Cover The Diplomat won two awards, for Best New Bar and Best Interior Design (Photo: Courtesy of The Diplomat)

The results are in! Tatler Dining’s annual readers’ choice awards, presented by Asia Miles, is back to celebrate the achievements of the F&B industry

In a year that has seen a record number of restaurant closures and skyrocketing unemployment rates, never has it been more important to show support for the businesses you care about. As the city rides out wave after wave of challenges, it has been inspiring to witness the myriad ways in which members of the dining community have faced them head on, and that is why the Tatler Dining Readers’ Choice Awards have forged ahead this year—with a key difference.

The awards, once more supported by Asia Miles, are a celebration of resilience in the time of Covid-19. While, in previous years, the Readers’ Choice Awards focused primarily on crowning the year’s best new restaurant and best new bar, for 2020 we have included additional categories to reflect the unique context of the year—from best takeaway and delivery initiative to the Impact Award, which recognises the efforts of those who have gone a step further to help the dining industry. Other categories that were previously not voted upon by the public include the Rising Star Award, which had a record 14 nominees—a testament to the talents being incubated in the city and a reminder that there are still plenty of people hustling and working hard despite the year’s setbacks. Thousands of votes were tallied by the end of the campaign in October. Read about all the honourees below. 

The Rising Star Award: Alison Chan, Antonio Oviedo, Sam Lui

Back for a second year is the Rising Star Award, which champions individuals who are forging their own way forward. This year’s nominee pool was strong, ranging from gin distillers to private chefs. Sam Lui, who runs the Wendy’s Wok World private kitchen housed at her family’s soy sauce farm, is a bright young talent who is keeping traditions alive; Antonio Oviedo is a passionate chef who has brought 22 Ships into an exciting new era with his energetic approach to modern tapas; and Alison Chan is a self-taught pastry chef who has created cakes that resemble objects like juice boxes, Chanel handbags and even kitchen sponges with mind-boggling realism.

The Impact Award: Black Sheep Restaurants, Eaton HK, Save Hong Kong F&B

Our newest award recognises the efforts of those in F&B who have made significant contributions to the dining scene in the face of challenging times. Black Sheep Restaurants’ Covid-19 handbook, designed to disseminate best practices to deal with the coronavirus situation, went viral—in the best way possible. Save Hong Kong F&B, a collective effort by more than 600 restaurants and industry professionals, ended up generating millions of voucher sales to support fledgling venues. In another impressive gesture, Eaton HK stepped up to help vulnerable members of society with its Pay-It-Forward campaign, which encouraged diners to purchase a meal in advance for someone who needed it.

See also: How To Support Food Charities To Help Hong Kong's Most Vulnerable

Best Interior Design: Cobo House, Crown Super Deluxe, The Diplomat

They say great design can transport you and, with travel so limited, these places have impressed with their evocative interiors. The Diplomat is a vision of quiet elegance, as befits its name, while Cobo House at K11 Musea fits right into the art mall’s modernist aesthetic. Crown Super Deluxe’s unapologetically luxurious vibe, meanwhile, tells the story of a teppanyaki in Nineties Tokyo.

Takeaway/Delivery Initiative Of The Year: Black Sheep Supper Cult, Écriture a la Maison, JIA Everywhere

With limited opening hours and social distancing measures in place for many weeks during waves of Covid-19, restaurants had to pivot quickly to reach diners through takeaway or delivery. Among the reader favourites were Black Sheep Restaurants’ Supper Cult, a bona fide meal plan with restaurant-quality food, as well as Écriture’s high-concept dishes that could be delivered straight to your door—caviar and uni tart included. JIA Group offered its entire roster of restaurants for delivery, including newly opened Ando.

Best New Restaurants: Cobo House, Crown Super Deluxe, Mono

The top three favourite restaurants impressed diners with their unique propositions and their commitment to hospitality. Black Sheep Restaurants’ Crown Super Deluxe offers a thrilling teppanyaki experience tinged with camp nostalgia, while Cobo House at K11 Musea captivated diners with its contemporary approach to cuisine— and a killer view of Victoria Harbour. Ricardo Chaneton’s Mono, a deeply personal culinary project, also touched diners’ hearts. 

Best New Bars: The Daily Tot, The Diplomat, The Poet

This was a tough year for the bar scene, with closures forced upon the industry in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. Against all odds, some exceptional openings have thrived— including new rum specialist The Daily Tot and secretive speakeasy The Poet. The Diplomat also became a favourite for cocktails— but it has also earned accolades for its signature burger as well as freshly baked cookies at midnight.

See also: An Insider's Look At The Precarious State Of Hong Kong's Bar Scene In 2020

The Full List of 2020 Readers' Choice Award Nominees

Best New Restaurant

The most exciting new restaurant to open from late 2019-2020—one that you would go back to again and again

The Araki
Cobo House
Crown Super Deluxe
Hansik Goo
Jean May
Mama Always Said
The Queen
Samsen (Sheung Wan)
The Steak Room

Best New Bar

The best new drinking spot that opened in late 2019-2020

The Daily Tot
The Diplomat
Gishiki Lounge
Moon Kok

The Impact Award

The F&B initiative that made the most impact on the dining scene this year. This new award recognises those have made a real contribution to the Hong Kong dining scene during times of difficulty

Breadline by HK Food Works
The Covid-19 Handbook by Black Sheep Restaurants
Pay-It-Forward by Dignity Kitchen
Pay-It-Forward by Eaton HK
Grassroots Initiatives by Peggy Chan
Save Hong Kong F&B

Best Interior Design

A venue that makes the best visual impact and unforgettable first impression

Cobo House
Crown Super Deluxe
The Diplomat
Hansik Goo

Takeaway Or Delivery Initiative Of The Year

A venue or brand that has demonstrated quick thinking and creativity in the face of dining restrictions

Black Sheep Supper Cult
Cafe Gray At Home
Date by Tate
Ecriture A La Maison
JIA Everywhere
Little Bao Diner
Meraki At Home
Simon Rogan at Home

The Rising Star Award

Emerging talents with great potential, who have made a serious impression with their work in the industry

Alison Chan, Dear Harley
Antonio Oviedo, 22 Ships
Baptiste Villefranque, W Hotel
Devon Hou and Ray Choi, Cobo House
Dimple Yuen and Ivan Chang, Two Moons Distillery
Jade Lau, Doubleshot
Jessica Chow, Bien Caramelise
Leonard Cheung, private chef
Nick Law and Jeremy Li, NIP Distilling
Sam Lui, Wendy's Wok World
Samaira (Rubina) C. Kavatkar, The Bombay East Indian Girl
Shelley Tai, mixologist
Tiff Lo, Jean May
Valentin Mille, Amber
Zahir Mohamed, Baked

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