The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Good Food Guide 2012

September 7th, 2011  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  6 Comments

Good Food Guide 2012

Sequels are meant to be disappointing, but my second year reviewing for Good Food Guide was infinitely more fun than any overlong Hollywood franchise. My “places to cover” list took me from Cabramatta to Palm Beach and I was even lucky enough to write up two restaurants that ended up in the hat-earning categories.

The awards took place last night and there were many genuine surprises (and zero thanking of God, though there was one 14/20 joke and one namedropping mention that David Chang was in the room). The big winners were Sepia (graduating to three hats and Restaurant of the Year) and Porteno (jumping in with two hats and Best New Restaurant). And, as if their charm and culinary smarts weren’t enough, unofficially, I thought Porteno’s crew also scored Best Dressed of the night, with everyone’s favourite hostess Sarah Doyle blitzing the stage in an awesome vintage-style, confectionery-striped outfit.

As the night went on, I found that almost every win would fork into one of two default reactions from me: “so glad that place did well!” (Porteno) or “I badly want to go there” (Sepia). I think that’s a good sign of who scored top honours.

I’m really happy that Duke Bistro, District Dining, Gastro Park, Biota Dining and Vini gained their first ever hats (especially Vini, which has been such a long-time favourite). It is also great to see lots of brilliant new eateries land in the Good Food GuideThe Dip, Orto Trading Co. and El Capo, just to name some of the staggering 78 additions. And there were lots of interesting category wins, from Favourite Breakfast for Three Blue Ducks to Favourite Vegetarian Menu for Bilson’s (how things have changed since that infamous incident where Tony Bilson “placated” a disappointed vego diner with a voucher to a buffet at Govinda’s). I did think 121BC would get Best Bar with Food, but that went to The Owl House (yes, another one to try).

Major kudos to editors Joanna Savill and Terry Durack, regional editor Barbara Sweeney and production editor Paul McLean (the one force in the world that makes sure we get our reviews in our time) for producing a great lifeline for anyone hungry in this town. Hope you enjoy rediscovering Sydney through the 900 entries in the Good Food Guide, as I will.



  1. It must be awesome to to be part of such an important book in the Sydney food scene. I was avidly following your tweets on the night to find out who had won what.

    I’ve had Sepia on my wish list for a while now. Pleased it won best restaurant, but it probably means I’ll never get a table now. My own fault for being slow!

    I love Porteno (probably fav restaurant in Sydney) and think they really deserve to do well. Best new restaurant is well deserved. But two hats? Perhaps I’ve got a slightly different view of what a hat is (equating them to Michelin stars?), but I don’t think it is a two hatted kind of place.

  2. Congrats on your second year as a reviewer. Can’t wait to get a copy of the guide!

  3. 900 entries! Woah. Looking forward to having a good ol’ read 🙂

  4. Porteno sounds great, I’m going to put that on my wishlist 🙂 Wow I didn’t know you contributed to the Good Food Guide, thats really great! I’m going to pick a copy on the weekend 🙂

  5. Confused says:

    Congrats on your review.

    But the ratings are starting to puzzle me. I have bought a copy of the GFG since 2003 or 2004, but I am not going to purchase it this year.

    The reason being is that the rating system that I use as a guide, is starting to become very questionable. Sepia – been there 3 times, twice I had overcooked meat and the other time, it was a good meal. But do I think it is better than the likes of Tetsuya, NO WAY. The food is creative, but technically, it is no where near the level of Tets, Marque, Quay or Est or even Becasse.

    I am just not sure how the scoring works anymore, I think the scores favour new, more trendy cooking.

    Sorry, taking the shine from your reviews – congratulations.

  6. Great round up for an exciting evening. We couldn’t get enough of the prosciutto and cheeses!

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Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

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This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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