- List of all the hatted restaurants from The Sydney Morning Herald 2017 Good Food Guide
- All the award winners from The Sydney Morning Herald 2017 Good Food Guide
Quay's back on top, there's a new Tetsuya and share plates aren't going anywhere.
The Sydney Morning Herald 2017 Good Food Guide awards presented by Vittoria and Citi were attended by Sydney's leading chefs and industry figures on Monday night at Cirrus – the much-anticipated new restaurant from Bentley's Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt occupying the former Noma Australia site at Barangaroo.
Dining jewel of the harbour Quay was named Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year for the first time since 2012. "Peter Gilmore is cooking at his best right now and service has really lifted across the board in the last couple of years," said Good Food Guide editor Myffy Rigby. "Yes, it still looks like the InterContinental circa 1983, but what Quay is offering from wine to service to food is peerless."
Quay's owners, the Fink Group, had double cause for celebration with group chairman and "intellectual renegade" Leon Fink accepting the Vittoria Coffee Legend Award for outstanding, long-term contribution to the industry.
Representing the harbour's westside, Federico Zanellato of Pyrmont restaurant LuMi was named Citi Chef of the Year. "Federico has taken his own innate Italianality and re-thought it with the balance and harmony of Japanese cuisine in mind," said Terry Durack, chief restaurant critic for The Sydney Morning Herald. "It reminds me of when a young Tetsuya Wakuda started fusing French and Japanese. It's just as exciting as that was."
Old and new Sydney dining favourites Bistro Moncur, Three Blue Ducks, Longrain, Balla and Osteria di Russo & Russo did not retain their one hat ranking, all dropping below a score of 15/20. Meanwhile, Enmore Road's Hartsyard, famous for its fried chicken, regained a hat after losing one last year. "There's a new balance and lightness to the Hartsyard menu that lifts everything up," said Rigby.
Chippendale's favourite set-menu venue, Automata, hit the ground running with two hats and its wine expert, Tim Watkins, named Champagne Taittinger Sommelier of the Year. Chic CBD bunker Restaurant Hubert was also awarded two hats in its first year and took home the gong for Best New Restaurant.
"I'm calling it the most exciting new restaurant to open in Sydney in the past five years, in the way it packages up nostalgia, good times, romance, and the time-honoured elements of European hospitality for a new generation," said Durack.
Santa Vittoria Regional Restaurant of the Year went to Cabarita Beach's Paper Daisy, another new venue awarded two hats in its first Guide entry.
"Paper Daisy chef Ben Devlin is all about developing what he calls 'Australian coastal cuisine', and so many of the dishes evoke that 'holiday' feeling with their campfire smokiness, salty sea succulents, and really brilliant use of fish and shellfish," said Durack.
Newtown's Continental Deli Bar and Bistro raised a canned martini to winning Bar of the Year and Surry Hills' Paramount Coffee Project was named Cafe of the Year.
"I see cafes as the future of Sydney dining," said Rigby. "They're an egalitarian, cheap and fun way to eat around Sydney and some of the most exciting food innovations are happening at the cafe end of the dining spectrum."
Only three restaurants were awarded three hats: Quay, Sepia and The Bridge Room. Neil Perry's Rockpool Est. 1989 was absent after rebranding to Eleven Bridge as the Guide went to print.
"With Rockpool, Marque and Silvereye calling it a day in the last six months, people keep asking me if Sydney fine dining is dead," said Rigby. "I say quality is quality, no matter what the medium. Whether you're talking about bloggers or print journalists, or a chef baking the best pie in the world, or Peter Gilmore making a snow egg at Quay. As long as you are perfecting your craft, it's worth reporting on. Trends-based pieces that beat up things like 'fine dining is dead' are detrimental to businesses and our food culture."
Although there are two trends Rigby says she would be happy to see the end of. "Nutella on everything and share plates everywhere. I just want an entree, a main, and potentially a dessert."
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.