Header image, clockwise from top left: tiradito at Gallery Vask; Aziamendi's impressive façade; marron, aniseed myrtle at Orana (image: Matthew Turner)
From blood sausage 'sangas' to smoky foie gras ashes, there's no shortage of creative plates across the dining scenes of Australasia and South East Asia – as you can tell from the second in our Diners Club® 50 Best Discovery Series 2015-16.
As inspiration for your next culinary adventure, we've rounded up six trending restaurants in the region, all of which have received votes from The Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, the international panel behind the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Enjoy the trip.
1. Aziamendi – Phuket, Thailand
40/14 Moo 6 Baan Natai, T. Khokkloi A. Takuathung, Phang-Nga 82140
+66 (0) 8300 65 277
Why does it sound familiar? A paradise for globe-trotting foodies, Aziamendi is the Thai outpost of superstar Basque chef Eneko Atxa, owner of Azurmendi, No.19 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Part of the luxurious Iniala Beach House resort, Aziamendi serves cutting edge dishes that take inspiration from Spain and Thailand.
What's special about it? Diners are served different courses in different parts of the restaurant, starting with the Iniala art gallery, before moving outside to the garden, then on to the kitchen and finishing in the dining room.
2. Gallery Vask – Manila, Philippines
5/F Clipp Center, 11th Avenue/ corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 1634 Metro, Manila
+63 917 546 1673
Why visit? An integral part of a high-concept art gallery, this 20-cover restaurant is a true one-off, fusing avant-garde European techniques with Filipino ingredients and traditions.
What to eat: Choose between the 'sensory journey' of the 'Alamat' tasting menu or the more concise 'Lakbay' menu. Dishes created in the open kitchen include a kind of tiradito, which reworks a traditional Filipino raw fish recipe with tuna loin, covered in a sweet and sharp gel and pickled seaweed, or 'buen viaje' – a combination of sticky rice, mango and tablea (Filipino chocolate).
3. Wild Rocket – Singapore
10A Upper Wilkie Rd, Singapore 228119
+65 6339 9448
Left: pomelo salad with tiger prawns and frozen coconut dressing. Right: beef short rib rendang
What's it all about? Chef Willin Low reinterprets the street food of his youth with a contemporary cooking style that has become known as Mod Sin (modern Singaporean).
What's on the menu? The street food hawkers of Singapore's bustling stalls are the inspiration, but there are also nods to Western cuisine in dishes such as chilli spanner crab linguini and 48-hour beef short ribs with kailan (Chinese kale), shiitake and mash. Get a taste of everything by ordering the omakase menu, served at the central chef's table.
Discover more about Wild Rocket
4. Ester – Sydney, Australia
46/52 Meagher St, Chippendale NSW 2008
+61 (02) 8068 8279
Blood sausage 'sanga' (Image: Mat Lindsay)
Why visit? This is one of Sydney's hottest restaurants – and not just because of the huge wood-fired oven in the open kitchen. Ester serves small plates that are big on flavour.
What's the food like? Think charred meat, fermented vegetables and wonderful homemade bread. Stand-out dishes include blood sausage 'sanga' – a small morcilla sausage perched on a piece of bread with a squirt of aioli – and cauliflower dressed with toasted almonds, almond cream and mint. Finish with 'three milks': dulce de leche, ricotta panacotta and sheep's milk foam.
5. Orana – Adelaide, Australia
285 Rundle St, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
+61 (08) 8232 3444
Wild peas, cinnamon myrtle (Image: Matthew Turner)
The lowdown: He was born in Scotland and has Italian roots, but chef Jock Zonfrillo's spiritual home is Australia. His Adelaide restaurant houses a lively ground floor bar and street food joint, but it is the intimate dining room of Orana upstairs where he gives full expression to his love of Australia's unique ingredients and aboriginal food culture.
On the menu: The tasting menu changes with the seasons, but stand-outs could include emu with wild plum and mountain pepper or saltbush (a native shrub) with black garlic and buffalo curd. Set buttermilk with strawberry and eucalyptus makes for a creamy finish.
Discover more about Orana
6. Franklin – Hobart, Australia
28 Argyle St, Hobart, Tasmania
+61 (03) 6234 3375
Why visit? Tasmania's stunning natural produce has a new champion in Franklin's co-owner and head chef David Moyle, who cranks out deceptively simple seafood dishes from a customised 10-tonne oven nicknamed 'the beast'.
What to eat: The menu changes daily depending on what local foragers and farmers bring, but expect steamed periwinkles with aioli and housemade bread and butter or urchin with leek and nasturtium leaf, followed by seared bonito with a nettle sauce.
Discover more about Franklin