Even as the upper echelons of the restaurant industry lean further towards the rediscovery and celebration of the land and culinary heritage, few can match the fundamental connection with nature evident at Attica. The menu at the Melbourne restaurant, overseen by New Zealander Ben Shewry, is studded with earthy flavours and foraged ingredients, while the dining experience is simultaneously sophisticated and deeply grounded.

A deep connection with nature characterises Ben Shewry’s unusual food

Earnest but warm and open, Shewry has gained the respect of his peers for his deep dedication to his principles of sustainability, to his family and to the cooking craft – reflected in his Highest New Entry debut in last year’s list. His cuisine remains uniquely imaginative and original, with dishes often referencing the landscape and memories of his childhood on the wild west coast of NZ’s North Island. King George whiting, topped with meat-infused butter, is cooked in smoking paper bark; potato is cooked ‘in the earth in which it is grown’; snow crab comes with 12 flavours of St Joseph’s Wort (aka sweet basil). Diners at this 50-cover restaurant in the quiet suburb of Ripponlea sometimes even step out into the kitchen garden for a between-courses alfresco snack.

Continue reading

Back on the list after a year’s break, Jonnie Boer’s Zwolle restaurant is a stone’s throw from where he hunted and fished as a child. He knows his produce intimately and is keen to showcase it, having built a career out of championing local seasonal ingredients about two decades before it was fashionable to do so. His current menu is homage to the food produced in the surrounding area but there’s certainly room for global influences – monkfish comes encrusted with Middle Eastern baharat spices and mackerel belly paired unusually but successfully with cinnamon. Indeed, Boer is big on doing things differently: for example, he eschews the traditional citrus marinade for his take on ceviche and replaces it with tea, kombucha (a type of yeast) and vanilla. Later on, a combination of basil mayonnaise, tartare of beef and cream of oyster is served directly on to diners’ hands for a memorably tactile experience.

Continue reading

Number 30: Understated luxury coupled with outstanding contemporary French cooking in NYC

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Per Se has featured in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for its entire life. The East Coast satellite of Thomas Keller’s iconic French Laundry in Yountville, California, it represents the urban ideal of an American luxury restaurant offering a synthesis of culinary art and superlative service.

Per Se’s large dining room is unflashy, contemporary and elegant, with stained woods, stone and muted tones, and sweeping windows offering uninterrupted views of Columbus Circle and Central Park. The food is as understated yet immaculate as the décor. Menus embrace seasonality and show a witty playfulness that punctuates the confidence in the kitchen, now under the matured stewardship of Eli Kaimeh, who has been Per Se’s chef de cuisine since 2010.

Continue reading

No.24 Amber – HONG KONG, CHINA

The acclaimed Amber can be found in The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental’s smaller more individual Hong Kong hotel, and the stunning restaurant reflects that sense of independence combined with luxury.

Dutch-born chef and culinary director Richard Ekkebus’s food is fundamentally French, but also modern, imaginative and tinged with influences he has picked up over his globe-trotting career. Having trained and worked in Holland, France, Mauritius and Barbados through his career – including stints under iconic French chefs Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Passard – he has been at Amber’s helm since its opening in 2005. Ekkebus and his chef de cuisine Maxime Gilbert source the finest ingredients from near and far, successfully playing on Hong Kong’s position as an east-west crossroads, as a trading hub and a former British colony. Signatures include sea urchin in lobster jelly, with cauliflower, caviar and crispy seaweed waffle; Kagoshima wagyu beef with purée of forgotten Cévennes onion; and abinao 85% chocolate soufflé with cacao sorbet.

Continue reading

Accomplished Austrian chef puts Portugal on the fine-dining map

The restaurant at this luxury spa and beach resort on the Algarve truly is a ‘house of joy’ thanks to the culinary talents of executive chef Dieter Koschina. Originally from Austria, he honed his skills in leading establishments in Vienna and Germany before settling in his adopted country of Portugal more than two decades ago. These countries’ contrasting food cultures continue to inspire Koschina with fabulous Portuguese produce combined with northern European cooking techniques to create truly original and delicious dishes.

Continue reading