A taste of Melbourne at the Time Out Food Awards

White linen table cloths, Korean blood sausage, Japanese breakfast, biodynamic produce, vegemite curry roti, house-made pasta, local buttermilk curds, and kangaroo salami. The search is over. You’ll be able to find all these gastronomical gems in the Time Out Melbourne Food Awards winners circle.

The awards celebrate Melbourne’s best cafés, restaurants and chefs. A crowd of 350 food loving Melburnians packed into the George on Collins to toast Melbourne’s dynamic food scene. The attendees sported chunky heels and jackets, although stretchy waistbands might have been more appropriate for the Vietnamese inspired canapés provided by Masterchef contestant Khanh Ong.

We filled ourselves with spring rolls, kingfish on betel leaf, chicken curry, avocado and duck rice paper rolls, banh mi, and bowls of aromatic mushrooms. After washing everything down Gage Roads’ beers and Whitely Neill gin and tonics, my plus one and I also made a sensible stop to Bisleri Water Hydration Station.

In addition to feeding everyone, Khanh Ong also hosted the festivities – with awards running the gamut from cheap eats (Mr. Lee’s Food) to fine dining (Kazuki’s). Sunda won the People’s Choice Award Signature Searches for their vegemite curry roti amidst a field of Instagramable contenders including pixel avocado and campfire hot chocolate. Greasy Zoe’s took out the best new restaurant award. Although the name conjures up images of a diner slinging burgers and fries, the new Hurstbridge venue actually has no menu and creates their dishes from seasonal, locally grown produce. Sitting even further afield is restaurant of the year, Oakridge. With vineyard views, chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone plate up the local surroundings at this Yarra Valley restaurant. Fine wines, garden grown vegetables, Australian meats, and foraged ingredients all end up on the table. Capping off the night was the Legend award honouring the Grossi family’s three generations of Italian dinning. “Had Melbourne never welcomed the Grossi name it would be a lesser city all round” summarised Time Out Food & Drink editor, Jess Ho.

We left with our bellies full, a bag full of swag, and a list of new places to explore.  The 2019 Time Out Food Award Winners:
Restaurant of the Year
Best New Restaurant
Greasy Zoe’s
Chef of the Year
Thi Le, Anchovy
Best Casual Dining Restaurant
Napier Quarter
Best Fine Dining Restaurant
Best Café
Ima Project Café
Best Cheap Eat
Mr Lee’s Foods
People’s Choice: Signature Searches
Vegemite Curry Roti at Sunda
Legend Award
The Grossi Family

Jenny S is an event adventurer. She loves being the first to know about all the events in Melbourne and living the Plus Ones lifestyle.
Pick up a copy of Time Out’s Food Awards spring issue or read about all the winners here

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Time Out.
Images provided by Time Out.