HOTELS September 2014 : Page 22

Reaching foR the THiS yEar’S GrEaT HOTEL rESTauranTS SOar TO nEw HEiGHTS, buT THEy dO SO wHiLE aLSO mainTaininG a fEELinG Of cOmfOrT and wELcOmE. by ann baGEL STOrck, manaGinG EdiTOr G 22 HOTELS September 2014 www.hotelsmag.com The PoinTe ResTauRanT aT Wickaninnish inn in Tofino, canada, offeRs a 270-degRee vieW of The Pacific ocean, local foResTed islands and chesTeRman Beach. Great Hotel Restaurants take the spotlight off the “hotel” part of the equation. “A great hotel restaurant should be designed and run with a restaurateur approach and seen by guests as a restaurant that hap-pens to be physically linked to a hotel,” explains Stephane Bellon, vice president, corporate F&B, Kempinski Hotels, Geneva, and one of this year’s judges. “A great hotel restaurant complements the design, lifestyle and ultimate DNA of the hotel yet maintains an element of indepen-dence,” adds Rory Bevins, senior vice president at La Bottega USA and another judge this year. It’s a tall order — one primed to get taller as time goes on — but this year’s Great Hotel Restaurants appear up to the challenge of providing guests with a complete package. “Great food and great service is not enough,” confirms Guy Rigby, vice president, food and beverage, Americas, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Toronto, and another judge. “Today’s customer also wants great ambience, great design and a feeling of approachability and comfort. Most of all, a restau-rant has to be memorable.” HOTELS and sponsor Villeroy & Boch are proud to continue an annual tradition of honoring these Great Hotel Restaurants. Great hotel dining is not about luxe ingredients and exclusive settings anymore — at least not on their own. As in recent years, the 2014 Great Hotel Restaurants emphasize the bounty of their local areas — often in both food and design. Another interesting trend this year, which also is reflected in the broader culinary landscape, is a move toward less formal dining and a greater focus on providing a feeling of comfort and welcome. The honorees prove memorable restaurant experi-ences need not be prohibitively expensive, as several boast average dinner checks less than US$100. Perhaps most important, today’s

REACHING FOR THE STARS

Ann Bagel Storck


Great hotel dining is not about luxe ingredients and exclusive settings anymore — at least not on their own. As in recent years, the 2014 Great Hotel Restaurants emphasize the bounty of their local areas — often in both food and design. Another interesting trend this year, which also is reflected in the broader culinary landscape, is a move toward less formal dining and a greater focus on providing a feeling of comfort and welcome. The honorees prove memorable restaurant experiences need not be prohibitively expensive, as several boast average dinner checks less than US$100.

Perhaps most important, today’s Great Hotel Restaurants take the spotlight off the “hotel” part of the equation. “A great hotel restaurant should be designed and run with a restaurateur approach and seen by guests as a restaurant that happens to be physically linked to a hotel,” explains Stephane Bellon, vice president, corporate F&B, Kempinski Hotels, Geneva, and one of this year’s judges.

“A great hotel restaurant complements the design, lifestyle and ultimate DNA of the hotel yet maintains an element of independence,” adds Rory Bevins, senior vice president at La Bottega USA and another judge this year.

It’s a tall order — one primed to get taller as time goes on — but this year’s Great Hotel Restaurants appear up to the challenge of providing guests with a complete package. “Great food and great service is not enough,” confirms Guy Rigby, vice president, food and beverage, Americas, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Toronto, and another judge. “Today’s customer also wants great ambience, great design and a feeling of approachability and comfort. Most of all, a restaurant has to be memorable.”

HOTELS and sponsor Villeroy & Boch are proud to continue an annual tradition of honoring these Great Hotel Restaurants.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT HOTEL RESTAURANT?
THIS YEAR’S HONOREES WERE CHOSEN BASED ON THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

-Operated by a hotel (of any size and with or without a brand) or with minimal assistance from a consultant or celebrity chef
-Meets its intent (if it is called a steakhouse, it must not be all-Italian)
-Busy, with outside as well as in-house diners
-“Suitable” (a bistro should not try to be Michelin three-star establishment) welcome, service, food, drink, décor, lighting and noise level
-Great overall ambience and experience
-Value for the price
-A viable investment concern
-Prompts diners to return
-Winners from the past three years not eligible

ANAKENA
GRAND HYATT SANTIAGO SANTIAGO, CHILE

SEATS: 80 inside the restaurant, 40 on the terrace
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$90
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Somporn Dankaewe
MENU FOCUS: Thai
SIGNATURE DISH: Phad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles with tamarind sauce, egg, vegetables, peanut and chicken or shrimp); yellow curry with chicken; Tom Kha Gai (chicken soup with coconut milk and mushrooms)
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: Located in the gardens of Grand Hyatt Santiago overlooking the lagoon-style pool, Anakena promises a warm, informal and welcoming atmosphere.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: Anakena stands for classic, authentic Thai cuisine in a beautiful, tranquil setting.

AUBERGINE
L’AUBERGE CARMEL CARMEL, CALIFORNIA

SEATS: 48
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$145
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Justin Cogley
MENU FOCUS: Locally sourced and highly seasonal contemporary cuisine complimented by an extensive wine cellar
SIGNATURE DISHES: Abalone with seaweed, alba mushroom and vinegar made from umeboshi; local seafood from Monterey Bay
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: Plush banquets and chairs, a gold-and-bronze mosaic tile wall and a large art piece featuring a dramatic “wave” photograph complement a new custom-built cheese cave in the restaurant’s dining room.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: Aubergine brings together the essence of California’s Central Coast using an artistic and natural culinary approach to showcasing local, seasonal ingredients.

DINING ON THE ROCKS
SIX SENSES SAMUI KOH SAMUI, THAILAND

SEATS: 50 spread across 10 decks
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$63
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Alongkorn Seanganant
MENU FOCUS: “Modern interpretive cuisine” — tried and trusted recipes given a new slant in imaginative ways with an emphasis on fresh, wholesome, local ingredients
SIGNATURE DISHES: Soft-shell crab, smoked snowfish
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: The architecture consists of 10 terraced decks of weathered teak and bamboo, combining open-air and covered seating areas. The view is an uninterrupted 270-degree panorama of the surrounding islands and ocean. There also are two private decks with only one dining table on the platform.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: The view is unrivaled — diners can enjoy the sunset, then watch the beautiful scenery transform from twilight to pure darkness.

QT HOTEL SYDNEY SYDNEY
GOWINGS BAR & GRILL

SEATS: 120
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$80
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Paul Easson
MENU FOCUS: European-style brasserie classics with an Aussie twist
SIGNATURE DISHES: Hand-picked spanner crab salad with avocado mousse, pickled asparagus, jalapeño, coriander and radish; milk-fed veal with organic egg, Ortiz anchovy and nutbrown butter
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: An open kitchen features the wood-fired grill, rotisserie and oven while a fresh seafood display includes an artistic representation of a huge fresh yellowfin tuna.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: The design takes over to create a great dining experience with the open kitchen leading the show complemented by great drinks and music.

HAWKSWORTH RESTAURANT
ROSEWOOD HOTEL GEORGIA VANCOUVER, CANADA

SEATS: 110
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$102
EXECUTIVE CHEF: David Hawksworth
MENU FOCUS: Contemporary Canadian
SIGNATURE DISHES: Hamachi sashimi with passion fruit, jalapeño, coconut and white soy; black olive-crusted halibut with English peas, fennel and Manila clam vinaigrette; Yarrow Meadows duck breast with duck confit crêpe, carrot and brown-butter jus
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: Created by Alessandro Munge of interior design firm Munge Leung, Hawksworth’s four dining rooms include the leather-paneled Cocktail Bar, the Pearl Room with pearl banquettes and a striking chandelier, the Art Room featuring a custom installation by local artist Rodney Graham and the York Room where huge arc windows overlook the Vancouver Art Gallery.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: Drawing inspiration from its surroundings and Canadian heritage, Hawksworth brings to the forefront the bounty of Canada’s organic produce, meat and seafood.

LUNG KING HEEN
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL HONG KONG HONG KONG

SEATS: 128
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$194
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Chan Yan Tak
MENU FOCUS: Dim sum and seafood
SIGNATURE DISHES: Fried star garoupa fillet in soy sauce; crispy scallops with fresh pear and Yunnan ham
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: Floorto- ceiling glass panels let in abundant natural light in addition to 270-degree panoramic harbor views.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: Quite simply, the restaurant serves purely great food in the heart of Hong Kong. The city is known for having the best Cantonese food in the world, and this restaurant helps burnish that reputation.

MANDARIN GRILL + BAR
MANDARIN ORIENTAL HOTEL, HONG KONG HONG KONG

SEATS: 64
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$194
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Uwe Opocensky
MENU FOCUS: Unique adaptations of grill specialties and fresh seafood with a dash of progressive gastronomy
SIGNATURE DISHES: Line-caught sea bass with scallop, langoustine, tomato confit, gnocchi and zucchini; “Summer” — tomato, mozzarella, parmesan, balsamic, ham and focaccia
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: Overseen by Sir Terence Conran, the design offers views of Statue Square and Chater Garden in addition to Gerard D’a Henderson paintings, comfortable Pullman chairs, seasonal linens and a molded scallop-inspired ceiling. There is a private dining room for up to 14 guests at the far end of the restaurant featuring a frosted glass window that clears at the flick of a switch to allow diners an intimate view of the show kitchen.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: In addition to food that is delicious and surprising presentations that are a feast for the eyes, the service is exceptional.

MARQUÉS DE RISCAL RESTAURANT
HOTEL MARQUES DE RISCAL, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL ELCIEGO, SPAIN

SEATS: 35
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$115
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Juan Bautista Peñas
MENU FOCUS: New dishes, forms and flavors created to delight guests, with a focus on local, seasonal products
SIGNATURE DISHES: Sarmientos — cheese sticks evocative of a bonfire of vine branches; red wine caviar; quinoa seeds cooked in langoustine broth and served with pieces of langoustine, grapes and avocado as well as a sauce of white garlic and olive oil
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: The restaurant’s design is avant-garde, combining red walls, stainless steel “custard-cup” lamps and counters of copper and onyx stone. The Gehry style delicately melds with the fine setting of the tables.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: The seamless integration of atmosphere, sublime service and creative food makes Marques De Riscal a remarkable restaurant.

THE POINTE RESTAURANT
WICKANINNISH INN TOFINO, CANADA

SEATS: 85
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$78
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Warren Barr, working closely with Restaurant Chef David Sider
MENU FOCUS: Canadian, with a focus on product and fare from the smaller independent farmers of Vancouver Island and fishermen who live in Tofino
SIGNATURE DISHES: Seared albacore tuna with raw vegetables and burnt onion crumble
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: In addition to a 270- degree view of the Pacific Ocean, local forested islands and Chesterman Beach, the restaurant highlights a custom post-and-beam structure by master carver Henry Nolla in massive cedar timbers. All-natural fir tabletops are constructed exclusively with tight-grain, old-growth Douglas fir from blow-down and recycled wood. A sound system brings in the sound of the surf crashing on the rocks on one track while another track plays carefully selected music tracks.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: Local British Columbia seafood and organic ingredients pair perfectly with Pacific Northwest wines.

VETIVER
CHEWTON GLEN HOTEL & SPA NEW MILTON, ENGLAND

SEATS: 150
AVERAGE DINNER CHECK: US$94
EXECUTIVE CHEF: Luke Matthews
MENU FOCUS: English with a cosmopolitan flair as well as seasonal touches
SIGNATURE DISHES: Thai lobster curry with jasmine rice; slow-cooked lamb tagine with harissa and jeweled couscous
STANDOUT DESIGN FEATURES: Spread across five rooms, including the Wine Room and the newly constructed Summer House, Vetiver promises settings to suit all dining occasions, seasons or times of the day. Design details include country flowers, jugs of herbs, limed oak country furniture and limegreen banquettes in the restaurant’s “Oak End.”
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT: The bright and airy restaurant sits in a beautiful setting, and the culinary offer is a perfect match for this cool elegance.

Read the full article at http://library.hotelsmag.com/article/REACHING+FOR+THE+STARS/1786173/221461/article.html.

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