The Sydney Morning Herald 2017 Good Food Guide award winners

Quay's aged black pig pancetta with walnuts and grains.
Quay's aged black pig pancetta with walnuts and grains. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year

Ticks every box. The winner does not need to receive three hats but must capture the mood of the city right now and exemplify what it means to be a world-class restaurant.

Quay

Sydney Good Food Guide Awards 2017

See which top chefs get their hats at the restaurant industry's night of nights, the Good Food Guide awards 2017.

Hot damn but if this isn't Quay at its peak. Between Peter "master of the rare and strange" Gilmore's mud crab congee – the country's most luxurious comfort dish – and a member of the floor staff subtly taking a white napkin to be replaced with a black (just in case the white leaves any threads on a dark outfit) and the smart, snappy wine matches, it's hard to find fault here. This is world-class dining at its sparkling best delivered with ease and beauty. So Sydney but also, so anywhere.

The new Tetsuya - Federico Zanellato of Lumi Bar & Dining.

The new Tetsuya - Federico Zanellato of Lumi Bar & Dining. Photo: James Brickwood

Citi Chef of the Year

To acknowledge those with the craft and ability to make a real difference to the way we dine now and in the future.

Federico Zanellato, LuMi Bar & Dining

The ex-head chef of Ormeggio took a gamble last year opening on the water in Pyrmont. And it's a gamble that's paid off. His fusing of Japanese technique to an Italian-leaning menu has knocked the socks off Sydney. Whether it's harnessing the delicacy of his parmesan chawanmushi, or the unadulterated pleasure of a soft fillet of snapper with the tiniest hint of a praline potato crunch, both are measures of his seemingly effortless skill.

Nostalgia, good times and romance at Restaurant Hubert.

Nostalgia, good times and romance at Restaurant Hubert. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Best New Restaurant

The most exciting opening in the past 12 months, this restaurant sets the eating agenda and starts conversations.

Restaurant Hubert

There's very little not to love about this French beauty. Hug those highly glossed wooden curves as you descend. Drink deep from the cocktail bar off to the left that looks like it's been there forever and seen a thousand things. Then repair to the dining room replete with tiny stage for fading torch singers and impromptu piano performances. There are even individual banquettes by the second bar so punters can get a slice of the dining action while reclining with a pastis fizz. C'est bloody bonne.

Australian coastal cuisine at Paper Daisy

Australian coastal cuisine at Paper Daisy. Photo: Supplied

Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year

The best outside Sydney. The winning establishment must provide a restaurant experience comparable to anything in the city but remain uniquely regional.

Paper Daisy

Some chefs feel their wings clipped by the restrictions of a regional restaurant. Others spread their wings and fly. Few soar higher than former Esquire head chef Ben Devlin at Paper Daisy, the deliciously styled restaurant at the North Coast's most head-turning boutique beachside hotel. Devlin combines foraged native ingredients, top local produce, a charcoal grill and

a boundary-stretching restlessness to redefine Australian regional cuisine. It's there in the simplicity of paperbark- grilled fish and coal-roasted young lamb. This is classy, generous cooking, backed by an idyllic, laid-back location, helpful service and heaps of charm.

Citi Service Excellence

To honour an individual's outstanding level of service and contribution to the hospitality industry.

Astrid McCormack, Fleet

There's very little room for error when you run a restaurant with no cool room, an open kitchen, a constantly changing wine list and 22 seats. Especially when you're doing all of this in sleepy Brunswick Heads on the north coast. That's no easy task, in an area that relies on summer beach lovers for most of its trade. So more power to sommelier/restaurateur Astrid McCormack who runs not just a tight ship, but a very, very friendly one. Quick and professional, an intuitive attitude to wine service and a preternatural skill for knowing what a customer needs before they do, she brings the restaurant to life.

Multi-skilled juggernaut, Leon Fink.

Multi-skilled juggernaut, Leon Fink. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Vittoria Coffee Legend

For outstanding long-term contribution to the industry, chosen from a short list by Les Schirato of Vittoria Coffee.

Leon Fink, group chairman of the Fink Group

An intellectual renegade, risk taker, aesthete (Germaine Greer once described him as "the most upsettingly beautiful man" she'd ever met) and philanthropist, Leon Fink is a multi- skilled juggernaut. He's been instrumental in effecting social and political change in Australia. Not to mention the fact he's also an avid gardener – a passion that's allowed him to design and curate the Australian section of the Israel Botanic Gardens. On top of all this, Leon Fink's passion for hospitality has seen him, along with his son John, create one of the most powerful and successful restaurant empires in the country.

Wine matching alchemist, Tim Watkins.

Wine matching alchemist, Tim Watkins. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Champagne Taittinger Sommelier of the Year

The successful wine professional is able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of their subject, while helping to influence and educate diners. They must be personable, inclusive, curious and driven to constantly deliver the highest level of service.

Tim Watkins, Automata

Tim Watkins is the epitome of the Australian sommelier. Knowledgeable, hospitable and an excellent communicator. But what sets Watkins apart is his alchemical skill when it comes to food and wine matching. The synergy between chef and sommelier is a clear and present statement at Automata. Watkins' smart use of all the beverages in his sommelier toolkit is what modern dining is all about. Oh, and don't tell him we told you, but he can also sing "happy birthday" in Italian.

Wine List of the Year

A diverse and high-quality by-the-glass selection alongside an accessible bottle list that displays a good range of vintages and complements the restaurant's food and style.

Monopole

It's a fine line between a wine list that can challenge your drinking habits while maintaining the culture of comfort. At Monopole, that line is both assured and brilliantly clear. In a city that can swing in both directions of the vinous pendulum, you'd be hard pressed to find a list that both acknowledges wine drinking trends yet anchors itself in quality and classicism.

Regional Wine List of the Year

Honouring a wine list outside Sydney that displays a diverse selection that complements the restaurant's food and style while reflecting the unique qualities of the region.

Fleet

Controversially – or not, really, when you think about the direction many wine lists around the country are going – this award goes to a restaurant that very rarely has a list at all. Such is the ever-evolving nature of sommelier/restaurant manager Astrid McCormack's wine list, where one day you might be drinking Sierra Du Sud and the next, maybe it'll be the country's only Kosher rose made in the Hunter Valley. Then again, maybe it'll be neither. And therein lies the joy of drinking here, where you might just as easily drop by for a cocktail and a sweetbreads sandwich. Fleet by name, fleeting by nature.

On the cans Continental Deli Bar and Bistro.

On the cans at Continental Deli Bar and Bistro. Photo: Sarah Keayes

Bar of the Year

The best all-round bar that nails service, drinks, vibe and decor.

Continental Deli Bar & Bistro

Fans of tinned fish, meats and cheeses can pretty much just pick up and set sail for Australia Street now and never look back. Here you can buy just about anything fit to be canned from cocktails to T-shirts. For real. You'd be remiss not to barrel up to the bar, empty your wallet and tell bartender/co-owner Michael Nicolian to have at it. Whether it's a straight daiquiri or a glass of sherry, he's unrivalled when it comes to an improved gin cocktail. Nicolian is also the gentleman genius behind the Canhattan: the cocktail Sydney never knew it needed until it tried one.

Share a blooming onion at Bar Brose.

Share a blooming onion at Bar Brose. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Best Bar Food

Not just a place to get a drink, this venue serves restaurant-quality, booze-friendly food in a bar setting.

Bar Brosé

There are so many lines being blurred at Bar Brosé, it's not easy to focus. It's called a bar, but everyone is eating. It's breezy and informal, yet the kitchen is serious. The menu lists poulet au vin jaune from the French Alps, spaghetti carbonara from Rome, and a ham and pineapple jaffle from late nights everywhere. It's like your whole week of eating played out at random.

Best Cheap Eat

An award to celebrate great food that's also easy on the wallet.

Bovine & Swine Barbecue Co.

You'll smell it before you see it. That earthy, meaty, smoky, almost tangible smell of barbecue that hits you full force as soon as you're within 50 metres of the place. This is the work of Anton Hughes and "Hillbilly" Wes Griffiths. Together, they're hell-bent on bringing the bare-knuckle taste of Texas barbecue to Enmore. And Enmore has responded extremely enthusiastically.

The achingly cool Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills.

The achingly cool Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills. Photo: Paramount Coffee Project Sydney

Cafe of the Year

A new award acknowledging cafes with integrity, dedication and damn good coffee.

Paramount Coffee Project On top of being one of the most impressively designed cafes to have opened in Sydney in the past five years, PCP also has one of the strongest food-to-coffee-deliciousness ratios in town. Oily ristrettos and creamy flat whites are joined by cold drip coffee and cold turmeric drinks. Barley porridge and grilled mandarin appear on the menu along with baked eggs and – hooray for all things fatty – there's chicken and waffles. Next door, Golden Age Cinema runs screenings and serves cocktails and, if that wasn't achingly cool enough for you, Vice occupies an office upstairs. There's a second cafe in LA, too.

Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year

To acknowledge our best and brightest rising stars of the kitchen.

Noel Jelfs

There really is something to be said for a young chef whose passion is so firmly entrenched in the classics. Meet Noel Jelfs, a Rockpool graduate with big aspirations. When his head isn't buried in copies of Larousse or Escoffier, he's whipping pommes fondant, salade Lyonnaise and chateaubriand. That's at home in his spare time. For now, he's working the pans at Neil Perry's newly opened restaurant Eleven Bridge. But next year, he's hoping to make a move to Europe, hike the Michelin trail, work at the Waterside Inn and eventually bring this style of straight-edge fine dining back to Sydney.

Food for Good

An award celebrating innovation and charity. The winner goes above and beyond to contribute to the community.

Parliament on King

Troubled by Australia's treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, Ravi and Della Prasad turned the front living room of their Newtown terrace into a cafe in 2013, promising each other "let's use this space to do something to make us happy". Parliament on King is now a cafe, bookshop, events space, hospitality training centre, catering business, and home away from home for many of Sydney's asylum seekers and refugees. So far, the cafe has trained over 250 people in barista skills, food preparation, food hygiene and service, with many going on to their first Australian jobs.

The Streets of Barangaroo People's Choice Award

A reader-driven award that allows the public to name their favourite restaurant.

Dead Ringer

This is the second venue from the guys that brought you star city bar Bulletin Place, so when it comes to the drinks, they've got it well and truly covered. On the plate, ex-Est. chef Tristan Rosier is serving up honeyed ricotta and witlof cooked down into a confection sitting in a verdant slick of herbed oil. And a loosely hand- chopped tartare dispenses with the usual egg yolk and goes straight for the jugular with blobs of mayo. Yum.

The Sydney Morning Herald 2017 Good Food Guide is on sale now in newsagents and bookstores with all book purchases receiving free premium access to the Good Food app. The Guide is also available for the discounted price of $14.99 with purchase of the September 10 Sydney Morning Herald weekend edition.

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