Quay, Sepia and Brae make it on to World's 50 Best list

Jane Holroyd
Quay's Peter Gilmore's dish of smoked and confit pig jowl with roasted kogi and shiitake, kombu, sea scallop and sesame.
Quay's Peter Gilmore's dish of smoked and confit pig jowl with roasted kogi and shiitake, kombu, sea scallop and sesame. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams

There were more than the usual number of bottles of bubbly being popped at some of Australia's most lauded restaurants last night with news trickling through from Europe that Sepia in Sydney and Brae in Birregurra, Victoria have been recognised globally.

Both restaurants have made their debut on the prestigious World's Best Restaurants list, with Sepia assessed as the world's 84th best restaurant in 2015, and Brae as 87th.

Sydney's Quay restaurant was also recognised, taking out the 58th spot - up from 60th last year but down on its 2013 result of 48.

The annual awards - officially called The World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards, actually name 100 restaurants in a poll conducted among international critics and hospitality insiders.

For the Sepia team, entry onto the World's Best list capped off a great month. The restaurant in Sydney's CBD was voted Australia's best by local chefs and restaurant owners at last week's Australian Financial Review Top 100 Restaurants awards, with chef and owner Martin Benn also named "best chef" by his competitors. 

Co-owner Vicki Wild said all involved at Sepia were proud and "over the moon" upon hearing the news of the listing on Tuesday night. "We are just so overwhelmed that our restaurant has achieved so much in just six years," Wild said. "Now we have to celebrate with our brilliant team!"

The team at Brae in Birregurra, Victoria.
The team at Brae in Birregurra, Victoria. Photo: Colin Page

Organisers of the World's Best list have this year decided to reveal the bottom half (51-100) six days ahead of the main awards ceremony, to be held in London next Monday night. Last year Melbourne's Attica finished in 32nd position, making it the country's only representative in the top 50.

William Drew, Group Editor of The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards told Good Food the decision to announce the 51-100 restaurants early this year had been done so to ensure those restaurants received a fairer share of the spotlight.

"We decided to release the list of those restaurants ranked between 51-100 in advance of The World's 50 Best Restaurants ceremony itself in order to shine a light on the global gastronomic talent - new and recurring - that make up this list.

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"We feel that each restaurant should be celebrated and recognised for their achievements."

Sepia's Vicki Wild seemed in favour of organisers' decision last night. 

"It is so great for Australia to have four restaurants represented and we are in such great company with Brae, Quay and we are sure Attica."

Vicki Wild and Martin Benn of Sydney's Sepia.
Vicki Wild and Martin Benn of Sydney's Sepia. Photo: Supplied

Speaking on behalf of Benn, she added: "It is really the best feeling ever and just makes us want to be better every day."

Brae were not open on Tuesday night when news trickled through about their entry onto the prestigious list, at 87th spot. The announcement will be a  a boon for the small Victorian town of Birregurra where Dan Hunter and partner Julianne Bagnato opened their restaurant two years ago after leaving Dunkeld's Royal Mail Hotel.

Bagnato said the Brae team were trying to keep a lid on their excitement about cracking a list that grabs worldwide attention each year.

"We're absolutely thrilled," she told Good Food. "There are so many great restaurants there and we're humbled to be among them. We're a small team in a small town and trying to maintain perspective - while cracking a few bottles in celebration."