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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Food Awards season, when we get to crown the best of the best in this city of incredible dining powered by some of the best cheffing talents in the known ’verse.
It’s also an excuse for a big ol’ party, which is why 350 Melburnians packed out George on Collins for a celebration of Melbourne’s restaurants, from the cheapest of cheap eats to the fanciest of fine dining. The night began with gin and tonics from Whitley Neill Gin, wines from Mojo and Tar and Roses, and frosty brews from Gage Roads Brewing Co, including the Single Fin Summer Ale, Atomic Beer Project Pale Ale, Atomic Beer Project IPA and Little Dove New World Pale Ale.
On the food front, George on Collins’ Vietnamese-inflected kitchen pumped out kingfish in betel leaf; avocado rice paper rolls with crunchy veg and nouc mam; roasted duck rice paper rolls with hoisin sauce; vegetarian spring rolls; lemongrass chicken banh mi; mushroom banh mi; yellow chicken Vietnamese curry; and a tempeh and mixed vegetable red ga ri.
The room was packed with head chefs, industry legends and a whole lot of people who truly love dining out in Melbourne. Masterchef favourite Khanh Ong was on hosting duties, delivering the news on who would take home the award for Best Casual Dining, Chef of the Year, and Restaurant of the Year, Cheap Eat, Fine Dining and Café category. Thanks to a hospitality scene that has the kind of momentum you expect from a bullet train, there was an award for the Best New Restaurant to have opened its doors in the last 12 months.
Plus there is always the will of the public, who this year voted for Sunda’s Vegemite curry roti to take home the inaugural People’s Choice: Signature Searches award, in partnership with Google. The crowd went double wild for chef Thi Le, who took home Chef of the Year and whose restaurant, Anchovy, was also nominated for Time Out’s Best Casual Dining Restaurant.
Best New Restaurant went to the hyper-local eatery at the end of the Hurstbridge line, Greasy Zoe’s, Best Casual Dining Restaurant went to the all-day Fitzroy hot-spot Napier Quarter, and Best Fine Dining Restaurant was awarded to the super-zen Japanese Daylesford newcomer Kazuki’s.
Everyone’s favourite Italian family, the Grossis, took home this year’s Legend Award in recognition of its influence on Melbourne’s dining past and present.
All the winners walked away with trophies and the glory that comes with a Time Out Food Award. The 2019 Time Out Food Awards celebrations would not have been possible without our beautiful venue, the George on Collins, and our sponsors Gage Road Brewing Co, Whitley Neill Gin, Bisleri Water, Royal Doulton and Joval Wines.
Can’t wait to start ticking these amazing venues off your hit list? You can read about all our winners and nominees, by picking up a free copy of Time Out’s Food Awards spring issue. We’ll be handing out magazines between 6.30 and 10.30am on Wednesday, September 4 at Flagstaff and Parliament stations; Thursday, September 5 at Melbourne Central, Hawthorn and South Yarra stations; and Friday, September 6 at Flagstaff, Flinders Street and Parliament stations.