The best chefs and restaurateurs in Malaysia were gathered at KLPac last night to find out the winners of the Time Out Kuala Lumpur Food Awards 2011 – a popularity food award which has started by the publication three years ago.
For the uninitiated, winners were chosen from shortlists in 19 different categories. Every outlet involved in the awards was chosen by the eating public who nominated their favourites and then selected a winner from the shortlist during a three month voting period via www.timeoutkl.com.
A record number of votes were cast in the 2011 Time Out Kuala Lumpur food awards, nearly 50,000 over the five month voting period. This was up nearly 50% from 2010, reflecting the way that the awards have captured the public imagination. The results for the awards were kept a tight secret until the ceremony. Guests arrived with no knowledge of the winners in the respective categories. All Shortlisted outlets received thousands of votes, so all can rightly be considered as winners.
This year, apart from the 18 fiercely contended categories, a new category was introduced – “Blogger’s Choice Award” – a nod to the growing influence of the food blogging community in the country. Time Out KL invited several prominent food bloggers to write a review of the best place that they had eaten during 2011. These reviews were then posted online and visitors would cast their votes for the outlet and the blogger.
Benjamin Yong took home the prestigious Restauranteur of the Year award for all of his hard work in the last 12-months introducing new concepts like Ben’s, Ben’s General Food Store, Canoodling, Plan.B, T Forty Two – all of which has made a profound impact onto KL’s dining scene. The much-talked-and-blogged-about Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille was voted the Outstanding Chef of the Year. The highly anticipated Best Fine Dining Restaurant award was finally swept away by Cilantro after being pushed aside last year, while Ben’s won the New Restaurant of the Year. All in all, this year’s results seem to be more deserving compared to that of 2010 – albeit some were still debatable (Fatty Crab for Best Seafood and Hakka Republic for Best Continental? Like, how did that happen?).
What I’d hope to see in the future are more refined categories. Perhaps, Banana Leaf Rice/Nasi Kandar could have a category on their own. Hawkers and Food Courts can also be combined. But, what I would really like to see happen is having a Best Place for Desserts and Best Online Food Retailer/Baker categories as well. Wouldn’t that just be cool?
List of Winners of Time Out Kuala Lumpur Food Awards 2011
Best Chinese: Li Yen, Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur
Best Continental: Hakka Republic, Menara Hup Seng
Best Fine Dining: Cilantro, MiCasa All Suite Hotel
Best Hawker/Mamak: Devi’s Corner, Bangsar Baru
Best Healthy Living/Vegetarian: Marmalade
Best Indian: Kanna Curry House
Best Italian: La Risata, Persiaran Ampang/Medan Damansara
Best Japanese: Kampachi, Equatorial Hotel
Best Malay: Bijan, Jalan Ceylon
Best Middle Eastern: Al-Amar, Pavilion KL
Best Thai/Indochine: Rama V, Jalan U-Thant
Best for Pub Grub: Jarrod & Rawlins, Desa Sri Hartamas/Damansara Heights/Ampwalk
Best for Coffee: Espressamente Illy, Pavilion KL/Bangsar Village
Best Seafood: Restaurant Fatty Crab, Taman Megah
Best for Steaks: Prime, Le Meridien KL
Best New Restaurant: Ben’s, Pavilion KL/KLCC
Outstanding Chef of the Year: Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille, of Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio & Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie
Restauranteur of the Year: Benjamin Yong of B.I.G
Blogger’s Choice: Village Park, Damansara Uptown voted by Memoirs of a Chocoholic.