethiopian food and Andalousse for delicious Moroccan cuisine.
Addis in Cape
41 Church Street, CBD
148 Victoria Road, Woodstock
Cape Town comprises various cultural groups and one of the most celebrated cuisines locally, is made by the Cape Malay community. There are several dishes not to miss such as the samosas, rotis (thick, layered flat bread more similar to a paratha), boeber (sweet milky sago and vermicelli), bobotie (spiced ground meat with a savoury custard on top), pickled fish, denningvleis (slow-cooked lamb with tamarind and other spices), and koe’sisters (spiced donuts coated in desiccated coconut). “Your best bet would probably be to stumble upon a bazaar or fête where these are prepared by home cooks. Bo-Kaap restaurants such as Biesmiellah and Bo-Kaap Kombuis also offer many of these traditional meals.”
2 Wale St & Pentz St Bo-Kaap, Schotsche Kloof
7 August St, Schotsche Kloof
Van der Merwe suggests a visit to the bountiful weekend markets such as theOZFM Market at Granger Bay for the flowers and produce and the city’s beloved Atlas Trading (104 Wale St, Schotsche Kloof, ) for spices and botterpitjies (pips from the Nara melon).
SEASIDE & CBD
For breakfast and pastries, chef Van Der Merwe suggests Bob’s Bagel Café in Kalk Bay, a seaside village 30 minutes outside Cape Town.
Bob’s Bagel Café
6 Rouxville Rd, Kalk Bay
“On the formal fine dining restaurant scene, I love what Arno Janse and Liezel Odendaal are doing at Janse & Co in Kloof Street, using locally-sourced ingredients,” he says.
Janse & Co
75 Kloof Street, Gardens
FYN is another fine dining establishment he recommends: “Here you can find a very unique cuisine made with South African ingredients and Japanese techniques. A must-try!”.
5th Floor, Speakers Corner, 37 Parliament St, CBD
If you want to treat yourself to tasting contemporary versions of the classics in a cosy club-like atmosphere, the perfect venue for you according to chef Van Der Merwe is The Shortmarket Club.
The Shortmarket Club
88 Shortmarket St, CBD
For a romantic meal, Van der Merwe suggests sharing the generous feast at Chef’s Warehouse in Bree Street. The seating is pretty simple and you won’t want to linger for an after-dinner drink, but the food by Liam Tomlin is excellent. They don’t take reservations, so try to get here before the busiest hours at lunch or dinner.
Chef’s Warehouse and Canteen
92 Bree street, Cape Town, 8000
For family gatherings, he recommends a long table at Olympia Café sharing bowls of mussels with fresh bread. “Seafood is after all, very typically Cape Town” he says.
134 Main Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
As a footnote, the World’s 50 Best Restaurant organisers made another significant change this year, by expanding the listing of the restaurants bubbling under the World’s 50 Best list, previously listed from numbers 51 to 100, expanding it to 51 to 120 in honour of sponsor S.Pellgerino’s 120th anniversary yesterday. In this way, La Colombe made the list, at number 117, after having fallen off the 51 – 100 restaurant list last year.
This is the media statement I received from S.Pellegrino media agency Paddington Station PR :
‘In Celebration of Its 120th Anniversary, S.Pellegrino Presents ‘Food Meets Future’
An interactive exploration of the key aspects for the future of gastronomy, run by some of the most influential top chefs on the international gastronomic scene
Cape Town, South Africa, June 2019 – In 2019 S.Pellegrino, the world’s leading sparkling mineral water, marks its 120th Anniversary and flies to Singapore for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna to celebrate this important milestone with a special event aimed at reflecting upon the future of gastronomy with the top chefs’ community and key opinion leaders.
On the morning of Monday 24th June, at the National Gallery, S.Pellegrino presents ‘FOOD MEETS FUTURE’: an interactive exploration of the key aspects of gastronomy in the future, run by some of the most influential top chefs on the international gastronomic scene. Multiple winner of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena (Italy), star-studded, humanitarian chef José Andres and incredibly talented and creative pastry chef, Janice Wong, are among the personalities that will share their reflections, exploring four key pillars of focus for discussion to secure the future of gastronomy: inclusion, inspiration, responsibility and talent.
Attending from South Africa will be Kobus van der Merwe from Wolfgat restaurant in Paternoster who won the S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna Eat Out Chef of the Year 2018.
“2019 marks our 120th Anniversary and we are celebrating this important milestone at World’s 50 Best Restaurants by hosting this discussion on the future of gastronomy, with and for the leaders of the international gastronomic community,” says Stefano Marini, International Business Unit Director of Sanpellegrino.
“At S.Pellegrino we strongly believe that in order to preserve the future of gastronomy, together we must focus on nurturing these four pillars: inclusion, inspiration, responsibility and talent. Therefore our objective is to start a conversation that will inspire the international gastronomic community for years to come.”
In honour of S.Pellegrino’s 120th anniversary, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna has broadened its scope to recognize the best 120 restaurants across the world, adding an additional 20 establishments to its usual top 100 ranking, shining a spotlight on more brilliant chefs and hospitality teams across the globe. The special extended list of restaurants ranked from 51st to 120th was released on 18th June and featured South Africa’s very own La Colombe.’
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Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein