The Australian Financial Review Australia’s Top Restaurants, presented by Qantas, revealed the 2017 Top 100 last night at a Gala Awards ceremony held at The Star, Sydney. Dan Hunter’s acclaimed Brae took the coveted number one position.
Now in its third year, The Australian Financial Review Australia’s Top Restaurants is the only national restaurant awards program of its kind decided by the votes of the chefs and restaurateurs themselves.
Terry Durack, Co-Director and restaurant critic, said: “The new top 100 shows that diversity is the great strength of Australian dining. It makes dining out so much more interesting when every experience is different rather than the same.”
Jill Dupleix, Co-Director and leading food writer, said: “As always, the magic is in the mix, especially in that amazing top ten. With everything from vineyard restaurants to laneway diners, it makes the top 100 a real bucket list in terms of what’s good where, right now”
Brae was awarded the number one post of 2017, with chef/owner Dan Hunter also scooping ‘Australia’s Top Chef’ award. It’s been a big year for Hunter, after his Birregurra restaurant was named in the World’s 50 Best list for 2017 and his first book, Brae, was launched in June.
“As a chef, Dan is an intelligent perfectionist, and as a business owner, he’s re-writing the rulebook for regional restaurants across Australia” says Durack. “By digging down and being part of the landscape, Brae is carving out a very special place for itself where you can have a uniquely Victorian experience”.
The 2017 list also sees more wind beneath the wings of regional restaurants across the board, with a total of fourteen restaurants in the top 100 located outside capital cities. Notable among them is the tiny 14-seater Fleet in Brunswick Heads, just north of Byron Bay, where Josh Lewis, Astrid McCormack and Rob Mudge make up Australia’s smallest restaurant service team (and that includes the chef). Nevertheless, Fleet was voted the ‘Qantas Top Service Team’ by the chefs and restaurateurs of Australia. “I think it’s everyone’s dream, to run a restaurant like Fleet” says Dupleix.
Notable restaurants new to the top 100 list include Sydney’s new retro-European darling, the Swillhouse Group’s Restaurant Hubert (at number 10), Josh Nyland’s tiny Saint Peter in Paddington (11), Danielle Alvarez’s wood-fired, farm-to-table Fred’s, also in Paddington (23), the informal, egalitarian Bar Liberty in Melbourne’s Fitzroy (49), former Attica chef Peter Gunn’s Ides in Melbourne (59), and Jedd Gerrard’s glamorous Perth big-night-outer, Wildflower (60).
The Australian Financial Review Australia’s Top Restaurants was launched in 2015, with the vision to create a unique insiders’ guide to the best Australian dining at every level. The overall list of Australia’s top 500 restaurants is first compiled by Directors Durack and Dupleix in conjunction with a distinguished Australia-wide panel of Good Food Guide editors, reviewers and industry experts. These restaurants form an academy of voters, with each restaurant asked to nominate their top ten restaurants from the list of 500. It’s these votes that decide Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants – in order; as well as Australia’s Top Chef and the Qantas Top Service Team.
Joining the Financial Review to present the Awards for the third year is iconic Australian brand and long-term supporter of excellence in Australian dining – Qantas. “We have such shared values on the celebration of our great dining industry” says Dupleix. “In many ways, it is a top Australian restaurant itself, that just happens to be in the sky.”
1. Brae, Birregurra VIC
2. Attica, VIC
3. Ester, NSW
4. Sixpenny, NSW
5. Sepia, NSW
6. Franklin, TAS
7. Tipo00, VIC
8. Embla, VIC
9. Automata, NSW
For the full list visit www.afr.com/australias-top-restaurants
Top in State: The highest scorers in their own backyards:
ACT: Ben Willis’s highly crafted, wine-friendly food at Aubergine.
SA: The fun, fabulous North African-inspired Africola
NT: The romantic waterside Pee Wee’s at the Point
WA: Jed Gerrard’s luxurious Wildflower in the historic heart of Perth’s CBD
TAS: The total celebration of all things Tasmanian that is Franklin.
QLD: The classy and moreish Middle Eastern-inspired Gerard’s Bistro.
VIC: Brae housed in a charming cottage set amid productive gardens.
NSW: Mat Lindsay’s wood-fuelled Ester in Chippendale.