Australian Gourmet Traveller 2013 - Restaurant Awards

On Tuesday night (August 21st) the annual Australian Gourmet Traveller 2013 Restaurant Awards were held. Rivalled only by the success of the Good Food Guide series, the Gourmet Traveller Awards have become somewhat of a ‘must note’ for the foodie community. The Gourmet Traveller Top 100, from the view of this blogger, has come to provide one of the best (if not the best) comprehensive ranked overview of the top restaurants throughout Australia.

With this blog I would like to achieve three key objectives. First of all this blog will focus on the #1 restaurant in Australia according to the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 List. Secondly, this blog will aim to provide an insight into the hot new restaurant that you will want to visit – you know, the one that you can proudly tell your friends ‘I went there’ and even if just for a second bask in the cocky arrogance of having been to somewhere they really want to go! Finally, as I am based in South Australia, I would like to focus on one SA restaurant that wasn’t considered and should be for 2013/14.

‘The King of Restaurants’ – Quay (Sydney) - #1 on GT Top 100 – Quay maintains its lofty status as the best restaurant in Australia at #1 on the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 List, something reflected within both the Good Food Guide series and in the San Pellegrino’s World’s Best Restaurants listing. Those of you that have been lucky to have attended Quay (as I have) can hardly argue with such flattering reviews, and if you haven’t been to Quay it is a must – simply put if you haven’t been to Quay it is one of the few restaurants in Australia worth a flight in and of itself. Quay, with Executive Chef Peter Gilmore, delivers the perfect Modern Australian cuisine, if one was to look it up in the dictionary a photo of the Quay logo would not be out of place.

The subtle balance of natural Ozzie-centric flavours is sublime, whilst the beauty of the food cannot be understated. The real delights on the menu include the Berkshire Pig Jowl dish and the most famous desserts of MasterChef fame, the Eight Texture Chocolate Cake and Guava Snow Egg. The Berkshire Pig Jowl is a subtle balance of tastes, with the flavours of pig, prunes and cauliflower cream perfectly combined – it is a real attack on the sense for any pig fan (Such as myself). The Guava Snow Egg, so lauded in the foodie community, is no let down. The taste is hard to describe, other than to say the combination of flavours is beautifully sweet (but not overwhelming) and the real amazing aspect of the dish is the combination of textures provided by the granita, meringue, custard and ice cream. One can get easily lost in the food at this restaurant and easily forget the view, look out the window and you will see the Harbour Bridge and Opera House…..what more can you ask. Needless to say, as is evident, Quay is unbelievable and in this humble bloggers decision is clearly the #1 restaurant in Australia. Try it as soon as you can! (Dinner Tasting Menu of 8 courses - $220)

  Quay Berkshire Pig

The Make Your Friends Jealous Restaurant’ – Momofuku Seiobo (Sydney) - #13 on GT Top 100 – Among the foodie community there is a subtle joy in being able to attend the restaurant at which it is the hardest to get a seat, and at the moment Momofuku Seiobo is that. Momofuku Seiobo is the Gourmet Traveller New Restaurant of the Year, a new title to add to the recent ‘Hottest Restaurant NSW’ and ‘Hottest Restaurant NSW’ awards won at the Australian Hot (Restaurant) 50 Awards. Momofuku Seiobo is the newest in the group of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants and in line with the all other Momofuku restaurants getting a table is a combination of good timing and luck. Reservations are only taken on line, and only within 10 days of your intended dinner date. If you are lucky to get into the restaurant there are certain rules – the most enthusiastically embraced by this blogger being the rule that mobile phones are not to be used inside the restaurant! Love it.

The hip and exciting hanging-on-the-edge-of-your-chair-hope-i-get-a-booking aspect of the restaurant is more than matched by the food, which has David Chang written all over it. As evidenced on MasterChef to the public viewer at large, or where he first got my attention on an episode of Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, Chang is simply a young wizard on the food scene with an almost unmatched ability to master flavours and tastes so they just…..well they just work (And work well). The 14 course serving of delights at Momofuku Seiobo contains such renowned dishes as the world famous Chang Pork Bun and one would definitely highlight the pork shoulder dish (eaten with no utensils). If you want to try the newest and most exciting restaurant of right now try and go to Momofuku Seiobo, just get ready for the emotional ride in your journey to get a seat! (Multi Course menu - $175).

‘The Unlucky Adelaide Restaurant That Will Be In The Top 100 Next Year’ – Press* Food and Wine (Adelaide) – Press* Food and Wine was recently voted the ‘Hottest Value Restaurant’ and ‘Hottest Restaurant in SA’ at the Australian Hot (Restaurant) 50 Awards, however Press* Food and Wine has not been included amongst the 5 other Adelaide restaurants in the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 List this year. Whilst the Press* Food and Wine restaurant and vibe can be described at laid back and enjoyable perhaps it suffers against the image of prestige put out into the marketplace by other Adelaide restaurants like Vincenzos Cucina Vera and Auge. However Press* Food and Wine delivers on quality food and its offering of lunch and dinner offerings, especially as an option to the business crowd in the CBD. Press* Food and Wine is well known for its meat dishes, the most famous of is of course its cooked full pig. However one of the dishes that requires attention is the Press Burger with Onion Rings.

The burger is one of the items in the foodie community that one likes to compare from restaurant to restaurant, and in a case such as this one can only compare to what this blogger still considers the best – the Rockpool Burger. Whilst the Rockpool Burger still maintains its position as #1 restaurant burger in Australia the Press* Food and Wine burger does not pale in stark comparison. First of all, the accompanying onion rings are brilliant; crispy as one would hope and spiced to perfection. I could eat a bowl of onion rings at Press* Food and Wine as a main! The burger itself is simple but delicious, the quality of the meat and relish very impressive and the bread (right consistency and sweetness) is well chosen to put the finishing touch on the burger. The only thing that sets the Press* Food and Wine Burger apart from the Rockpool Burger is a slight lacking in aesthetic appeal in comparison, whilst the level of oiliness (managed to perfection in the Rockpool Burger) is perhaps just a little too much on the oily side in comparison. However it is not to the extent that you can’t enjoy the burger, the Rockpool Burger is merely a lofty height to match! Get into Press* Food and Wine and try the menu, and if you work in the city get the burger for lunch. Meanwhile in 12 months I think Press* Food and Wine could be the next Adelaide restaurant in the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 list. (Press* Burger with Onion Rings - $16.50).

  The Rockpool Burger (Taken at the Rockpool WA Restaurant)

 Press* Food and Wine Burger and Onion Rings

The 3 restaurants mentioned above are all worthy of special attention and worthy of consideration. There are a number of restaurants and awards presented at the Gourmet Traveller Awards that should be equally considered.

QLD: If you are heading to QLD visit Urbane in Brisbane, chef Alejandro Cancino has been awarded the Gourmet Traveller Best New Talent for 2012/13. Urbane is ranked #25 on the 2012/13 Gourmet Traveller Top 100 List.
VIC: If you are in Melbourne you can always visit the classic Jacques Reymond, Vue De Monde and Mo Vida. But the restaurant of the moment is Attica, illustrated by the awarding of Gourmet Traveller Chef of the Year 2012/13 to Attica’s chef Ben Shewry. Similar consideration should be given to Cutler & Co. I found Cutler & Co. to be of exceptional quality and the dining experience was great; based as much on the cool motif of the site that blends old warehouse charm with modern wine cellar. If you are going to Cutler & Co. do be ready for the small serving sizes. This blogger was still hungry upon leaving, but couldn’t fault the food itself. Attica is ranked #8 on the Gourmet Traveller Top 100 List and Cutler & Co. is ranked #4.
NSW: Obviously I have mentioned Quay and Momofuku Seiobo. Whilst I could mention Marque or Red Lantern I think something completely different for the blog reader to try in Sydney is Porteno. The hot Argentinean restaurant in Surry Hills is a must try! The Spanish/Mexican restaurant scene is booming at the moment (Think Mamasita in Melbourne or Lucky Lupita in Adelaide) and Porteno is definitely the place to go to scratch the Latin itch whilst in Sydney. Porteno is ranked #20 on the 2012/13 Gourmet Traveller Top 100 List.
TAS: One word – Garagistes. Simple as that. Get there! Ranked #22 on the 2012/13 Gourmet Traveller Top 100 List
WA: I could mention a number of restaurants in Perth – Balthazar, Pata Negra for example – I have already mentioned the Rockpool Bar and Grill in Perth for their famous Rockpool Burger. I’ll leave it at that. The Rockpool in WA is a brilliant experience, with the massive open space and exemplary service. Im a Rockpool Burger fan as you can tell!

Blogged by The Pholosopher


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