Attica takes out honour as Melbourne’s best restaurant

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 26th August 2008

restaurant meal

The prestigious Age Good Food Guide Awards were held last night with Ripponlea restaurant Attica taking the coveted prize as Restaurant of the Year.

Led by Executive Chef Ben Shewry, Attica has steadily worked its way into the top echelon of Melbourne restaurants, though Good Food Guide co-editor Necia Wilden admitted that Attica was, perhaps, a surprise choice to some as it lacks the glamour of other contenders. Ms Wilden suggests, however, that the passionate commitment of key personnel had led to an understated success story worthy of an award winner. “In a way, it’s quite an understated restaurant, but the team there led by the chef Ben Shewry has really just committed to a strategy of continuous improvement – getting all the fundamentals right and taking it to that higher level,” she told The Age.

Shewry also claimed the award for Best Dish of the Year for his smoked trout broth, crackling, basil seeds with fresh smoke.

Frank Camorra of the oft-lauded Spanish restaurant MoVida received the honour of Chef of the Year for his continued dedication to improving the quality of his food, with Bistro Guillaume (city – Crown) and the Tea Rooms of Yarck (country) receiving recognition as Victoria’s best new restaurants.

The Royal Mail Hotel took out the prize of Best Country Restaurant which rounded off a good fortnight for the Dunkeld-based restaurant following their success in the Gourmet Traveller awards.

Jacques Reymond and Vue De Monde shared the mantle as Melbourne’s only three hat restaurants, with eighteen city and six country restaurants awarded with two hats.

The Age Good Food Guide took note of a trend away from fine dining restaurants in Melbourne toward a more casual dining experience with the introduction of a new ‘Bacchus’ category. The competitive nature of the Melbourne restaurant industry, growing pressure on restaurateurs to find and retain qualified staff, rising food prices and increased “hip-pocket-nerve” of consumers were considered the reasons for the heightened interest in casual dining.

The winner of the inaugural Bacchus award was Bar Lourinhã in Little Collins Street.