Cover Tuna Tostadas (Photo: Concubine)

These special award categories were tweaked to fit our unconventional times

No one could have anticipated the black swan event that shook 2020 to its core, that sounded the death knell for many a mom and pop store, or caused survivors to operate at half-mast. But even a virus as virulent as Covid-19 can’t suppress creativity. Fine dining restaurants weighed the benefits of partnering with GrabFood versus Foodpanda versus Beep, whipped up new dishes that would travel better, and found ways to keep their doors open; incredibly, some even opened new ventures.

Taking our special circumstances into consideration, Tatler Dining found a need to tweak our 'Best Of The Year' categories to fit the times. Rather than evaluate restaurants by their interior design, for instance, we found it more meaningful to celebrate traits such as flexibility. Join us in congratulating the following restaurants and F&B groups:

Throwback: Tatler Dining's Best Of The Year Awards 2020

Adaptability Awards (3 Winners)

We couldn't pick just one restaurant, so we decided to give more a clap on the back. This award category was kept ajar to both standalone restaurants and F&B groups that adapted to Covid-19 in a flash. Not only were they among the first to roll out delivery services, some even created new dishes suited to delivery methods and/or offshoot organisations.

Best Dine-In Service

Although we've had much smaller window to dine out in 2020 (and 2021, so far), the front of house team at this restaurant always puts the gloom and doom behind them, projecting a sunny disposition when serving guests. Malaysia's most unique restaurant—it's located in a natural cave in Ipoh—also boasts the best service.

At Jeff's Cellar, diners are greeted with professionalism and proficiency, and food and beverage manager Grace Chan Pui Fun will practically bend over backwards to make your visit pleasurable.

Related: Gordon Ramsay To Open Restaurant In Malaysia In Partnership With Sunway Resort

Tatler Legacy Award

Better known as 'the Bangkung boys,' the founders of Maxim Image opened Opus Bistro almost two decades ago, and as they say, the rest is history.

The parent company of Cava Spanish Wine Bar, Leonardo's Dining Room & Wine Loft, Lucky Bo and Bobo KL has nourished us, our parents, our grandparents and our kids, and shows no sign of slowing down. The group even birthed a new burger joint called B_G_R during our first bout of lockdown.

See also: 6 Ways That Restaurants Are Serving Langit Collective Rice

Growth Champion

Despite the challenges unleashed by coronavirus, this hospitality group overseeing The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur, The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor Laut Resort and many more continues to summit new peaks.

Some of our favourite restaurants fall under their jurisdiction, from Li Yen and The Library at The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur to The Mansion at The Majestic Malacca, one of few remaining restaurants that serve Kristang cuisine. Not only has YTL Hotels managed to stay afloat, but the group is also charting new waters with the reopening of The Starhill Dining.