Michelin Guide Singapore 2019: Which Restaurants Earned Or Kept Their Stars?
While we had to wait for the results a little bit longer this year, The Michelin Guide Singapore has finally unveiled the establishments that have earned a place in the coveted guide, in a star-studded gala dinner and awarding ceremony held this evening (September 17) at the Capella Singapore.
A total of 44 restaurants have made it into the 2019 guide, which is 5 more than last year. It’s not surprising given the number of stellar names that have opened up on the island after the closure of two-starred L’Atelier de Joel Restaurant and three-starred Joel Robuchon Restaurant) last year.
More importantly, two feted homegrown establishments are honoured with the highly coveted three stars.
Of the 37 restaurants with one Michelin star, seven are new and two were promoted (they were previously plate holders).
Five restaurants also earned their two-star rating, two of which are new entries, stalwart Saint Pierre and 10-month-old Restaurant Zén. The latter is the offshoot of acclaimed chef Bjorn Frantzén’s three-starred restaurant in Sweden. Also a new entry, Basque Kitchen by Aitor, helmed by head chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive (former head chef at one-Michelin-starred Iggy's), earned a star. Aitor tells T.Dining: "I didn't do anything differently; I just continued doing what I've always done, but better. But it does feel like the first time because this time, I have complete freedom."
Worth mentioning too are one star restaurants Lerouy, by French chef Christophe Lerouy who whips up modern French fare, and Robuchon alum Vianney Massot, who has finally come into his own with his eponymous restaurant, after working with the late French chef icon for nine years. Massot confesses that he feels more proud this time around because he has earned the star for his eponymous restaurant. "I will definitely celebrate with my team with lots of champagne because this accolade is all about our great teamwork."
Another favourite that has done well to regain its star after a recent revamped is casual eatery Cheek, formerly Cheek by Jowl, that had closed for a transformation in February and thus lost the star it earned in 2017.
When asked what he had done right again, chef-owner Rishi Naleendra said: “I think it’s the team; when we have strong people around us that pushes really hard.”
He made the bold move to close the restaurant for a facelift and change of menu, while he worked on the opening of another, Cloudstreet, which opened on Amoy Street in July.
“The team really stepped up keeping the quality and the consistency,” he affirms.
BEST OF THE BEST
In terms of who would follow now-defunct Joel Robuchon Restaurant’s feat, society friend Marilyn Lum believes that Les Amis should earn three stars this year. She shares: “The dining experience is world-class—from the staff’s attention to detail and creativity that is shown from the food they serve, to the excellent curation of fine wines and impeccable service.”
After holding on to its two stars for two years, the French restaurant helmed by Sebastian Lepinoy finally got its well-deserved three stars. Beaming with pride, Lepinoy shares that "the honour is even more special as it's a homegrown brand with many Singaporeans working in the kitchen." Joining him is fan favourite Odette, which is also Asia’s Best Restaurant 2019.
Expectations are expectedly high when it comes to more inspired concepts, those that challenge the norm. But some of the top chefs we spoke with seemed less pressured by the thought.
“Any form of recognition of the hard work out team has dedicated day in and day out is always very encouraging,” says Brazilian born chef-owner of one-starred Nouri. “We rejoice at the invite; and keep our feet planted on the ground and our heads up in the clouds.”
When asked whether the team felt that the perception of what the Michelin stars represent reflects the value of what is being offered at the restaurant, not to mention the changing face of fine dining, Brehm says the team believes the guide is a good thermometer for the industry, and that “if we as a restaurant are performing at peak, creatively and with heart, any recognition is welcome”.
He also feels “Michelin has regained a finger on the pulse of its market and understands that without accurate and objective assessment, the guide is as good as dead”.
“For a place like Nouri to even be considered means the goalposts have moved and really reflect the face of dining today with more accuracy,” he adds.
Of course, it wouldn't be complete if local establishments championing local flavours didn't impress the inspectors as well as they have. In fact, Han Liguang of restaurant Labyrinth feels that it is even more important that the restaurant at least retained its star, following the revamped of its menu which now utilises 80 per cent local produce (meats and seafood, as well as vegetables and artisanal products) sourced from a roster of carefully sourced suppliers. "It proves that in the right hands, local produce can be as impressive," he tells us.
The Michelin Guide Singapore is also famous for its help in promoting hawker culture, and Lum agrees, saying that that it has “given the local scene a global platform to showcase their craft.” In 2016, Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle were given one star each, with the latter earning the title of ‘cheapest Michelin-starred meal’.
A testament to their consistency over the years, both hawker stalls maintained their ranking for the fourth consecutive year.
See also: Chef Darren Teoh Takes Us To His Go-To Chicken Rice Stall In Taman Paramount
Here’s the complete list of Michelin-starred dining places this year:
1 star (High-quality cooking, worth a stop)
Basque Kitchen by Aitor *NEW*
Buona Terra *PROMOTION*
Cheek Bistro *NEW*
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine (Orchard)
Jaan by Kirk Westaway
Putien (Kitchener Road)
Shinji (Bras Basah Road)
Shinji (Tanglin Road)
The Song of India
Vianney Massot *NEW*
2 stars (Excellent cooking, worth a detour)
Saint Pierre *PROMOTION*
3 stars (Exceptional cuisine that is worth a special journey)
Les Amis *PROMOTION*