Cover Wine and cheese at Anantara Desaru Coast (Photo: Instagram/@anantaradesaru)

Anantara Desaru Coast's Sea.Fire.Salt wins the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the second year in a row

Raise a glass to Sea.Fire.Salt. as the esteemed restaurant at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas has won the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the second year in a row.

The Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards recognises restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine, and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. It's considered the world’s highest honour for a restaurant wine programme.

The Awards of Excellence are awarded to restaurants with wine lists offering at least 90 selections. Their wine lists must feature a well-chosen assortment of quality wine producers, and have a strong thematic match to their restaurant menu in both price and style. A total of 1,673 restaurants around the world were awarded this honour this year.

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“It’s an honour to see our signature steakhouse named among the world’s top restaurants in terms of wine selection,” says Christian Gerart, general manager of Anantara Desaru Coast. “Making the list for two consecutive years and seeing our efforts recognised by the industry’s leading experts is a testament to the team’s uncompromising, passionate dedication to the quality of Anantara Desaru’s wine programme.”

Sea.Fire.Salt won its first Wine Spectator Award of Excellence last year, which was impressive considering it only opened in January 2020, only to encounter a worldwide pandemic a couple of months later. Retaining the award in 2021 is sweet validation for food and beverage director Pang Boon Aik and his team.

"Wine plays a very important part in our F&B concept brief and Anantara Desaru has a dedicated Wine Guru, Yana Rahim, to engage with our diners. Wine training is conducted every week with our team members every week, and wine sales tracking is shared on a daily basis," explains Pang.

He adds that every effort is made to ensure the best, including investing in a proper storage where wines can be stored at optimum temperatures. A daily inventory is also taken daily to ensure that the record books are always up to date.

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Connoisseurs will be pleased to find that on its wine list distinguished names like Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis, Joseph Drouhin Meursault AOC, Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc, Famille Hugel & Fils Classic Riesling, Château Lafite Rothschild 1er Grand Cru Classé Pauillac, Château Margaux 1er Grand Cru Classé, Château Beychevelle 4ème Grand Cru Classé St. Julien... and the list goes on. 

"We’re very proud of the wine list. The biggest challenge for us is to ensure a good mix of wines from the Old and the New World. At the same time, we wanted to push ourselves a bit further with a curated selection of biodynamic and organic wines," says Pang.

He adds that technology plays an important part too, in particular the Living Wine Labels app. When scanned on certain labels, the app uses augmented reality to create an avatar who will regale guests with the story behind the wine.

Pang's goal now is to achieve the Best Of Award of Excellence, the second tier of the Wine Spectator Awards, awarded to restaurants with over 350 selections on their wine lists. This is followed by the Grand Awards for restaurants with over 1000 wine list selections, and which maintain the highest level of wine service.

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