Sydney eatery Rockpool has beaten a very competitive field to be named Australia’s new Restaurant of the Year.
Launching the country’s only national restaurant guide last night at an Italo disco-themed awards ceremony at Sydney’s Carriageworks, Gourmet Traveller’s editors singled out the landmark restaurant for its glamorous and grown-up take on fine dining. In making the announcement they paid tribute to the Sydney restaurant, saying it was the whole package, with spectacular and inventive food from Neil Perry and Phil Wood, a deep bench of talent working its floor, a luxe room, exciting cellar, and savvy, welcoming service from its star sommelier. “This isn’t hospitality cribbed from the internet and practised in the mirror,” they said. “This is the real thing.”
Winners of the awards came from all over the country. Australia’s Bar of the Year is Brisbane favourite The Gresham, while Regional Restaurant of the Year is ambitious Byron Bay newcomer Three Blue Ducks. Melbourne scored with Vanessa Crichton of Rosetta taking out Maître d’ of the Year, and Raffaele Mastrovincenzo from Kappo winning Sommelier of the Year. Dan Hunter, of Brae in country Victoria, took out the top spot in the peer-voted Chef of the Year award.
Sydney wasn’t left out, with the New Restaurant of the Year award going to Bennelong. Lennox Hastie, a chef who cooks only with fire at his Surry Hills restaurant, Firedoor, is Best New Talent, and Billy Kwong won Wine List of the Year.
“We’ve got a room full of really exciting talent,” says GT chief restaurant critic, Pat Nourse. “The overall standard in this country, whether it’s in cafés, bars, casual eateries or the finest of diners, is on the up, and that’s a win for Australians who love eating out. It just goes to show that Australia is truly a great destination for people who love to eat, drink and have fun.”
“Our restaurant scene is so vibrant, diverse and exciting,” says GT editor, Anthea Loucas, “it’s a real honour and a pleasure for us to be able to celebrate it through these awards, our restaurant guide and in every issue of Gourmet Traveller.”
Details of all the winners are in the September issue of Gourmet Traveller, on newsstands with the new edition of the national Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant Guide, presented by Vittoria Coffee, and supporting sponsors Ilve, Uniworld and Sydney Kitchens, on Thursday 20 August.
AUSTRALIAN GOURMET TRAVELLER RESTAURANT AWARDS WINNERS
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Rockpool, Sydney, NSW
CHEF OF THE YEAR
Dan Hunter, Brae, Birregurra
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HOSPITALITY
Joost Bakker, sustainability activist
NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Bennelong, Sydney, NSW
WINE LIST OF THE YEAR
Billy Kwong, Sydney
SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR
Raffaele Mastrovincenzo, Kappo, Sydney
MAÎTRE D’ OF THE YEAR
Vanessa Crichton, Rosetta, Melbourne
BEST NEW TALENT
Lennox Hastie, Firedoor, Sydney
REGIONAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Three Blue Ducks, Byron Bay, NSW
BAR OF THE YEAR
The Gresham, Brisbane
The Bridge Room, Sydney
Vue de Monde, Melbourne
Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney