Melbourne eatery Attica has beaten a very competitive field to be named the number-one restaurant in Australia by Gourmet Traveller.
Launching the country’s only national restaurant guide last night at an awards ceremony at the Sydney Opera House, the magazine’s editors singled the restaurant out for its surprising and highly personal take on fine dining.
A meal at Attica is a voyage of deliciousness, roving far and wide enough to take in both an elegant tour of indigenous ingredients (red kangaroo with bunya nuts, say, or whiting and pearl meat cooked in paperbark) but also touches of whimsy, whether in the naming of some of the dishes (“142 Days on Earth”, “The Industrious Beet”), or leading guests into the garden, mid-meal, to stop by the ice-cream stand for a cone.
The restaurant might be deep in the suburbs of Melbourne, but it’s Australia’s culinary standard-bearer on the world stage.
Beyond the Restaurant of the Year category, the winners of the awards have come from all over the country:
- Bar of the Year is Brisbane newcomer Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall
- The Best New Talent gong goes to Scott Huggins and Emma McCaskill, the husband-and-wife team heading the kitchen at Adelaide’s historic Magill Estate
- Perth scores in the Wine List of the Year stakes with a win for The Print Hall
- Sydney isn’t left out, with the peer-voted Chef of the Year award going to Martin Benn of Sepia
- Nick Hildebrandt of Sydney’s Bentley restaurant has been named Sommelier of the Year.
It’s Victoria, though, that comes up trumps, particularly in the regions:
- Brae, a restaurant in Birregurra, 90 minutes southwest of Melbourne, has been named both New Restaurant of the Year and Regional Restaurant of the Year, picking up the coveted three-star rating in its first year in business
- Alla Wolf-Tasker, the driving force behind Daylesford landmark Lake House has been acknowledged with an award for her Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality
- Back in the city, Christian McCabe, of The Town Mouse, is our new Maître d’ of the Year
“We’ve got a room full of really exciting talent,” says GT chief restaurant critic, Pat Nourse. “The overall standard in this country, whether it’s in cafés, bars, casual eateries or the finest of diners, is on the up, and that’s a win for Australians who love eating out, and it’s something in which we can all take pride.”
“These guys rock. If this is the year Australia is saying to the world that we’re a world-class place to eat and drink, this line-up of winners more than drives the point home,” says GT editor, Anthea Loucas. “Our food and drink scene is vibrant, diverse and exciting, and it’s a great pleasure for us to be able to celebrate it through these awards, our restaurant guide and in every issue of Gourmet Traveller.”