The Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards are announced

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th July 2012

Australia’s sizzling culinary scene was celebrated last night with the inaugural The Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards.

The Awards recognise Australia’s top restaurants and rich culinary talents, with prizes being awarded across a number of categories. These included Hottest Design, Hottest Chef and Hottest Classic.

The coveted top prize of Hottest Restaurant went to Sydney newcomer Momofuku Seiōbo. The People’s Choice award went to Melbourne’s Hare & Grace.

The judging panel represented a cross-section of Australia’s culinary elite including Weekend Australian Magazine’s restaurant critic, John Lethlean, food writers Necia Wilden and Simon Thomsen and expert contributors in a number of states.

Lethlean said Momofuku Seiōbo, which only opened in October 2011, really was a must-visit experience.

Momofuku Seiōbo embodies everything these awards are about,” Lethlean said.

“Energy, creativity and unpredictability underpinned by the fundamentals of a great restaurant experience – superb produce, precise and sympathetic cooking, proper service, an appreciation of the role of wine in great dining and, of course, proper hospitality.

“We were looking for restaurants on the cutting edge of Australian dining that are really doing something different. We looked at every aspect, from the food and service to the wine list and restaurant design. We wanted to find the hottest restaurants that epitomise Australian dining and where it’s heading. We are really proud of the awards; they are a great representation of the Australian culinary landscape.”

Momofuku Seiōbo’s David Chang has been widely acclaimed. The chef has been described by former New York Times Restaurant Critic Frank Bruni as “a chef who went further than any of his peers in wedding serious, sometimes challenging food and an ultra-casual, spontaneous dining ethos in tune with unbound times.”

The complete list of winners of The Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards 2012 were:


Hottest Restaurant                    Momofuku Seiōbo, Sydney

Hottest by State                        NSW: Momofuku Seiōbo

VIC: Moon Under Water

SA: Press* Food & Wine

QLD: Esquire

TAS: Garagistes

WA: Restaurant Amusé

Hottest Wine Experience          Tetsuya’s, Sydney

Hottest People’s Choice           Hare & Grace, Melbourne

Hottest Value                            Press* Food & Wine, Adelaide

Hottest Service                         Sixpenny, Sydney

Hottest Design                          Neild Avenue, Sydney

Hottest Classic                         Café Di Stasio, Melbourne

Hottest Chef                             Andrew McConnell

Hottest Dish – TIE                    Quay, Sydney (Smoked and confit pig cheek, shiitake, shaved scallop, Jerusalem artichoke, juniper, bay)

Restaurant Amusé, Perth (Egg, mushroom, pine nut, smoke)