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, Sydney’s Quay has been named Australia’s Best Restaurant of the Year in the country’s longest-standing national restaurant awards.
Following an epic multimillion-dollar renovation that saw the harbourside restaurant close its doors for three months, Quay, led by internationally acclaimed chef Peter Gilmore, is back, and better than ever. Quay 2.0 redefines luxury dining in Australia with a stunning package of rare and wild ingredients, inspired cooking, genteel service, and a sublime setting.
Australia’s leading chefs and restaurateurs gathered at Restaurant Hubert in Sydney to attend the awards and launch the country’s national restaurant guide at a glam gala dinner hosted by Gourmet Traveller’s editor Sarah Oakes and chief restaurant critic Pat Nourse.
Josh Niland of Saint Peter in Sydney took out the peer-voted Chef of the Year, a remarkable turnaround hot on the heels of winning the Best New Talent award only 12 months before. The incredibly well-dressed team at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal took out a collective win for Maître d’ of the Year, and Emma Farrelly, who oversees not one but four lists at Perth’s State Buildings complex, won Sommelier of the Year.
It’s been a knockout year for regional restaurants. In addition to Ali Currey-Voumard, of The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery in Tasmania’s New Norfolk, winning Best New Talent, many regional establishments trumped their city cousins, including Laura, the glam eatery in a winery sculpture-park on the Mornington Peninsula that was named New Restaurant of the Year, and the awards’ first-ever regional Bar of the Year, Liberté, which at five hours’ drive south of Perth, is about as regional as a bar gets. On top of this, Brae, in the Otways of Victoria, won Regional Restaurant of the Year and scored three stars to boot.
Australia is also drinking more adventurously than ever. The Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality prize went to the Rootstock natural wine festival and Wine List of the Year was won by Hobart restaurant Franklin.
“Excellence is not something that’s in short supply in Australian hospitality right now,” says GT editor Sarah Oakes, “so it’s an incredibly challenging process to choose winners in a pool of talent that is so deep.”
“We’re incredibly fortunate at Gourmet Traveller to have such a wealth of exciting talent and great adventures to share with our readers,” says chief critic Pat Nourse. “This country punches so far above its weight – it’s fantastic.”
Here are the rest of the winners:
CHEF OF THE YEAR
Josh Niland – Saint Peter, Sydney
NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Laura, Merricks, Vic
BEST NEW TALENT
Ali Currey-Voumard – The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, New Norfolk, Tas
REGIONAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Brae, Birregurra, Vic
BAR OF THE YEAR
Liberté, Albany, WA
MAÎTRE D’ OF THE YEAR
The team from Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Melbourne
WINE LIST OF THE YEAR
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HOSPITALITY
Rootstock wine festival: Linda Wiss, Matt Young, Giorgio De Maria, James Hird and Mike Bennie
SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR
Emma Farrelly – State Buildings, Perth