Twelve Singapore restaurants were recently named on the prestigious 100 Best Restaurants in Asia list for 2022, giving the city state the third biggest showing behind Hong Kong with 16, and Thailand and Japan with 13 apiece.
Not bad, considering Japan has a population more than 20 times the size of Singapore's and Thailand's is 10 times bigger. But it's really no surprise. Singaporeans love food and they love to eat out.
Though a previous inclusion, Singapore's two-Michelin-starred Waku Ghin by hall-of-famer, Japanese-born Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda doesn't appear this year, the opening of his glamorous new Singapore eatery may see the international superstar of Japanese cuisine return to the ranks for 2023.
Wakuda restaurant joins Waku Ghin in the Marina Bay Sands resort complex, the new venture taking a starring position in the cavernous lobby. It's the first of a new concept-style venue in partnership with 50 Eggs Hospitality Group that will soon be replicated as Wakuda at the Venetian Resort Las Vegas this northern summer.
It's Tetsuya with a twist – a wonderland of Japanese flavours inhabiting a multitude of experiences, from a la carte style dining at the Main Dining Room, to artful Japan-inspired cocktails at The Bar. The restaurant also features a refined omakase and private sushi room, though these are yet to open.
There's fun and fancy afoot, designed to appeal to a more broad audience – The Bar accepts walk-ins – though with the serious attention to detail and depth of food philosophy, marrying French and Japanese approaches, for which Wakuda's cooking is famous.
"In my years as a chef, I have always wanted to share my passion while upholding quality that will stand the test of time," says Wakuda, whose Sydney restaurant of more than 30 years, Tetsuya's remains one of Australia's most famous and awarded restaurants. "With Wakuda, it has come full circle. My cuisine here is approachable yet entirely unique; forward-thinking but at the same time, honouring the integrity of natural ingredients."
IN OTHER NEWS
▪ A $40 million renovation has just finished on the 419-room landmark, Pullman Melbourne on the Park, a stone's throw from the MCG. The upgrade by architects DKO has prioritised views with the introduction of specially designed windows with metal shrouds to act like frames, while inside, each room has a chaise perfectly positioned for gazing out. From $329 a night. See pullmanonthepark.com.au
▪ Wild Bush Luxury's new seven-night, no-tech-allowed guided swag walk through the 24,000-hectare Arkaba Conservancy in South Australia's Flinders Ranges is a back-to-basics experience designed for reconnection to nature. Participants on an Arkaba Wilderness Trails walk carry all their own equipment with no set itinerary, going where the mood, and nature takes them. Departures are in May, September and October. From $3200 a person. See arkabawalk.com
▪ Evolving guest preferences sees Oceania Cruises introducing its new Go Local shore excursions, which take participants into the lives and homes of local families and their way of life rather than to usual tourist sites. The suite of excursions include a Walking Tour from a Local Perspective in Sitka, Alaska. See oceaniacruises.com
▪ Jetstar has begun direct flights between Melbourne Airport and the Busselton-Margaret River Airport in Western Australia. Travellers on the Melbourne to Busselton route before November 30 receive a $100 credit towards participating tours, experiences and attractions around the Margaret River and South West region. See jetstar.com