MINISTRY OF CRAB, SRI LANKA
Launched in 2011, The Ministry of Crab is Sri Lanka’s first restaurant dedicated to serving premium quality lagoon crabs. These crabs are commonly regarded as being the best in the world, and Ministry of Crab’s are truly in a league of their own.
Not only are they bigger than average, they also have both claws intact, offering flavoursome claw meat, while the ingredients used are fresh and locally sourced. They are proudly committed to a ‘no freezers’ policy, meaning every dish is as fresh as possible.
In addition to its popular crab specialities, the restaurant is one of only a few fine dining restaurants in Colombo to showcase authentic Sri Lankan cuisine through local dishes such as various curries and the highly popular Pol Sambol, and the Kade Bread, a perfect accompaniment for any of the crab dishes.
Housed in a remarkable 400-year-old building, which was once a Dutch Hospital, Ministry of Crab has proved to be tremendous success in shaking up Colombo’s culinary scene, and is a constant fixture on Best Restaurants lists. ministryofcrab.com
THE COVE, BANYAN TREE BINTAN, INDONESIA
Set above the shoreline and surrounded by natural rocks and lush tropical foliage with a view out to sea, The Cove restaurant at Banyan Tree Bintan offers a setting as stunning as its food. Dine in the cool comfort of the indoor area and enjoy watching the chefs in the open kitchen, or enjoy the seaside location al fresco on the deck under breezy tropical trees. Offering a mostly Mediterranean menu with subtle Asian influences, The Cove serves up delicious and beautifully presented dishes such as smoked salmon linguine, stone crab spaghetti, and Australian rack of lamb cooked in a crust of garden herbs.
Once per year, the restaurant plays host to internationally renowned chefs from around the world, who join forces with The Cove’s culinary team to create a week of unique and exceptional dining experiences. Earlier this year, Chefs Jeremy Desbraux and Josselin Jacquet, aka the ‘Le Duo Suisse’, from Switzerland’s three-stared Michelin restaurant B.Violier showcased the timelessness of French gastronomy. banyantree.com
CHERRY GARDEN, SINGAPORE
Mandarin Oriental Singapore’s exceptional Cantonese restaurant, Cherry Garden, has existed in its original form within the fan-shaped hotel since it opened in 1987. Apart from general maintenance and upkeep, the style and setting of this restaurant has remained the same – it was designed according to Feng Shui, so if something works and it works well, then why fix it?
Renowned as one of the city’s most prestigious and authentic Chinese restaurants, Cherry Garden is stylish and sophisticated, oozing oriental chic inspired by the hotel group’s heritage. Using fresh, seasonal produce, the eclectic and extensive Cantonese menu features a range of classic dishes as well as modern interpretations and making a choice can be difficult.
Luckily there are set menus and the wait staff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, offering great recommendations. We opt for the Lily menu, consisting of five delicious and beautifully presented dishes featuring a platter of roast meats, dim sum, soup, a main of drunken chicken with fragrant jasmine rice and vegetables, and ending on a beautifully delicate and palate-cleansing desert of mango with sago pearls, pomelo and lime sorbet.
A further highlight of the restaurant is the wide selection of Chinese teas and vast wine list, specially selected to match Asian flavours, and on weekends, the famous dim sum buffet is especially popular among both locals and visitors alike. mandarinoriental.com
So tell us dear readers, do you have a favourite restaurant in Southeast Asia? We would love to hear from you.