The nation’s best place to eat was revealed at the Oscars of the Australian food world, the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards. Taking out the top spot, Melbourne’s Attica has been named Australia’s Restaurant of the Year in the country’s longest-standing national restaurant awards.
Attica has been evolving since it opened more than a decade ago but since New Zealand-born Ben Shewry’s buy-out of his business partners a few year back, the evolution has become bolder and more experimental. From the native ingredient-focused food on the plate to the restaurant’s culture, an always-interesting restaurant is morphing into something even more intriguing.
Australia’s leading chefs and restaurateurs gathered at Bennelong in the Sydney Opera House to attend the awards and launch the country’s national restaurant guide at a glam VIP event hosted by Gourmet Traveller’s General Manager, Publishing, Sally Eagle and Bauer Media Chief Executive Officer, Brendon Hill.
Well known for his culinary prowess, chef Paul Carmichael of Sydney’s Momofuko Seiobo took out the peer-voted Chef of the Year. Barbados-born Carmichael produces a cuisine that’s delves deep into the cuisines of the Caribbean in a fine-dining setting. The fresh, flavourful approach led the team to winning the 2017 Restaurant of the Year, this award recognises the continued evolution.
Some people just get hospitality, innately understanding that making people feel better about themselves is a noble calling. Joanna Smith, co-owner and wine guru at Igni, is a hospitality natural and took out the win for Maître d’ of the Year. On top of her game, Leanne Altmann, who’s official title is “beverage director” for all the McConnell restaurants in Melbourne won Sommelier of the Year. Wine List of the Year was won by new Sydney restaurant Mary’s Underground.
Alanna Sapwell, of Arc Dining and Wine Bar in Brisbane won Best New Talent. Sapwell has crammed in plenty to get to this point, a stint as head chef at Sydney’s Saint Peter, and spells in Japan and Italy as well as senior roles in Brisbane at Urbane and GOMA. At Arc she’s showing off her talent in a whole new setting.Di Stasio Città in Melbourne was awarded New Restaurant of the Year as well as the awards’ first ever- award for Best Design. Di Stasio Città creates an idiosyncratically beautiful space that’s part temple, part stage, part party. The result? Dining that’s fun, that makes you want to dress for dinner, drink another Martini, eat more than you should, and head back into the world all the better for it.
Is there a more exciting place to drink wine in Australia than Perth? In less than a year, Wines of While has established itself as ground zero for Perth’s natural-wine scene, for doing so, it’s a deserved winner of Bar of the Year. Brae in Birregurra in Victoria won Regional Restaurant of the Year for the second year running.
Kylie Kwong won this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality. With her restaurant, Billy Kwong, which closed this year, Kwong reminded us that a restaurant can be much more than a place to have dinner. For her it was a hub bringing together collaborators each with an interest in improving the world around them, and to establish a new model for Australian cuisine.
The award for Sustainability and Innovation, another new award, was won by Orana in Adelaide.
This year’s finalists highlight the depth of talent and innovation that exists in the Australian hospitality industry. The pressure to deliver excellence is immense and each and every one of our winners has done so consistently. Our readers trust us to find and share the very best Australia has to offer and we are delighted to celebrate tonight’s winners, who are truly world-class.GT editor Joanna Hunkin.
GOURMET TRAVELLER RESTAURANT AWARDS WINNERS Award winners:
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
• Attica, Melbourne
NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
• Di Stasio Città, Melbourne
CHEF OF THE YEAR:
• Paul Carmichael – Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HOSPITALITY:
• Kylie Kwong, Sydney
BAR OF THE YEAR:
• Wines of While, Perth
BEST NEW TALENT:
• Alanna Sapwell – Arc Dining & Wine Bar, Brisbane
WINE LIST OF THE YEAR:
• Mary’s Underground, Sydney
MAITRE D’ OF THE YEAR:
• Joanna Smith – Igni, Geelong, Victoria
SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR:
• Leanne Altmann – McConnell Group, Melbourne
REGIONAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR:
• Brae, Birregurra, Vic
• Di Stasio Città, Melbourne
SUSTAINABILITY & INNOVATION:
• Orana, Adelaide