2014 GT Australian Restaurant Guide launch

Author: Pat Nourse
Photography: Jem Cresswell

Plenty of plates were flying at Greek hotspot Alpha last night, but they weren't for the smashing. Our crack team of reviewers has combed the land for its best eating, and their hard work has paid off in the form of a new edition of Australia's national restaurant guide. The country's top chefs jetted in to Sydney for the launch of the guide and for the announcement of the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards over a fittingly epic evening of eating and drinking.

Chef Peter Conistis and his team kept things real in the kitchen, while Nine's Leila McKinnon brought plenty of sparkle to the stage in her role as MC. The night kicked off with some inspiring words from sponsor Vittoria Coffee, and some equally stirring drinks from Tanqueray.

"Vittoria Coffee has been a consistent sponsor of Gourmet and these awards for many, many years," said Vittoria CEO Les Schirato. "And by sponsoring these awards tonight, it's a great honour for me to be able to put back into this industry that's been so good to me and that I love so much."

The chefs, meanwhile, made the most of having someone else cook for them for a change. Some of the happiest faces in the room were those of the team from Bar Di Stasio, Bar of the Year winner, and the Monopole crew, which picked up Wine List of the Year. Sydney's Mr Wong romped in for the New Restaurant of the Year award, Queensland scored with Maîtres d' of the Year going to Drew Patten and Andrew Buchanan of Urbane, while Perth's Sam Ward picked up the Best New Talent gong for his work at El Público. Tasmania, meanwhile, had a win with The Stackings breaking Victoria's stranglehold on the Regional Restaurant of the Year award.

"It's so nice to be nominated," said David Moyle, head chef at The Stackings,"but to win it up against such great competition is just pretty shocking". 

This isn't to say Victoria didn't hold its own - far from it, in fact. George Biron, chef and proprietor of country dining institution Sunnybrae was celebrated for his contribution to hospitality, and Campbell Burton, of Melbourne's Moon Under Water, won Sommelier of the Year. In the peer-voted Chef of the Year award it was Andrew McConnell, of Cutler & Co., who came up trumps.

Nine restaurants around the country scored the coveted three-star rating, and at the end of the countdown came the big one: Restaurant of the Year. Sydney's Momofuku Seiobo beat fierce competition to be named the number-one restaurant on the new Gourmet Traveller Top 100.

"Our team's worked so hard since they've been here. We're not even two years old yet, so hopefully things are just going to get better -  the team's going to get stronger and just keep on pushing," said Momofuku Seiobo's Ben Greeno.

Thanks to Vittoria Coffee, Tanqueray and supporting sponsors Smeg, Citizen and Domo, we're proud to bring you the new edition of the  restaurant guide. For your copy, and for details on all the award winners, grab the September issue of Gourmet Traveller, on sale now.

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