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Award Ceremony: Dianping’s Second Annual Black Pearl Awards Out, Contentious

Jan 11, 2019 | 10:31 Fri
Meituan Dianping have released their homegrown awards list for the second year in a row, and it’s… it’s… a work in progress. Called the Black Pearls, they work like the Michelin system: three pearls is the highest. I’m a supporter and more — I was a judge this year — based on the simple premise that I think Michelin is arrogant and outdated and I’m happy to see some competition trying to erode their influence. Did the Black Pearls get it all right this year? No. They are trying, but… no. They didn’t. Still, they did a good job with the more rarefied restaurants in the higher categories, and that’s a start. So who got Pearls?

Three Pearls

Ultraviolet, Paul Pairet's "psycho-taste" experiment
Fu He Hui, fine dining Chinese vegetarian food by Tony Lu
Jing Xi Hui, a Chaozhou restaurant with the English name Amazing Chinese Food

Two Pearls

8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, fancy Italian in Rockbund
Da Dong, just one of the Beijing duck / experimental wankery restaurants
Fu 1015, dressed-up Shanghainese, also by Tony Lu
Seventh Son (Jing’an store), a Cantonese offshoot of Fook Lam Moon, and rightly so
L’Atelier de Robuchon, chain restaurant
Le Comptoir de Pierre Gagnaire, another ageing celebrity chef
Le Rivage, French restaurant in Huangpu Park I'd never heard of
Ming Court, Cantonese fine dining in Hongqiao
Maggie 5, the site of that 400,000rmb Dubai prince meal earlier in 2018
Xin Rong Ji (Nanjing Xi Lu store), I concur
Yong Fu, high-end Ningbo food
Yong Yi Ting, high-end Shanghai, from Tony Lu (again)
River Drunk, a nice-looking Huaiyang restaurant in the Wanda Reign I had to look up

One Pearl

Too many, just too many. A few that jumped out at me:
Phenix, should have been two
Villa Le Bec, a solid one Pearl
Loushang Hot Pot, luxury dipping
Lei Garden, should have been two
Yu Zhi Lan, surprised it didn't rank higher, though I don't disagree

Curious? See the whole list here, though be prepared to read some Chinese restaurant names.


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