After a Covid-induced hiatus in 2020, The Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards are back with a bang this year, serving up the best hospo talent this fine country has to offer.
The Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards are an annual celebration of the best, bold and brilliant restaurants and chefs in Australia. The prestigious awards showcase the wonderfully diverse hospitality industry down under, and this year we’re thrilled that five venues from the Lightspeed family have been nominated as finalists.
After an unbelievably tough 18 months, these nominations are a testament to the resilience of our beloved hospo community. Gourmet Traveller Editor, Joanna Hunkin comments,
“Without question, the most exciting part of this year’s awards is how many new restaurants feature. It is testament to both the creativity and resilience of the industry that new venues have continued to open since March last year, offering new and exceptional experiences.
“Many have come from established players, as they flex creativity and agility in equal measure. And there is plenty more to come. Lockdowns may pause physical progress but, time has proven, they can spark even brighter, bolder plans.”
And the finalists are…
Aurora, Adelaide SA
Best New Restaurant Finalist: The team at Aurora pride themselves on their commitment to sustainability, local produce and social responsibility, as well as delivering memorable dining experiences for their guests. While the menu features a fusion of cuisines, Head Chef Brendan Wessels ensures there’s a nod towards his South African heritage with a purpose-built braai in the centre of Aurora’s open kitchen.
Porcine, Sydney NSW
Best New Restaurant Finalist: Located above a bottle shop in Sydney’s Paddington, Porcine features a French-inspired menu with a British pub vibe and a focus on delicious porky dishes. The masterminds behind Porcine, which opened its doors in March 2021, are hospo veterans Nik Hill (The Old Fitz), Harry Levy (Don Peppino’s) and Matt Fitzgerald (Solotel Group), so you know you’re in good hands.
Rosheen Kaul, Etta
Best New Talent Finalist: Rosheen Kaul got a late start in the hospitality industry after initially studying psychology and neuroscience at university. However, her love of food inspired her to pursue a culinary career instead. After an apprenticeship at Victor Liong’s Lee Ho Fook and Chef de Partie role at Dinner by Heston, Kaul is now delighting diners as Head Chef at Etta in Melbourne, which features a predominantly vegetarian-friendly menu in an 80-seat dining room.
Cam Fairbairn, Cafe Paci
Restaurant Personality of the Year Finalist: Cam Fairbairn, the legendary maître d’ at Cafe Paci in Sydney’s Newtown epitomises the hospitality industry’s desire to make everyone feel accepted. After years in the industry, Fairbairn has honed his unique style of service and effortless ability to welcome guests through the door, readying them for an evening of excellent service.
Snack Man, Brisbane QLD
Wine Bar of the Year Finalist: The team behind Snack Man in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, stray away from the traditional notion of a wine bar in the best possible way. You won’t find cheese or charcuterie to accompany your wine selection, instead, the menu offers a vast array of Chinese dishes – from dumplings to pan-fried ‘pies’ and chow mein. And, it goes without saying, there’s an impressive wine list to pair with the food.
Congratulations from the Lightspeed Family
We’re thrilled for our family of Lightspeed venues across Australia and are excited to see a number of our customers being recognised for their amazing food, drink and talent on a national scale.
The winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on Sunday 24th October. For details of how to tune in and enjoy the celebration, keep an eye on The Gourmet Traveller Instagram page.