Unique dining picks in six Asean cities

8 Dec 2010

For 40 years, 10 nations, comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), operated as an informal regional grouping. Then, on December 16, 2008, they established themselves as an EU-style community, aiming to become a free-trade zone and a global force to reckon with.

Most with GDPs that grow at a minimum of 4 percent annually, Asean’s member countries – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – boast gateway cities pulsating with new-found prosperity and a dynamic lifestyle scene, particularly in the retail and restaurant sectors.

Here’s a shortlist of unique venues for business entertaining in selected Asian capitals:


Australian chef David Thompson brought this Michelin-starred Thai restaurant from London to Bangkok in July this year. Located at The Metropolitan Hotel, Thompson strives to achieve a more “easy going” and homey feel than the branch in London by serving authentic Thai cuisine that is normally found in Thai homes. The restaurant overlooks the hotel pool and has terrace dining options as well as private dining areas. For more information, visit

Location: G/F, Metropolitan Hotel, South Sathorn Road

Tel: +66 2 625 3333


Restaurant Bobby Chinn
The restaurant, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Chinn, carries the same eclectic character of the owner with its red silk draperies enhanced by local art pieces. The half-Chinese and half-Egyptian (and proud of it) chef brings the flavour of East and West to Hanoi, offering tapas as well as Vietnamese dishes. For more information, visit

Location: 77 Xuan Dieu Street, Tay Ho district

Tel: +844 3719 2460


Harum Manis
Harum Manis, which translates to “sweet cotton candy” – a traditional dessert sold on street stalls, was started up by Chris Janssens in 2008. Staying true to its Indonesian roots, it dishes up authentic fare in a majestic Javanese ambience. The restaurant accepts booking for private functions, such as wedding receptions, business conferences and award ceremonies, as its flexible interiors allow for a variety of set ups. For more information, visit

Location: Pavillion Apartment Retail Arcade, Jalan KH Mas Mansyur Kav 24

Tel: + 62 21 5794 1727


Neo Tamarind and Luxe Lounge

With Canadian-Thai chef Thiti Thammant at the helm, the restaurant has gained a reputation for contemporary Asian tapas that uniquely blend the flavours of East and West. Located away from the hustle and bustle of the capital, it has been described as “your hilltop oasis in the city”. The restaurant also boasts an impressive drinks list of signature cocktails. For more information, visit

Location: 19 Jalan Sultan Ismail

Tel: +60 3 2148 3700


The Goose Station
Set up by the respected husband-and-wife cooking team of Rob Pengson and Sunshine Puey Pengson late last year, the restaurant gained a following through word-of-mouth for its unique eight-course tasting menu. It aims to revolutionise the art of fine dining in Manila by using fresh produce to create totally new culinary treats, such as the chilled corn soup and berries, popcorn and orange or the Beet Garden Salad – the couple’s own take on the humble appetiser. The restaurant also offers a five-course “Express” tasting menu and a la carte options. For more information, visit

Location: W Tower, 39th Street, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Tel: +63 2 556 9068



FiftyThree, opened last year, is the brainchild of leading epicurean group Les Amis and high-profile chef Michael Han. It has since lived up to its pre-opening hype and delivered to high expectations. Within 12 months, it has gained critical acclaim and made it to the Top 20 in Asia’s Miele Guide. Serving European cuisine using fresh local produce, the restaurant has a choice of a set menu or a five-course tasting menu for lunch, and a single, constantly changing tasting menu for dinner. Reservations are required in advance. For more information, visit

Location: 53 Armenian Street

Tel: +65 6334 5535

Alisha Haridasani

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