The reviews are in, the guide is out, the forks are down and now it’s time to raise our glasses: presenting the winners of the 2014 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide Restaurant Awards.
Aug 19, 2013 6:34am
The reviews are in, the guide is out, the forks are down and now it's time to raise our glasses: presenting the winners of the 2014 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide Restaurant Awards.
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Restaurant of the YearMomofuku Seiobo, Sydney How can a restaurant with no phone number, a bathroom tucked behind its scullery and views to nothing but the inside of a casino possibly top the national rankings? With a cutting-edge kitchen, a far-sighted director and an international team of talented young chefs and waiters giving it their all, that's how. No one in Australia thinks global and acts local like the Seiobo team. It's not like any other Momofuku, nor is it like anything else in the country. It's an exciting place to eat, and best of all it gives a clear sense that it's still on the up. Get it while it's hot.
Photography Vanessa Levis
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Chef of the YearAndrew McConnell, Cutler & Co., Melbourne This award is peer-voted: we ask chefs from the Top 100 restaurants in the previous edition of the Restaurant Guide to name the Australian chef they most respect. This year, it was Andrew McConnell, chef and co-owner of Melbourne's Cutler & Co., Cumulus Inc., Golden Fields and Builders Arms who topped the list. With a clutch of the nation's best restaurants to his name, not to mention a reputation for hard work, professionalism and innovation, it's not hard to see why.
Photography Marcel Aucar
3 / 0
Outstanding Contribution to HospitalityGeorge Biron, chef For many chefs, the grow-your-own mantra is mostly marketing hot air, but for George Biron it's something he's lived for decades. At his farm, Sunnybrae (which he sold this year to chef Dan Hunter), an hour's drive west of Melbourne, he's been enormously influential in pioneering the paddock-to-plate philosophy, both in his acclaimed restaurant and in the cooking school that's seen thousands of students over the years sally forth into the surrounding paddocks and orchards to pick and forage before returning to the kitchen to cook the bounty.
Photography Sharyn Cairns
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NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEARMr Wong, Sydney Plenty of restaurants do great food. A smaller number do thousands of covers week in, week out. A very small number do both. A smaller number still start doing both from pretty much day one and then don't stop. With its smart menu and killer wine list, Mr Wong has raised the bar for big-box Cantonese dining in Australia. We can't get enough of it, and neither can the rest of the country's diners.
Photography Chris Chen
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REGIONAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEARThe Stackings, Woodbridge, Tas While The Stackings overdelivers on picture-perfect dining, with magnificent views across some of Tasmania's most southerly waterways, it would be for nothing if it wasn't for David Moyle's inspired cooking. They seem ethereally light but the flavours are strong. With only weekend lunches to worry about, and a three- and five-course menu he writes for each service, he has the sort of freedom and flexibility most chefs can only dream of. It's what good country dining is all about.
Photography Samuel Shelley
6 / 0
BEST NEW TALENTSam Ward, El Público, Perth Bringing truer tastes of Mexico to Australia is Sam Ward's mission, and Perth hotspot El Público is his stage. He can play it approachable or obscure as the moment demands, but regardless of where he's pitching his cooking, this much is certain: Ward's brand of Mexican is at once traditional, modern, fun and serious, and unlike any other in the country. And it's for this reason that Western Australia should be most thankful.
Photography Frances Andrijich
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Maîtres d’ of the YearAndrew Buchanan & Drew Patten, Urbane/The Euro, Brisbane Andrew Buchanan and Drew Patten have known each other for 20 years and have worked together at Urbane for eight, and the almost telepathic connection they have on the floor of their Brisbane restaurants is part of the magic of seeing them work. Patten has a sharp eye for the nuts and bolts of the business, while Buchanan is the all-seeing people person, ready to take whatever walks through the door. The result for customers is the sort of calm assurance during service that is the foundation of a great dining experience.
Photography AJ Moller
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Sommelier of the YearCampbell Burton, Moon Under Water, Melbourne If communicating with ease and enthusiasm is the sign of a good sommelier, there's little wonder Campbell Burton's been given the nod for this year's award. His ability to talk interestingly about wine and to put people at ease about stepping out of their comfort zone without feeling railroaded or condescended to has earned him a whole bunch of respect and a legion of fans. He's also deft at assembling an impressive, compact list or, in the case of the Builders Arms with its bar, bistro and restaurant, lists that are able to impress the buffs while still not making those popping in for an unfussy glass over a steak sandwich or a fish pie feel uncomfortable.
Photography James Geer
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Wine List of the YearMonopole, Sydney Nick Hildebrandt has been working up to this standout wine list at Monopole for a decade. Ever since his days as sommelier at Marque in the early 2000s and then at Bentley Restaurant & Bar, he's shown particular skill at introducing diners to top-quality bottles sourced from the classic temples and the most obscure backwaters of planet wine. It's not the longest list in the country. It doesn't try to be all things to all people. But if you're the kind of drinker who likes to explore the less well-known reaches of the wine world, it's a list that you can keep coming back to time after time without ever growing bored.
Photography Chris Chen
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Bar of the YearBar Di Stasio, Melbourne Bar Di Stasio is the standard-setter for what a good bar ought to be in Australia right now. The food is excellent and the drinks are strong and readily available. It's a bar that's both classic and original in a way that's hard to explain, its setting unique and a little bit magical. It's a place that makes more sense the longer you're in it, just as an Old Fashioned or great Negroni only really comes together once you start drinking it. Perhaps that's why a quick late-afternoon drink can so easily morph into a long evening session. There's a big whack of Italy in there and it's also inescapably Melburnian. But what it really is is 100 per cent Di Stasio.