Written by Belinda Yabsley, Director, Quintessentially Australia
1. Quay (Sydney)
2011 is the year for Quay Restaurant, voted number 26 on the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, making it the highest ranked Australian restaurant in the world.
Quay strives to deliver their diners a truly memorable experience whether it is through Peter Gilmore’s beautiful food, or the wines which are sourced from around the world.
Peter Gilmore takes inspiration from the Nature Based Cuisine Movement, as the restaurant sources its produce from its own organic farm situated in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.
Quay offers a dining experience of four courses with five choices per course. With a continually changing menu Peter Gilmore is forever evolving his cuisine. The Stunning Signature Sea Pearls and the classic Quay Eight Texture Chocolate Cake are the only two dishes that feature on the menu year round. http://www.quay.com.au/index.html
2. Tetsuya’s (Sydney)
Set in the heart of Sydney, Tetsuya’s is renowned for its unique degustation menu, which takes inspiration from Chef Tetsuya’s Japanese background combined with French technique.
Tetsuya’s manages to take the diner on a journey that removes them from the CBD and transports them into one of the three main dining areas, one with a floor-to-ceiling window that looks out upon the Japanese gardens of maples and waterfalls.
The restaurant offers an eleven-course degustation menu that is forever changing, with a wine matching option with several of them made especially to complement Tetsuya’s food.
Tetsuya Wakuda is undeniably one of Australia’s favourite and most celebrated chefs. Impeccable service teamed with exceptional food and perfectly paired wine makes for an unforgettable dining experience. Everybody wants a table a Tetsuya’s… With a rumoured six-month waitlist, bookings are essential. http://www.tetsuyas.com/index.html
3. The Royal Mail (country VIC)
Dunkeld’s Royal Mail Hotel is home to the Royal Mail Restaurant, which boasts seasonal menus, locally sourced produce and a challenge for the senses.
Offering two versions of their degustation—menu omnivore and menu vegetarian—the kitchen creates the menus daily with the organic produce selected from the kitchen gardens and local artisan produces.
Executive Chef and Manager Dan Hunter previously trained at the two-Michelin-starred Mugaritz in Spain, and now offers diners the experience of a multi-course menu that is beautiful to look at, playing with temperature and texture.
With a varied collection of hand selected Australian wines stored in their optimum conditions, staff are on hand to help develop a wine menu to compliment the tasting menus or you can simply have the wine chosen for you. http://www.royalmail.com.au/
4. Urbane (Brisbane)
Urbane, Brisbane’s very own multi award-winning restaurant, prides itself on its sophisticated dining experience that challenges the senses through the intricate and carefully crafted degustation menu. The menus take inspiration from European and Asian cuisine, creating modern twists on all-time classics. http://www.urbanerestaurant.com/
5. Flutes Restaurant (Brookland Valley Winery Margaret River, WA)
Set amongst Broome’s premier wine-growing region of the Margaret River, Flutes’ Chef Proprietor Francois Morvan takes influence from his French background whilst taking advantage of the local produce to create a menu that continually changes but offers modern Australian flavours. The signature seafood trio of local marron, salmon and barramundi is not to be missed! http://www.flutes.com.au/
6. The Lane Vineyard (Adelaide Hills)
Chef James Brinklow delivers elegant yet simple dishes with a wine list that gets diners’ mouths watering. Sample some of the local wines whilst enjoying a cheese plate or explore the daily specials for something more substantial. http://www.thelane.com.au/
7. MoVida (Melbourne)
Considered the country’s best tapas establishment, MoVida is set in the heart of Melbourne and takes influence from the Spanish heritage mixing both traditional and modern techniques.
Hidden in a cobbled laneway, MoVida is not limited to Spanish cuisine and is not the average run-of-the-mill restaurant, which is part of the charm. Indoor and outdoor dining caters every diner’s needs. http://www.movida.com.au/index.html
8. Coco’s (Perth)
Located on the banks of the Swan River on the South Perth Esplanade, Coco’s has been one of Perth’s premier fine dining restaurants for over 18 years. A better view of the Perth skyline would be hard to find.
Coco’s has always epitomized the finer things in life and is the perfect place to impress family, loved ones or clients in a fine dining atmosphere with spectacular views.
For the wine connoisseur the extensive vintage cellar is sure to please. Owner Ian Love buys direct from the vineyards and then cellars the wine for five to six years. http://www.westvalley.com.au/perth-restaurant/cocos/index.html
9. Buon Ricordo (Sydney)
Located in Sydney’s inner suburb of Paddington, Buon Ricordo is known as one of Australia’s finest Italian restaurants.
Head chef Armando Percuocco takes influence from his Neapolitan roots and many other regions throughout Italy. With a name that means good memories Buon Rocordo’s aim is to provide diners with a memorable dining experience. http://www.buonricordo.com.au/page/home.html
10. Nino’s in Woollahra
The ultimate in old-school dining, Nino’s is yet to set up a website. Let’s hope it stays that way as they are rumoured to have the best lobster penne ever created and homemade tiramisu!