On a high note

  • Sarah Doyle, George Calombaris and Adriano Zumbo

  • Jason Scott and Anton Forte

  • Lobster ravioli with black truffle

  • Giorgio de Maria, Luke Burgess and Andrew Cibej.

  • Justin and Mr John Hemmes with Tetsuya Wakuda

  • Kylie Kwong, Diego Munoz and Luke Burgess

  • Guillaume and Bennelong

  • Neil Perry and Matt Moran

  • Mark and Valerie Best

  • Yves Camdeborde, Leila McKinnon and Guillaume Brahimi

"Pleased and overwhelmed and surprised," was Mark Best's reaction as he and Valerie Best stepped to the stage when their Sydney restaurant Marque was named the nation's best at the GT Restaurant Awards. Marque's win was the culmination of a top-10 countdown of the country's three-star restaurants. In accepting the award, chef Best paid tribute to "heroes" such as Tetsuya Wakuda and Neil Perry, who inspired him and Valerie when they first started in the restaurant business (you can check out the full list of winners and the online version of the 2012 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide here).

It was the peak of a night packed with good reason (and even better means) to celebrate. The awards launched the latest edition of the new GT Restaurant Guide, but also marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of co-sponsor Perrier-Jouët, and with brand manager Julien Marteau on hand, fine vintage Champagne was in no short supply. Meanwhile, Adrian Hondros of our other partner, Commonwealth Private, wowed the crowd by being far wittier a public speaker than any banker has a right to be. The Opera House setting was magical, and Nine's Leila McKinnon, returning in her role as host, added a further note of glamour to proceedings (check out our coverage of the event at Guillaume at Bennelong above).

It's hard to overstate how professionally the Bennelong team, headed by Piers Ursell on the floor and Guillaume Brahimi in the kitchen, ran the evening. Guest chef Yves Camdeborde exchanged his St-Germain bistro Le Comptoir for the harbourside setting for the night with the help of our friends at Qantas, and presented a menu that married ingredients humble and luxe to capture the élan of bistronomy. The Wine & Truffle Co, Joto fishmongers and providore Simon Johnson brought the best local and imported produce to the party.

Following canapés of Brahimi's signature blue swimmer crab sandwiches came a moelleux of smoked haddock. Camdeborde infused potatoes with the flavour of the smoked fish, then whipped them into a creamy mousse and topped them with a crustacean jelly generously spiked with Sterling caviar. Ravioli of lobster followed, played off against the earthiness of truffles, crisp shavings of chestnut and crunchy buckwheat suspended in a hay bouillon. The final savoury course saw a hefty piece of foie gras wrapped in quail, wrapped again in Savoy cabbage leaves, poached and set on a celeriac purée. And truffles. Lots more truffles.

The flavours of pear and chocolate were Camdeborde's salute to another bistro staple, poire Belle Hélène, before the night dissolved into petits fours, Vittoria Coffee, Chivas Regal, and a chef-led lock-in at Surry Hills, Sydney, wine bar 121BC, but not without the parting gift of show bags loaded with freshly baked loaves from bakers-to-the-stars Iggy's Bread. A fitting end to a fabulous night.

"I am very emotional to be here tonight, but also very flattered to be asked to do this dinner," said Camdeborde to the assembled chefs and supporters. "I hope you enjoyed eating this as much as I enjoyed cooking it."

The GT Restaurant Guide will be available for download later this month from Apple's App Store (read more about it here).


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
The GT x STILY Christmas Boutique is now open
21.11.2017
Christmas gifts at the GT x STILY Christmas Boutique
17.11.2017
Support young chefs raising money for mental health
16.11.2017
The 2017 Margaret River Gourmet Escape program
09.11.2017
The GT x STILY Christmas Boutique is back
01.11.2017
Where to watch the 2017 Melbourne Cup
24.10.2017
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

2010 Restaurant Awards night

The 2010 Restaurant Awards were celebrated in style at Rockp...

2010 Restaurant Awards

We’ve downed forks, the votes are in, and we are proud to pr...

2011 GT Restaurant Awards winners

We’ve downed forks, the votes are in, and we’re proud to pre...

2011 Restaurant Awards nominees

Want a snapshot of the movers and shakers in the Australian ...

2011 GT Restaurant Awards event

Melbourne's Flower Drum was the scarlet setting this year fo...

2012 Restaurant Awards nominees

The hottest (and coolest) places to imbibe and graze have be...

2012 Restaurant Awards event

Australia’s restaurant stars took a well-deserved night off ...

2012 GT Restaurant Awards winners

We’ve cleaned our plates, we’ve drained our glasses, and we’...

2013 Restaurant Awards nominees

If you’re an adventurous diner, times have never been better...

GT 2013 Restaurant Awards event

Gourmet Traveller’s team of 60 reviewers has eaten its way f...

GT 2013 Restaurant Awards winners

We’ve made our decisions and folded our napkins. Please rais...

2014 GT Restaurant Awards nominations

The Oscars of the open mouth, the Nobel Prize of noble provi...

2014 GT Restaurant Awards winners

The reviews are in, the guide is out, the forks are down and...

Brisbane's top nine restaurants 2014

Looking for the best restaurants in Brisbane? Here's our top...

New South Wales' best regional restaurants 2014

Looking for the best restaurants in regional New South Wales...