Malaysian bar Omakase + Appreciate has been named among the top 10 bars in Asia, making it the first Malaysian F&B outlet to be voted to the Asia’s 50 Best lists.

The Kuala Lumpur cocktail bar placed No.10 on the inaugural Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2016 list, which was announced recently.

Singapore’s 28 Hongkong Street topped the list; others included bars from China, Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand. Singapore had nine bars in the top 50 (four of which were in the top 10), while Omakase + Appreciate was the only entry from Malaysia.

Being the only Malaysian outlet going up against some of the more established bars in Asia, Omakase + Appreciate founders Chong Yi Shawn and Karl Too did not have very high expectations initially.

“I won’t lie – it is quite satisfying to be ranked higher than certain bars in Japan and Hong Kong. I’m happy that our three years of hard work has been recognised,” Chong said in an e-mail interview.

Omakase + Appreciate

Chong and Karl Too of Omakase + Appreciate, which has placed in the Top 10 of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. Photo: Drinks International

“It means a lot as it does not only represent ourselves but also the Malaysian bar industry. To be among the best bars in Asia and yet claim the 10th spot is quite humbling for a small bar like ours to put Malaysia on the map. This is by far the biggest achievement for us.”

Too added: “This award absolutely elevates the quality of the Malaysia cocktail and hospitality industry to the next level. We never thought we able to achieve that for Malaysia.”

Founded in 2013, Omakase + Appreciate is a hidden cocktail bar that specialises in cocktails. A cosy cubbyhole that can fit 20-25 people max, the bar is located at the Ming Annexe building on Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur. The name comes from the word “Omakase”, which is Japanese for “I’ll leave it to you”, and is usually used in Japanese restaurants in which you leave it to the chef to use his creativity to prepare a meal that is off the menu, using the best possible ingredients.

Too reckons that the recognition means that they have to work even harder to maintain the standards they have achieved. “No doubt we have to work even harder than before. We will have to expand our expertise to strengthen and expanding our O+A branding, and continue refining the quality of our cocktails and the industry,” he said.

“As we are now no longer hidden (pun intended) from the eyes of the world, we will try to always be at the forefront for the growth of our Malaysian bar industry,” Chong added.

The Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2016 is the first regional spin-off from beverage magazine Drinks International’s renowned World’s 50 Best Bars Awards, which takes place annually in October. World’s 50 Best Bars is considered one of the most authoritative international bar surveys ever conducted. Entries are by nomination only, and the Asian list is voted on by 154 professionals from the bar industries of around 20 Asian countries.

While Asia’s 50 Best Bars is a new award, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants was launched four years ago but no Malaysian restaurant had made it to the list todate, making Omakase + Appreciate’s win even more significant and something to be celebrated.

The full list of winners is available at the World’s 50 Best Bars website (Worlds50bestbars.com/asia).

For more information on Omakase + Appreciate, visit their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/OmakaseAppreciate)