Best Other Asian 2009

Gold: Spice Islands Indonesian

Silver: Café Kathmandu
Bronze: Banana Leaf
Honourable Mention: Wild Rice & Azia

At Kerrisdale’s Spice Islands (Gold) subtle Indonesian spicing reaches new heights with careful shadings of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chili. The menu at Café Kathmandu (Silver) reflects Nepal’s influences from neighbouring China, India, and Tibet, but Nepalese food is “lighter, brighter, and more restrained than that of its neighbours. Go for the bhatmaas,” suggested one judge. “It’s a surprise for the palate: crunchy toasted soybeans fried with minced ginger, garlic, and chilies, and tossed with coriander.” Banana Leaf wins Bronze for the sambal green beans, beef rendang, and black pepper Dungeness crab—all must-orders. Wild Rice’s invitingly decorated room (Honourable Mention) is the perfect venue for “the smartly crafted dishes that balance traditional Chinese cooking with modern sensibilities and easy-to-down cocktails vivid with ginger infusions, lychee juiciness, and lip-smacking tamarind.” Azia also earns Honourable Mention for beautifully presented dishes in a dramatic, modern room.