The recognition was a long time coming but Helm, the fine dining restaurant of Fil-Brit Chef Josh Boutwood, has officially entered the 50 Best radar. The BGC haunt has been included in the prestigious 50 Best Discovery List, an expert-approved collection of superb dining and drinking destinations worldwide.
The citation only means that the 10-seater dining spot located at The Arya Residences in BGC, Taguig, is now one of just over 2,000 venues on the planet that pride themselves as part of en elite collection of restaurants and bars, joining some of the best and most sought-after food destinations patronized by discerning gourmands.
The 50 Discovery List curates its selection based on responses from their “global voting academies,” who name the best restaurants and bars as part of the lists for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, The World’s 50 Best Bars, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Asia’s 50 Best Bars and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.
It provides a recommended listing for its 2 million or so followers to explore in their travels, providing a roadmap of where to dine and drink across Asia, Europe and the Americas.
The Helm entry in the 50 Discovery list mentions Boutwood’s roots—Filipino father (who used to run the legendary Friday’s in Boracay), British mother, childhood spent in Spain—and his restaurant’s “delicate, technically complex dishes.” It commends the kitchen’s focus on “seasonality and local ingredients” which the write up recognizes as Boutwood’s “nod to his time under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, England.”
The writeup also notes the “artful presentation – think colourful powders and crab fat broth served in a shell – has more than a familiar resemblance to certain dishes from Noma, Denmark,” adding Boutwood also spent time in the Noma kitchen. “With just ten seats around a U-shaped counter, Helm offers serious gastronomes an unmissable chance to watch one of Asia’s most exciting young chefs create culinary magic.”
Meanwhile, food writers and colleagues here in Manila recognize Boutwood as one the best working now in the country, offering some of the most delicious innovations in dining options to the Filipino palate in recent years. His other restaurants are Test Kitchen Manila and Savage. In 2012, he joined The Bistro Group as executive corporate chef.
Boutwood is known for his penchant for using unique ingredients that he weaves into his elegant and ingenious dishes, turning humble local produce into spectacular experiences for his picky clientele. At Helm, the chef oftentimes serves his 11-course degustacion menu based on certain themes like colors, for instance. Nonetheless, a visit is always a multi-cuisine gastronomic experience.
Boutwood says he is ecstatic about Helm’s inclusion in the 50 Discovery List. “These are challenging times but we shall continue to press on. It’s nice to have some good news for a change,” he says. “This wouldn’t have been possible without those who worked with us in the past, our managers and our customers. I believe that this recognition is going to be a major part of the recovery of the restaurant industry, when our economy opens up and our guests can once again indulge in gastronomic experiences. It will be a significant boost to Helm.”
For more information, visit @helmmnl.