SINGAPORE – A Japanese offshoot of Noma, a Bangkok fine dining restaurant and a South African ocean-side cottage eatery are among the winners of the inaugural World Restaurant Awards announced on Monday (Feb 18).

South Africa’s Wolfgat – which specialises in local seafood and plants foraged from the Western Cape – won the highest honour of Restaurant of the Year, as well as the accolade of Off-Map Destination.

Tokyo’s Inua, opened in June last year (2018), was named Arrival of the Year, while Bangkok’s Bo.Lan won the Tweezer-Free Kitchen award for its more “hands-on” style of plating.

Other more tongue-in-cheek awards went to French chefs Alain Ducasse, who received the Tattoo-Free Chef honour; and Alain Passard for the Instagram Account award. Le Clarence restaurant in Paris won for Original Thinking, while Lyon’s 98-year-old restaurant La Mere Brazier was lauded as an Enduring Classic.

In its bid to be more comprehensive and diverse, the inaugural awards showcased winners in 18 categories across 10 countries.

The awards are produced by IMG – an events, media, fashion and sports company which operates in more than 30 countries – in partnership with restaurant journalist Joe Warwick and food writer and broadcaster Andrea Petrini.

Two Singapore eateries were longlisted for the awards but not shortlisted eventually.

Sungei Road Laksa in Jalan Berseh was nominated in the House Special category for establishments defined by a particular dish, while one-Michelin-starred modern Australian barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends in Teck Lim Road received two nominations for No Reservations Required (for restaurants that accept walk-in diners), and Tweezer-free Kitchen.

The winners were decided by a panel of 100 judges from 37 countries, who include chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, and film-makers. High-profile names include Danish chef Rene Redzepi of Noma in Denmark; Italian chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy; American restaurateur David Chang of the Momofuku restaurant group with restaurants across the United States, Canada and Australia; and Canadian-born chef May Chow of Little Bao in Hong Kong.

Representing Singapore on the panel is Japanese food journalist Kyoko Nakayama, who has been based here for five years. She writes for local publications such as Tatler Dining by Singapore Tatler, and is also a columnist with Forbes Japan.

Ms Cecile Rebbot, director of The World Restaurant Awards from IMG, says: “We are proud to have given a global stage to a diverse spectrum of incredibly deserving restaurants, teams, experiences and initiatives.

“We set out to create a truly international awards with a fresh approach, recognising the full breadth and depth of the industry, but this is only the beginning in terms of the restaurant experiences around the world that we want to explore and discover.”

For the full list of winners, go to

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