Dan Hunter’s Brae has been named Restaurant of the Year at The Age Good Food Guide Awards, held in Melbourne on 12 September.

The restaurant, located in Birregurra, was referred to as “Victoria’s most detail-oriented but also relaxing restaurant”, and was accompanied by fellow regional restaurant, Igni, which is located in Geelong and picked up two awards: Regional Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year for co-owner and chef Aaron Turner.

Further bolstering the reputation of regional dining, the People’s Choice Award went to Ezard @ Levantine Hill in the Yarra Valley, and the number of regional restaurants awarded two hats out of a possible three has also increased from five to seven.

Three Melbourne restaurants received three chefs’ hats (denoting a score of 18 or more out of 20) – Attica, Vue de Monde and last year’s Restaurant of the Year, Minamishima. Last year, only Attica received three hats.

The Best New Restaurant award went to CBD wine bar Embla, operated by the team behind Carlton’s Town Mouse.

The Young Chef of the Year title, chosen by industry veterans Alla Wolf-Tasker, Philippe Mouchel and Frank Camorra, was awarded to Jarrod Di Blasi from the two-hat Melbourne restaurant Ezard.

On the drinks front, Wine List of the Year was presented to Andrew McConnell’s Fitzroy wine bar Marion, Regional Wine List of the Year went to Provenance in Beechworth, and the Sommelier of the Year is Jordan Marr of new Melbourne laneway restaurant Oter.

Heartbreaker was named Bar of the Year, and the Donlevy Fitzpatrick Award, which honours restaurant-quality food in a bar setting, was claimed by Bar Liberty in Fitzroy.

 New to the guide this year is the Cafe of the Year award, acknowledging a cafe with integrity, dedication and high quality coffee. Melbourne CBD newcomer Higher Ground is the inaugural recipient.

In a departure from previous years, only restaurants scoring 14 or more out of 20 are reviewed in the forthcoming guide. Editor Roslyn Grundy said “This sets a new benchmark for restaurant quality and reflects the increasingly high standards in the Australian dining scene. It allows us to focus on the exceptional restaurants, and devote more space to cafes, cheap eats, bars and unsung suburbs, where many of us are spending our dining dollars today.”

A total of 16 awards were presented.

  1. Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year: Brae (Birregurra)
  2. Best New Restaurant: Embla (Melbourne)
  3. People’s Choice Award: Ezard @ Levantine Hill (Coldstream)
  4. Citi Chef of the Year: Aaron Turner, Igni (Geelong)
  5. Young Chef of the Year: Jarrod Di Blasi, Ezard (Melbourne)
  6. Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year: Igni (Geelong)
  7. Food For Good Award: StreetSmart Australia
  8. Best Cheap Eat: Hem 27 (Flemington)
  9. Cafe of the Year: Higher Ground (Melbourne)
  10. Citi Service Excellence: Caterina Borsato, Caterina’s Cucina e Bar (Melbourne)
  11. Vittoria Coffee Legend (for an outstanding long-term contribution to the industry): Jean-Paul Prunetti and Geraud Fabre, France-Soir (South Yarra)
  12. Bar of the Year: Heartbreaker (Melbourne)
  13. Donlevy Fitzpatrick Award (honouring restaurant-quality food in a bar setting): Bar Liberty (Fitzroy)
  14. Champagne Taittinger Sommelier of the Year: Jordan Marr, Oter (Melbourne)
  15. Wine List of the Year: Marion (Fitzroy)
  16. Regional Wine List of the Year: Provenance (Beechworth)

Hatted restaurants:

City & suburbs

Three hats

Attica (Ripponlea), Minamishima (Richmond), Vue de Monde (Melbourne)

Two hats

Circa (St Kilda), Cutler & Co (Fitzroy), Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (Southbank), Estelle by Scott Pickett (Northcote), Ezard (Melbourne), Flower Drum (Melbourne), Grossi Florentino Upstairs (Melbourne), Lume (South Melbourne), Matteo’s (Fitzroy North), The Press Club (Melbourne), Rockpool Bar & Grill (Southbank), Saint Crispin (Collingwood), Spice Temple (Southbank), Woodland House (Prahran)

One hat

Amaru (Armadale), Anchovy (Richmond), Bacash (South Yarra), Bar Lourinha (Melbourne), Bistro Guillaume (Southbank), Cafe Di Stasio (St Kilda), Cecconi’s Flinders Lane (Melbourne), Centonove (Kew), Coda (Melbourne), Cumulus Inc. (Melbourne), Dandelion (Elwood), Donovans (St Kilda), Easy Tiger Smith St (Collingwood), Elyros (Camberwell), Embla (Melbourne), Epocha (Carlton), European (Melbourne), French Saloon (Melbourne), The Grand (Richmond), Highline at the Railway Hotel (Windsor), Ides (Collingwood), Il Bacaro (Melbourne), Kappo (Melbourne), Lee Ho Fook (Melbourne), Longrain (Melbourne), Maha (Melbourne), Marion (Fitzroy), Merricote (Melbourne), Mister Jennings (Richmond), MoVida (Melbourne), Noir (Richmond), Nora (Carlton), O.My (Beaconsfield), Oter (Melbourne), Pei Modern (Melbourne), The Point Albert Park (Albert Park), Rosetta (Southbank), Sarti (Melbourne), Supernormal (Melbourne), Tipo 00 (Melbourne), Tonka (Melbourne), The Town Mouse (Carlton), Union Dining (Melbourne)


Three hats

Brae (Birregurra)

Two hats

Fen (Port Fairy), Igni (Geelong), Lake House (Daylesford), Provenance (Beechworth), Royal Mail Hotel (Dunkeld), Stefano’s (Mildura), Ten Minutes by Tractor (Main Ridge)

One hat

A La Grecque (Aireys Inlet), Catfish (Ballarat), Eleonore’s (Yering), Ezard @ Levantine Hill (Coldstream), Gladioli (Inverleigh), The Good Table (Castlemaine), Healesville Hotel (Healesville), Kazuki’s (Daylesford), Masons of Bendigo (Bendigo), Montalto (Red Hill South), Paringa Estate (Red Hill South), Patricia’s Table (Milawa), Pickled Pig (Warrnambool), Port Phillip Estate (Red Hill South), Public Inn (Castlemaine), Simones (Bright), Source Dining (Kyneton), Tani Eat & Drink (Bright), Terrace Restaurant (Wahgunyah), Tulip (Geelong)


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