Cue award acceptance music, it's that time of the year where Australia rolls out its red carpet, puts on a frock and celebrates the best in the restaurant industry. Starting with The Australian's Hot 50 Restaurant Awards a few weeks ago, who named Sydney's Momofuku Seiobo the hottest of them all, Time Out Sydney followed suit with their awards ceremony taking place this week at The Star's Sokyo.
While you'd best be picking up a copy of Time Out's Sydney mag to get the full low down, here are are a couple of restaurants that took home some rather handsome looking plates to put on their wall:
Restaurant of the Year: Momofuku Seiobo
When Sydney reported that New York's most gangsta chef, David Chang was coming to Sydney to open a restaurant...in a casino...well, people were skeptical. Was it bullshit? Would it be less cool because of the whole casino vibe? Apparently not. With a crew of some of the best chefs and front of house staff in Sydney running the show, it goes to show Australians should be a little less skeptical about looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Whether it's at the bar, or the full blown degustation, it's worth dropping in to see what all the fuss is about.
The Star 80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Best Casual Dining: Izakaya Fujiyama
I'll admit, I have a soft spot for KFC. As long as it stands for Kenji's Fried Chicken. We've talked about izakayas before - the sweet Japanese invention of a place to go to eat things...with a beer in your hand or several sakes under your belt. Kenji-san and his crew, Taka-san the mega sushi chef and Steve, a man who probably knows more about Japanese alcohol than any man alive should...it's a fun, casual place to visit, sit at the bar, learn a thing or two about what great, modern Japanese snacks can be...and then maybe forget it after a few rounds of shochu.
Shop G09/52 Waterloo Street Surry Hills New South Wales 2010
(02) 9698 2797
Best Bang For Your Buck: Al Aseel
Because we all love a cheap eat, especially when a) it's great b) you're drunk or c) you just appreciate good value, Al Aseel just might be your best bet right now. There are a few around town, but check out their newest child on Missenden Road in Newtown. It may look a wee bit fancy, but head up the stairs and pull up a seat - there are plenty of Lebanese hits to share, including fantastically cheesy pastries that ooze naughty, naughty goodness, the felafels are seriously good and if you're stuck on deciding, you should make a bee-line for the mixed plate, filled with toothsome grilled meats (the lamb, she's good), a few kibbeh, some pickles'n'homous and plenty of fresh Lebanese bread to mop it all up with.
189 Missenden Road Newtown NSW 2042
Click here to check out the rest of 2012's winners.