The Good Food Guide has officially gone national, handing out awards and hats to venues from around the nation on Monday 16 October.
While the top restaurant awards went to Melbourne and Sydney venues, the Guide has certainly cast its net further afield in 2018, recognising restaurants from Tasmanian and South Australia with individual awards.
The Vittoria Restaurant of the Year went to Melbourne’s Attica, with Good Food Guide co-editor Myffy Rigby commending the venue and its chef/owner for constantly pushing the envelope.
“There have been past highs, and plenty of them. But after a renovation this year, Attica feels like a restaurant reborn,” says Rigby.
“Service hums with renewed vigour, the dishes have both cohesion and a sense of place.”
Among the past highs, is Attica’s inclusion on the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurant’s list at number 32.
In another coup for Attica, Kylie Millar was named the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year for 2018. The ex-Masterchef contestant has been busy since she wrapped up her time on the show in 2012, working at Spain’s Mugaritz for two years before returning to Australia to work at Attica.
Sydney’s Saint Peter took out New Restaurant of the Year, representing a new breed of full-focus restaurants that have been popping up across Australia in recent years. Whether you call it nose-to-scale or gill-to-tail, chef Josh Niland’s restaurant has made a huge impact on the culinary scene in the last 12 months, with this award the latest in a long string of accolades.
Citi Chef of the Year was taken out by Daniel Puskas of Sixpenny in Sydney’s Stanmore. A former recipient of the presitigious Josephine Pignolet award, Puskas has been a star of the city’s dining scene for years but, according to Rigby, Sixpenny has really hit its stride the chef’s guidance.
Moving further south, Tasmania’s The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store was recognised as Vittoria’s Regional Restaurant of the Year. The recently opened venue offers a uniquely regional experience, with the menu combining technique and produce to showcase a strong sense of place.
South Australian favourites Africola and Restaurant Orana were recognised among the individual award winners too. Africola’s restaurant manager Nikki Friedli — who originally hails from the Northern Territory — was recognised with the Citi Service Excellence Award, while Jock Zonfrillo’s Orana Foundation took home the Food For Good Award. Earlier this year the Orana Foundation and the University of Adelaide teamed up to support the development of Australia’s native food industry.
The Vittoria Coffee Legend Award was posthumously bestowed to one of Australia’s most beloved chefs, Jeremy Strode. The highly regarded chef was recognised for his contribution, both to Australian dining and to the hospitality industry, over 27 years. Strode was particularly well-known for his willingness to mentor young chefs.
“His kindness, openness and his willingness to share his knowledge and his skills were legendary,” says Rigby. “They will be greatly missed.”
Bars have played an increasingly important role in Australia’s hospitality industry and the nation’s favourite drinking holes were also acknowledged at the awards ceremony.
Bar of the Year went to Victorian venue Arlechin, a new late-night bar by the Grossi family. Raul Moreno Yague of Osteria Ilaria, also in Victoria was awarded Sommelier of the Year and Aria Brisbane won Wine List of the Year with The Summertown Aristologist in South Australia winning Regional Wine List of the Year.
Hats off to venues from around the country at first national Good Food Guide awards
Six venues were awarded three hats this year. From New South Wales Quay and Sepia retained their three-hat status, as did Victoria’s Attica, Brae and Minamishima, with Urbane representing Brisbane among the nation’s best restaurants. Vue de Monde, Bridge Room and Esquire all dropped from three to two hats.
A total of 267 restaurants across the country were awarded one hat or more, with at least one venue from every state and territory in Australia receiving a hat in the inaugural national edition of the Good Food Guide. Click here to see your state or territory’s hatted restaurants.