The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

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Australia's top 20 rieslings
22.02.2017

We’re spoilt for variety – and value – in Australia when it comes to good riesling. Max Allen picks the top 20 from a fine crop.

Recipes by Christine Manfield
21.02.2017

As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

Normandy landings
20.02.2017

To travel to Normandy along the Seine is to take it by stealth, writes Larissa Dubecki, who ventured forth in search of chateaux and Calvados.

Cirrus, Sydney review
20.02.2017

Cirrus moves the Bentley team down to the water and into more lighthearted territory without sacrificing polish, writes Pat Nourse.

How to grow rocket
20.02.2017

A vegetable patch without rocket lacks a great staple, according to Mat Pember. The perennial performer is a leaf for all seasons.

50BestTalks brings World’s best chefs to Sydney and Melbourne
16.02.2017

Massimo Bottura and more are coming to the Sydney Opera House.

Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017

Expect Mexican-Asian flavours and an all-natural wine list from two of Sydney’s edgier operators.

Local Knowledge: Moscow
16.02.2017

Director of Shakespeare theatre company Cheek by Jowl Declan Donnellan walks us through the essential sights and his favourite cafes and restaurants of his hometown.

And the winners are...

"Very nice, thank you" was chef Andrew McConnell's not quite numerically accurate response when asked for a three-word summation of his feelings about Cutler & Co. being named Australian Restaurant of the Year. Pascale Gomes-McNabb, the restaurant's designer, was more succinct: "It's f***ing awesome".

"That's absolutely frightening," McConnell said as he accepted the award. "This award is not about me, it's about Cutler & Co. It's about an incredible front-man, Adam Cash, a seriously hot sommelier, Sally Humble, and a very talented designer, Pascale Gomes-McNabb. I'd also like to thank my right-hand man, John Paul [Twomey], the head chef of Cutler & Co., who I've been fortunate enough to work with for over six years now." McConnell also thanked his business partners, Frank and Sharon van Haandel, before his words were drowned by applause.

It was, safe to say, a decision that went over well with the assembly of Australia's top cooks, waiters, wine people and bartenders. It probably didn't hurt that this year's major winner was named in Melbourne, at that most Melbourne of Melbourne restaurants, Flower Drum.

The announcement of the top spot in the nation's 100 best restaurants was the culmination of six months' hard slog by GT's reviewers. It was also the highlight of a very special evening. Though Flower Drum rarely hosts events of this kind, chef Anthony Lui and manager Jason Lui pulled out all the stops to make it a night to remember. The Drum is well staffed at all times, but reinforcements were called in nonetheless, resulting in what almost seemed to be a waiter for every two diners. Spring onion pastries and tempura-like fried garfish fillets made superb canapés (we couldn't keep Neil Perry away, truth be told), and other highlights were crab-rich Shanghai-style steamed dumplings with red vinegar, and deeply savoury slices of Blackmore full-blood wagyu beef cheek braised with ginger, red date and garlic.

Channel Nine's Leila McKinnon, meanwhile, kept things fresh as host. "I only wish the Logies were this fast-paced," she said, "and I think you know which awards ceremony has the better food." Between McKinnon's jokes and glamour and the photographers staking out the entrance, the Oscars-of-food buzz was greater than ever. On the drinks front, our partners at Signé, the premium drinks division of Pernod Ricard Australia, contributed plenty of élan, from the Perrier-Jouët Champagne apéritifs to the after-party's Chivas Regal nightcaps. In addition to our sponsors Signé, Ilve, Vittoria Coffee, Qantas and Škoda, we thank the chefs and restaurant people of Australia, not to mention the diners and drinkers, for making this such an interesting business to write and read about. "Vision, team, result," was Cutler & Co. maître d' (and Maître d' of the Year nominee) Adam Cash's three-word take on their success, but we'd like to run with Sally Humble's slightly longer offering: "Cheers to you guys."

More Restaurant Awards

To find out who won the other awards in the Gourmet Traveller 2011 Restaurant Awards, check out our Restaurant Awards section, including coverage of previous years, video footage from the awards ceremony and much more.  

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