Tag Archives: Hatted Restaurant

Toque Time (Sydney) – The SMH Good Food Guide 2016 Awards

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It is restaurant award season again and this year the GFG has announced Sydney first, with Melbourne to follow.    There’s been plenty of criticism of food critics over the past year, with many saying they are less relevant with the myriad of food bloggers like yours truly, and the immediate nature of feedback via Instagram and other social media platforms.  But most bloggers and ‘grammers will go to a restaurant only once, snap a quick pick, tick a box on their ‘to do’ list, and move on (I must plead guilty to that on occasion).  These guys on the other hand, will visit each place 3-4 times, take copious notes, and make their way through the menu before pronouncing judgement.  It sounds like a dream job, but frankly I couldn’t eat that much rich food or eat out so often, having been sustained on Southern Italian peasant food for most of my life.  But anyway, the winners are…….

Best Bar –  Monopole
Best Bar Food – Rockpool Bar & Grill
Best Cheap Eat – Chaco Bar, Darlinghurst
Restaurant of the Year – Bridge Room
Best New Restaurant – Bennelong
Chef of the Year – Pasi Petanan (Café Paci)
Regional Restaurant of the Year – Fleet Restaurant, Brunswick Heads
People’s Choice Award – Catalina, Rose Bay

Sydney Metro

Three hats
Bridge Room (up a hat), Quay, Rockpool, Sepia
Two hats
Aria, Bennelong, Bentley Restaurant and Bar, Berowra Waters Inn, Café Paci (up a hate), Cottage Point Inn (up a hat), est, Ester, Four in Hand (up a hat), Guillaume (re-entry), Icebergs Dining Room, Lucio’s Italian, LuMi Bar & Dining (new hatter), Marque, Momofuku Seiobo (down a hat), Mr Wong, Ormeggio, Oscillate Wildly (up a hat), Pilu at Freshwater, Porteno, Rockpool Bar & Grill, sixpenny, Spice Temple, Tetsuyas

One Hat
10 William St (new hatter), ACME (new hatter), Ajo Italian Restaurant (new hatter), The Apollo, Bather’s Pavillion, Billy Kwong, Bistro Moncur, Bistrode CBD, Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay (new hatter), Bodega, Buon Ricordo, Catalina, China Doll, Cho Cho San, Felix, Firedoor (new hatter), Fratelli Paradiso (new hatter), Gastro Park (down a hat), glass brasserie, Izakaya Fujiyama (new hatter), Jonah’s Restaurant, Kepos Street Kitchen, Longrain, LP’s Quality Meats (new hatter), Monopole, Moon Park, MoVida, Ms G’s, Nomad, Osteria Balla, Osteria di Russo & Russo, Otto Ristorante, Pendolino, Sagra (new hatter), Sake Double Bay (new hatter), Sean’s, Sokyo, sushi e, Three Blue Ducks, Uccello, Ume Restaurant, Vini, Yellow

Lost hats – 4Fourteen, Aki’s, Alpha, Arras, Bar H, Black by Ezard, Café Sopra, Fish Face, Flying Fish, Hartsyard, Longrain, Lox Stock and Barrel, Sake CBD, Vincent

Regional Winners

Two Hats
Aubergine, Biota, Muse Restaurant, Subo, Zanzibar Café

One Hat
Bistro Molines, Caveau, Courgette, Darley’s Restaurant, eightysix, Eschalot, Fins, Fleet, Lanterne Rooms, Lilotang, Lolli Redini, Monster Kitchen and Bar, Muse Kitchen, Ottoman Cuisine, Pearls on the Beach, Pialligo Farmhouse, Restaurant Como, Restaurant Mason, South on Albany, St Isadore, the Stunned Mullet, Temporada, Tonic, Town Restaurant and Café, Waters Edge, The Zin House

Toque Time (Sydney) – The SMH Good Food Guide 2015 Awards

2015awardsHot on the heels of the Melbourne Awards  last week comes the Sydney session.  The Good Food Guide turns 30 this year. It is quite extraordinary to think that 30 years ago, there was no such thing as “Modern Australian” food – instead it was called “Anglo Saxon” cuisine; and a meal at a three hatter would set you back $29.  Over the years the GFG has gotten bigger, more powerful (some would say that’s a bad thing), and the toques are always a cause for debate amongst restaurant goers like me….especially for places like Marque (sorry I had to throw that in, but really?) So who were the casualties of war in the last 12 months? Well Guillaume at Bennelong closed, refusing to become a more casual, 7 day a week, breakfast-lunch-dinner bistro as requested by the Opera House Trust, and re-opened his fine dinner just a few weeks ago in Paddington, merci beaucoup.  Claudes shut down, with Chui Lee Luk opting for the more casual Chow Bar & Eating House, serving modern Chinese.  Xanthi went into liquidation, succumbing to the Fine-Dining-In-A-Shopping-Centre-in-Australia-Doesn’t-Work curse; Buzo is now Pinbone, though they recently taunted diners with a pop up serving THAT lasagne and the cabbage salad (when will you open that whispered CBD site?), and Foveuax and Tomislav are no more.   That’s a total of nine hats. In all, 40 of the restaurants that were in the 2014 guide closed. As we hear all the time, it is a tough gig in the hospitality game.  Having said that, 80 new restaurants have appeared in the Guide this year.

Drumroll please…..and the winners are

Restaurant of the Year – Sepia

Best New Restaurant – Ester

Legend Award – Peter Doyle (Est)

Chef of the Year – Brent Savage (well deserved in my view, loving Bentley at the moment)

The Hatters – City

Three Hats

Momofuku Seiobo, Quay, Rockpool, Sepia

Two Hats

ARIA Restaurant, Bentley Restaurant & Bar (re-entry), Berowra Waters Inn (up a hat), The Bridge Room, est., Ester (new hatter), Gastro Park, Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, Lucio’s Italian Restaurant (up a hat), Marque, Mr. Wong, Ormeggio at the Spit, Pilu at Freshwater, Porteño (up a hat), Rockpool Bar & Grill, sixpenny (up a hat), Spice Temple, Tetsuya’s

One Hat

4Fourteen (up a hat), Aki’s Indian Restaurant, Alpha (new hatter), The Apollo, Arras, Bar H Dining (re-entry), The Bathers’ Pavilion, Billy Kwong, Bistro Moncur, Bistrode CBD, BLACK by Ezard (up a hat), The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, Bodega, Buon Ricordo (down a hat), Cafe Paci (new hatter), Cafe Sopra, Catalina, China Doll, Cho Cho San (new hatter), Clareville Kiosk, Cottage Point Inn (new hatter), the devonshire, Farmhouse (new hatter), Felix (new hatter), Fish Face (new hatter), Flying Fish Restaurant & Bar, Four in Hand Dining Room (down a hat), glass brasserie, Hartsyard, Jonah’s Restaurant, Kepos Street Kitchen, Longrain (down a hat), Lox Stock & Barrel (new hatter), Monopole, Moon Park (new hatter), MoVida (down a hat), Ms.G’s, Nomad (new hatter), Oscillate Wildly, Osteria Balla (new hatter), Osteria di Russo & Russo (new hatter), Otto Ristorante (re-entry), The Restaurant Pendolino, Saké Restaurant & Bar, Sean’s Panaroma, Sokyo, sushi e (new hatter), Three Blue Ducks, Uccello, Ume Restaurant, Vincent (new hatter), Vini (new hatter), Yellow (new hatter)

Lost hatsAnanas, Popolo, Gowings Bar & Grill

Regional Hats

Two Hats

Biota Dining (Bowral), Muse Restaurant (Pokolbin, up a hat), Subo (Newcastle West)

One Hat

Bistro Molines (Mount View), Caveau (Wollongong), Cupitt’s Kitchen (Ulla-dulla, new hatter), Darley’s Restaurant (Katoomba), Eschalot (Berrima), Fins Restaurant (Kingscliff), Harvest Cafe (Newrybar, new hatter), Lolli Redini (Orange), Manfredi at Bells (Killcare Heights), Muse Kitchen (Pokolbin, new hatter), Restaurant Como (Blaxland), Restaurant Mason (Newcastle), The Stunned Mullet (Port Macquarie), Tomah Gardens (Mt Tomah, new hatter), Tonic (Millthorpe), Town Restaurant & Cafe (Bangalow), Wharf Rd Restaurant & Bar (Nowra), Zanzibar Cafe (Merimbula)

Toque Time (Melbourne) – The Age Good Food Guide 2015 Awards

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And yes, here we are again at Award time. Restaurant “Award Season” is in full swing, with Gourmet Traveller releasing its 2015 Restaurant Awards last week, and The Australian coming out with its Hot 50 list.

 

Lest you think these awards don’t actually matter, this is what happened to Saint Crispin in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood last year after it won New Restaurant of the Year:

‘Scott Pickett, the chef and co-owner,…….arrived at the restaurant on Tuesday (the day it’s closed) at noon to find 198 voicemails and 78 emails inquiring about bookings. ”By the time we got through them all at 3pm, we had another 138 messages to address,” he says. By Wednesday, Pickett had employed a second staff member ”to manage calls and bookings”. Other winners on the night also saw a peak in phone and email activity when they arrived for work on Tuesday’ (Good Food, 3 September 2013). 

Extraordinary, no?  But at the end of the day for everyone who lovesloveslovesloves restaurant x, there will be someone who can’t stand it, because that is what makes the world go round. One can’t help but wonder though, if The Age has struck a deal with Tourism Victoria – most of the new hats are to regional restaurants, which will see foodies (did I mention I hate that word?) around the country piling into their cars driving around the state and throwing around superlatives.

And the winners are…..

Restaurant of the Year – Brae, Birregurra (watch the population of this town go up in coming months. Does anyone actually know where it is?)

New Restaurant of the YearSupernormal (really?)

City

Three Hats
Attica, Flower Drum, Vue de Monde
Two Hats
Cafe Di Stasio, Cutler & Co, Ezard, Grossi Florentino, Matteo’s, MoVida, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Rosetta, Saint Crispin (up a hat), Spice Temple
One Hat
Bacash, Becco, Bistro Guillaume, Bistro Vue, Cecconi’s Flinders Lane, Centonove, Circa, Coda, Cumulus Inc, Da Noi, Dandelion, Donovans, Easy Tiger, Epocha, Estelle, The European, The Grand, Hare & Grace, Huxtable, Il Bacaro, Kenzan, Longrain, Maha, Merricote, Moon Under Water, MoVida Aqui, No. 8 by John Lawson (new hatter), Noir (new hatter), 
Pei Modern, The Point Albert Park, The Press Club, Pure South, Sarti, Shoya (new hatter), Stokehouse City, Supernormal (new hatter), Tempura Hajime, Tonka, Town Hall Hotel, The Town Mouse (new hatter), Union Dining (new hatter), 
Woodland House (new hatter), Yu-u
Regional

Three Hats
Brae (new hatter)
Two Hats
Gladioli (up a hat), Jim McDougall in Stefano’s Cellar, Lake House, Provenance, Royal Mail Hotel, 
Ten Minutes by Tractor
One Hat
A La Grecque, Annie Smithers Bistrot (new hatter), The Argus Dining Room (new hatter), Chris’s Beacon Point, Du Fermier (new hatter), Eleonore’s, Healesville Hotel, Kazuki’s, Montalto, Paringa Estate, Port Phillip Estate (new hatter), Simone’s Restaurant, Tani Eat & Drink (new hatter), Terminus at Flinders Hotel, Terrace Restaurant, Tulip (new hatter)
Lost Hats
Albert St Food & Win, Bella Vedere, Brooks, Grossi Florentino Grill, Nellsons

 

Toque Time (Sydney) – a wrap up of 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards

gfg2013bThe Melbourne Awards kicked it off last week, this time it was Sydney’s turn. Its been a bit of a tumultuous year in Sydney dining, with a few notable closures such as Universal, Ortolan, Assiette, Mezzaluna, and Claude’s announcing it would call it a day. But its also been a big year for openings, with the last twelve months having bought us Mr Wong’s, Movida, Gowings, Mejico, and many others.  I’m sure last night would have beeen a combination of cheers and tears.

Those who disappeared from the hat list – Otto (well overdue in my view), Chiswick (beautiful surrounds but nothing that special about the food), A Tavola (that’s a shame, but seems to have been substituted with Popolo), Black By Ezard (more hype than substance), and 4Fourteen. Shock went through the crowd apparently when Marque lost a hat – frankly I’m surprised it still has two – and Est, which has been a long time ‘special occasion’ favourite of mine.

Sokyo and Hartsyard – welcome to the list – well deserved!!

On my overrated list – Quay (and all my friends agree, we must all be missing something), Icebergs (amazing view, ordinary food), and Rockbool Bar and Grill (service has been consistently bad and slow my last few visits). I also find Aria very stuffy. But as I said last week, its food, its personal, and we will never all agree.

And the winners are…..

City Restaurants

Three hats

Guillaume at Bennelong, Sepia, Momofuku, Quay, Rockpool

Two hats

Marque (down a hat), Est (down a hat), Four in Hand, Buon Ricordo, Aria, Icebergs, Rockpool Bar & Grill,  Mr Wong, The Bridge Room, Tetsuyas, Claude’s, Lucio’s (up a hat), Ormeggio at The Spit, Movida, Longrain, Spice Temple, Gastro Park, Pilu at Freshwater

One hat

Porteno (down a hat), Clareville Kiosk, Sean’s Panorama, Balla, Catalina, Popolo, Monopole (new), China Doll, Berowra Waters Inn, Pendolino, Gowings, Bodega, Flying Fish, Ananas (new), Sixpenny, Billy Kwong, Three Blue Ducks, Sake, The Devonshire, Oscillate Wildly, Aki’s Indian, Sokyo, Boathouse on Blackwattle, Xanthi, Bistro Moncur, The Apollo, Hartsyard, Buzo, Kepos Street Kitchen, Foveaux Restaurant and Bar, Bathers Pavillion, Berowra Waters Inn, Billy Kwong, Bistrode CBD, Cafe Sopra, Glass Brasserie, Jonah’s Restaurant, Ms G’s, Tomislav, Uccello, Ume

Regional Restaurants

Two Hats

Biota Dining, No 2 Oak Street, Subo

One hat

Lolli Redini, Restaurant Mason, Fins, Muse Kitchen, Restaurant Como, Eschalot, Racine, Muse Restaurant, Wharf Rd, Zanzibar Café, Caveau, The Stunned Mullet, Neila, Tyler’s Pantry, Bistro Moline, Manfredi at Bell’s, Darleys, The River Moruya, Flooded Gums, Town

Thank you

thank+you

I would like to sincerely thank the wonderful, kind, and generous people at Sydney Seaplanes, Gastro Park, Buon Ricordo, Longrain, A tavola, Three Blue Ducks, Pendolino, Billy Kwong, Salt Meats Cheese, Ormeggio, Sydney Seafood School, Sake, Sopra, Ghermez, and Pilu.

With their help, I was able to raise $11,200 for the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.

The Leukaemia Foundation is the only national not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the care and cure of patients and families living with leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders. They receive no ongoing government funding and rely solely on the generosity of the Australian community.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It will long be remembered.

fundraiser

The Hats and the Hat Nots

10 Sept 12 – The foodies among us always eagerly await each new release of the Good Food Guide, nodding our heads vigorously on the awards we agree with and wondering ‘who did they pay’ on others. I once watched a great doco on SBS called Heat in the Kitchen, which tracked three restaurants in the months leading up to the awards. The first was desperately trying to get back a lost hat, the second was just going about its business and was damn delighted to have one, the third didn’t even know what a hat was.

Win hat, phones ring off hook. Lose hat, stare at empty tables. Quite extraordinary the power these little toques have. So here’s a wrap up of this year’s notable changes

Debut Hats
Momofuku – three! – you’ve seen my previous Momofuku write up, think this is a little generous
The Bridge Room, two – its on my Overrated List
Balla, two. Its good I suppose, simple Italian food well executed, but I’m sure you could find a Nonna working in a restaurant in the outer suburbs producing the same at half the price. Or you could just to go my mother’s.
Xanthi, one – oh, that Baklava ice cream!
Apollo, one – keen to visit. Banquet looks like remarkably good value.  No bookings except for big groups, get there early apparently.
4Fourteen, one – my colleague to my right recently gave this place the thumbs up, both food and decor. He suggests you take at least 3 friends for optimum sampling
The Ortolan – need a Frenchie volunteer to vouch for its authenticity
Chiswick – one hat. Really?

Ups and Downs
Ormeggio, up a hat to two. Just lovely for a summer lunch, and well priced for the quality of food. I’ve heard whispers that the Eastern Suburbs set sneak OTB to try it
Buon Ricordo – up a hat to two. A long standing favourite of mine. Everyone should experience Armando’s truffled egg pasta at least once in their lives
Lucio’s – down a hat to one. The two decade long Armando/Lucio friendly rivalry continues.
Ms G’s, one hat. This place is great fun.

Quay took out restaurant of the year (again). Now I don’t know about you lot, but I find this place terribly overrated, and whoever keeps choosing their carpet really needs to rethink their calling.

Have a great week.