Ah, Food Awards… that most splendid time of the year when we reward the faces and spaces, newcomers and old favourites that make Sydney one of the world’s most electrifying places to dine.
A sold-out crowd of Time Out readers, serious eaters and hospitality heavyweights gathered at Bopp and Tone to celebrate the industry’s best of the best on Monday night, from bang-for-your-buck cheap eats to the pointiest end of destination dining. Gin and Tonics with Whitley Neill gin, wines from Mojo and Tar and Roses, and Gage Roads Brewing Co’s range of beers – Single Fin summer ale, Little Dove New World pale ale and the Atomic Beer Project’s pale ale and IPA (yes, we had one of each) – were flowing from the start.
The snack game was mighty strong all night as well, kicking off with a monstrous stockpile of charcuterie, cheese and freshly shucked rock oysters. Executive chef Jason Roberson and head chef Sa Va’afusuaga whipped up a wicked line-up of canapés that followed, featuring quail egg Benedict with spanner crab and Avruga caviar, chargrilled Wagyu striploin sauced with béarnaise, slow-cooked lamb shoulder rolls and spiced eggplant turnovers with pistachio and saffron labneh.
MasterChef favourite Khanh Ong was the MC on duty, in charge of keeping the motor running as nine awards were presented to cafés, restaurants, chefs and legends. This year, Time Out partnered with Google for the People’s Choice: Signature Searches Award, rewarding unique eats worth searching for across the city. The Ottoman eggs at Parramatta stalwart Circa Espresso took the gong, cementing Sydneysiders’ ongoing love affair with Middle Eastern flavours and dynamite breakfasts.
Darlinghurst’s Lankan Filling Station, the year’s most nominated restaurant, was the night’s big victor, winning both Best Casual Dining Restaurant and the coveted Restaurant of the Year for its fun and fearless exploration of Subcontinental flavours. Quay, Peter Gilmore’s acclaimed seaside standard-setter and another Restaurant of the Year frontrunner, was crowned Best Fine Dining Restaurant.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the show-stopping tamales at Rosa Cienfuegos’ Tamaleria and Mexican Deli ran away with the prize for Best Cheap Eat, while the quietly sophisticated café fare at Newtown’s One Another earned owners Mitchell Antman and Louis Spangaro the trophy for Best Café. Nearby Bella Brutta, the pizzeria that stormed the scene late in 2018 with a one-of-a-kind clam pizza, received the Best New Restaurant Award.
Momofuku Seiobo’s Paul Carmichael was named Chef of the Year for his peerless Caribbean cooking, and Lorraine Godsmark – the pastry veteran responsible for satiating Sydney’s sweet tooths for the past 30-plus years – was recognised for her outstanding contribution to the city’s culinary landscape with this year’s Legend Award.
All the winners received trophies and the glory that comes with a Time Out Food Award. The celebration would not have been possible without the hard work of the team at the beautiful Bopp and Tone, as well as our sponsors: Gage Roads Brewing Co, Whitley Neill gin, Bisleri water, Royal Doulton and Joval Wines.
You can read about all of this year’s nominees and winners by picking up a free copy of Time Out magazine’s Food Awards spring issue. You can grab one up for free between 6.30 and 10.30am on Wednesday, September 11 at Newtown and Parramatta train stations; Thursday, September 12 at Martin Place, Manly and Redfern train stations; and Friday, September 13 at Central, Parramatta and Newtown train stations.