And the winner is… Australia’s Tummies!
Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2011
This year’s guide is the culmination of seven month’s work during which time the 40-strong reviewing team checked out more than 1000 restaurants, bars and eateries.
They elevated 15 new restaurants to one-hat status and added 31 new restaurants to a book of 950-plus reviews that has become a bible and which is now also a smartphone app.
The 2011 winners
Marque, the Surry Hills establishment owned by Mark and Valerie Best, has been named as the Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year in the 2011 Good Food Guide Awards.
Best, a former electrician, opened Marque in 1999 after earning his stripes first at the Macleay Street Bistro and later at Balmain’s Peninsula Bistro.
A former winner of the Josephine Pignolet Best Young Chef Award, Best was last year’s Good Food Guide’s Chef of the Year.
Martin Benn (Sepia)
The 2011 Emirates Chef of the Year Award went to Martin Benn, chef and co-owner of Sepia, and former understudy to another legend of the Sydney restaurant scene, Tetsuya Wakuda.
Sepia only opened for business in May last year, taking over a ground floor space that was previously a showroom for Nestle products in a large commercial complex in downtown Sussex Street.
In his review of Sepia in Tuesday’s Good Living, the Herald’s Terry Durack praises Benn and his co-chef Daniel Puskas for their cooking which he describes as “precise, pulled back, almost subversively feminine”.
His growing reputation was acknowledged earlier this year when Marque debuted at No. 67 in the prestigious S.Pellegrino World’s Top 100 Restaurants list.
“Marque’s win is an acknowledgement of the whole package that is Marque: from elegant, highly creative cooking to careful, polished food and wine service,” said Joanna Savill, co-editor of the Good Food Guide 2011. “It’s a world-class restaurant and a reflection of the best in Sydney dining.”
Best New Restaurant
Young Chef of the Year
Jason Saxby, Quay
SMH Good Food Guide 2011 $23.95 SAVE 20% Click Here to Buy
The Age Good Food Guide 2011 offers more than 500 reviews, completely updated and new. Whether it’s a big celebration, a quiet dinner, a weekend brunch or a country stopover, look to the guide to find just the right place to eat. The guide contains:
– more than 500 reviews, completely updated
– an expanded gourmet cafes section
– Melbourne’s best bar food (new!)
– the city’s favourite restaurants (over 100 prominent Melbournians reveal their picks)
Once again, you can’t afford not to rely on the Age Good Food Guide.
The 2011 winners
Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year
Royal Mail Hotel
Sure, it’s a country pub; but what a country pub! In a town of 440 people, it employs about 70 of them. Dinner involves 10 courses (that’s not counting three gorgeous hors d’oeuvres) and the warehouse-sized wine cellar across the road houses 30,000 bottles — probably the country’s greatest collection of bordeaux and burgundy.
The Royal Mail is one of Australia’s great dining destinations — a culinary pilgrimage. Yet it’s not at all stuck up. First-time visitors are often surprised to find a highway-side dining room that critics describe as prosaic and dull, though it might be kinder to say that there’s not much to distract diners from the food. And, after all, that’s what they come for.
Emirates Chef of the Year
Ben Shewry, Attica
It’s a ridiculous understatement to say 2010 has been an eventful year for Ben Shewry.
In the tight space of the past nine months, there was the invitation to Madrid Fusion, the world’s premier food event, at which he was the sole Victorian representative; then the acknowledgement of the globe’s food media in Attica’s inclusion on the S.Pellegrino list of the world’s top 100 restaurants — the only Melbourne restaurant to make the list and one of just four across the country.
Now Shewry, the poster-boy for the benefits of a childhood spent far from the crowds, is The Age Good Food Guide’s chef of the year.
Plumm Wine Glasses Best New Restaurant
Izakaya Den, Melbourne
The Age Young Chef of the Year
Michael Fox, Cecconi’s Cantina
The Age Good Food Guide 2011 $23.95 SAVE 20% Click Here to Buy
For further details see the The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.