Ok, you should all SO buy this month’s GT with free copy of their 2012 restaurant guide. You need it; to carry around and make constant references to while vacillating between this restaurant and that. But here’s a sneak peek. More in tomorrow’s Courier Mail.
Congrats to all the winners and all those to whom stars and accolades were bestowed upon.
The winners of the
Australian Gourmet Traveller 2012 Restaurant Guide Awards are:
Restaurant of the Year – Marque, Sydney
Regional Restaurant of the Year – Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld, Vic
Best New Restaurant – Porteño, Sydney
Best New Talent – Luke Burgess, Garagistes, Hobart
Maître d’ of the Year – Lara Marro, Vincenzo’s Cucina Vera, Adelaide
Wine List of the Year – Ortiga, Brisbane
Bar of the Year – Shady Pines Saloon, Sydney
Sommelier of the Year – Giorgio De Maria, 121BC, Sydney
Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality – John, Merivale, Bettina and Justin Hemmes,
the Merivale Group
And for Queenslanders, especially, here’s what Deputy Editor and chief judge Pat Nourse had to say about Ortiga.
“It’s a party upstairs and high-concept downstairs, and there’s lots to like either way. They approach everything they do from a perspective of trying to give us, the customers, the most distinguished experienced ever. If you’re talking coldcuts, it’s either stuff they’ve made themselves in collaboration with a top-flight butcher, or the best they can import from Spain.
There’s also this really interesting combination of very clean, very finessed technique, but big, gutsy flavours. Pork ribs smoky with paprika, for instance, or a woodsy pairing of duck, chestnuts and mushrooms. And nobody walks away from that whole lamb shoulder for two anything less than sated, and the bar menu is pretty much odds-on with MoVida for the most authentically Spanish offering in the country.
It’s the whole package, and there’s nothing else really like it, and I reckon anyone who loves restaurants would be proud to have it in their backyard. I just wish I could eat there more often than I do.”
And here’s some his views on why we Brisbane excels at wine lists.
“A wander through the cellar at Ortiga, Urbane or Aria, for instance, suggests a willingness on the part of Brisbane diners to drink widely and deeply in search of the good stuff in a way that’s unmatched by their southern cousins. Then you’ve got the specificity of lists like 1889 Enoteca (our last Wine List of the Year winner) and Montrachet, where the regional focus speaks of a sophisticated public excited by the possibilities of great wine and unafraid to pay for quality.” We are, he also told me, not bogged down by parochialism. Whether that’s just because of us don’t know enough about the wines we produce here, I don’t know, but I agree, that there is a certain willingness to experiment.”
Matt Moran, who has restaurants in both Brisbane and Sydney told me once that while the spend is bigger in Syd (menu items are more expensive, QLD’ers spent more on wine. Not surprising, considering we have the biggest spend per capita on vintage champagne in the country).
Well done to Simon Hill and his team and all the other restaurateurs who made it into the guide. And to Aria, Buffalo Club, Ortiga and Urbane who all gathered two stars.
And it’s an interesting read as to exactly where Brisbane restaurants find their place in Gourmet’s Top 100 list. A few surprise omissions there.
Check it out further in my piece in tomorrow’s Courier Mail, along with Brisbane’s top 10.
I can confirm though that QLD’s first entry is the top 100 number Ortiga at no 23. Bringing up the rear is e’cco at 99 with a couple more in between.
In the end though, as restaurateurs know, success is happy patrons and cash in the till, not what restaurants critics think.
So what do you think people? Fair or not?