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The Age Good Food Guide 2012

By Tricia Brown
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The Age Good Food Guide 2012

The Age Good Food Guide 2012


More than 70 brand-new restaurants, cafes and bars feature in this year's Good Food Guide. Some are big-name, big-money ventures and some are little spots where the people who own the shop run the shop.

The year's big food trend is dude food – blokey, beer-friendly and often barbecued – along with street food. Chocolate fondant and salted caramel remain the go-to desserts as well as sweets referencing baby-boomer childhoods: bombe Alaska, milk bar ice creams, popcorn and sherbet.

Right on trend, Geoff Lindsay's BBQ spare ribs at the new hotspot Dandelion in Elwood, gets Dish of the Year – 'The result can silence a table (except for the sound of fingers being licked).'

Ben Shewry's remarkable menu saw Attica take the award for Restaurant of the Year. Winning last year's Chef of the Year, the evolution of Attica under Shewry, a gifted innovator, has been little short of amazing.

The Royal Mail Hotel at Dunkeld which last year won Restaurant of the Year, this year sees Dan Hunter awarded Chef of the Year. One of Australia's most innovative and accomplished chefs, Hunter has made this remote restaurant a great Australian destination with the food and wine world-class.

Within days of its opening, diners at the new and hot Golden Fields were enraptured by Andrew McConnell's Shanghai-inspired menu and Melbourne gained another exciting, innovative and original new place to dine. Golden Fields is this year's Best New Restaurant.

Loam on the Bellarine Peninsula, last year awarded Best New Country Restaurant as well as Dish of the Year and raising the question Can they keep it up? answered with the Regional Restaurant of the Year award. 'Aaron and Astrid Turner continue to excite, challenge and cosset diners with a magical combination of service smarts and naturalistic, modern cooking.'

Best New Regional Restaurant is Mr Carsisi in Kyneton. Owner/chef Matthew Fegan (formerly with the Royal George and Pizza Verde) has created a menu rich with the flavours, spices and unique combinations of the lands on the Bosphorus.

Josh Murphy, after stints at Circa and Three, One, Two, and now head chef at Cumuls Inc is Young Chef of the Year.

Other awards include BYO Restaurant of the Year (Osteria La Passione), Sustainability Award (Maurice Esposito), Service Excellence Award (Jason Lui, Flower Drum), Professional Excellence Award (Neil Perry) and Legend Award (Philippe Mouchel).

The European's head sommelier, Bengt Baumgartner, is 'intelligent, polite and dedicated to guiding diners to perfect, pleasurable drinking'. He is now also Sommelier of the Year. Spice Temple with its thrilling choices gets Wine List of the Year whilst Regional Wine List of the Year goes to Lake House in Daylesford.

Covering Melbourne and regional Victoria along with the best interstate, The Age Good Food Guide is peppered with 10 New and Hot, Five of the Best (Late, One Night Only, Outdoor Dining, Cheap Eats, Vegetarian Degustation, Gourmet Getaways) and where to find gourmet cafes, the best coffee and great bars.

Restaurants are visited anonymously and are given a score out of 20 with the very best awarded chef's hats – from one to three. Categories include food, wine and wine service, overall service, atmosphere and value for money.

It's a bumper crop this year and the drought has broken so bring it on! Here's how to get the rundown on what we're eating, how we're eating it and where.


The Age Good Food Guide 2012 edited by Janne Apelgren is published by Penguin Books (Melbourne, sc, 2011; RRP A$29.95). Subscribers and Members of and Winepros Archive click here to purchase The Age Good Food Guide 2012 at 12.5% discount from our book partners Seekbooks (postage extra).


The Age Good Food Guide 2012 is also online at with the website exclusive for Good Food Guide readers. Use the unique number inside your copy (or supplied when purchasing the app) to gain access. Here you can browse all reviews and make your reservations on the spot, rate the restaurants and leave your own review.

On the home page you will also find a link to the Good Food Guide 2012 app.



  • Sydney (NSW)
  • Melbourne Surrounds (VIC)
  • Melbourne (VIC)
  • Melbourne and Melbourne West (VIC)

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November 02nd, 2011
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