Australia's restaurant elite have been recognised at the Good Food Guide 2020 Awards in Brisbane.
Regional Victorian fine-diner Brae starred at the gala event held on September 30 at Howard Smith Wharves, with the farm-to-table hero named Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year. The Birregurra restaurant, where chef-owner Dan Hunter tends an extraordinary kitchen garden, also secured three hats – the Guide's highest ranking.
Good Food Guide awards announced
Australia's restaurant elite gathered in Brisbane for the 2020 Good Food Guide awards with the biggest names in the business showing up to the event.
Good Food Guide editor Myffy Rigby said of the win that "Brae is the finest example of its kind in the country, delivering a closed-loop dining experience with all the bells and whistles we've come to expect from a three-hat restaurant. Truly best in class."
Victoria shone brightly overall, with Joanna Smith, co-owner and general manager of Geelong's fire-driven Igni, receiving the Citi Service Excellence award.
Brisbane venue Joy was named New Restaurant of the Year in the Guide and awarded two hats for being "the bravest, most single-minded, driven and personal package of all the talented newcomers to grace the Australian dining scene in the past 12 months".
The tiny 10-seat Fortitude Valley restaurant is run by husband-and-wife team Tim and Sarah Scott, who cook and serve Japanese-influenced food while also pouring guests' drinks and clearing plates.
Joy was only one of many new Brisbane restaurants to enter the Guide for the first time, with Arc Dining, Donna Chang, Golden Pig, Restaurant Dan Arnold, Greca, Honto and Little Valley all awarded one hat.
Western Australia was also well represented with new Guide entries. Receiving one hat for the first time were Arimia, Island Market Trigg, Le Rebelle, Madalena's, Manuka Woodfire Kitchen, Propeller and Young George.
In Sydney, Quay has maintained its position as Sydney's premier restaurant. The Opera House-facing fine diner, where a 10-course meal costs $295 before drinks, received three hats for the 18th consecutive year, a record-setting sequence that began soon after chef Peter Gilmore joined the Fink Group-owned establishment in 2001.
Lennox Hastie was named Citi Chef of the Year for setting new standards of cooking and originality at Surry Hills' Firedoor, the restaurant he owns and operates in partnership with Fink Group. There is no electricity or gas in Hastie's kitchen - even boiling a pot of water requires lighting a fire.
"Hastie's genius lies in gently teasing flavours with fire and his tight control over such a volatile element," said Rigby.
The awards were attended by more than 800 restaurant industry guests including Matt Moran, Kylie Kwong and recipient of the Vittoria Coffee Legend Award, Maggie Beer. The event was a double celebration, too, with 2019 marking the 40th anniversary of the Guide being published by The Age.
At the ceremony, Rigby acknowledged how tough the year had been for the industry, noting how many high-profile restaurants had closed their doors.
But Rigby was also optimistic, saying "Australia is one of the greatest countries in the world when it comes to its restaurant offering, thanks to the grit and determination of our incredible industry. And that's reflected in the restaurants featured in the newest edition of the Guide."
The Good Food Guide's third annual national edition, featuring reviews of more than 500 restaurants across Australia, is on sale now in newsagencies and bookstores, and available at thestore.com.au/gfg20 for $29.99 with free shipping.