The fine-dining restaurant in Rundle Street beat a host of top contenders from Melbourne and Sydney, including Attica and Bennelong, to claim top prize at the awards, which were presented last night.
Gourmet Traveller said that as a stranger to Australian culture, Scottish-born Zonfrillo “foraged for inspiration where too few chefs had looked”, visiting Indigenous communities all over Australia to learn about native foods.
“At Orana, Zonfrillo’s intimate Adelaide restaurant, a philosophy took form in dishes where lesser-seen native ingredients and more familiar fare found a happy (and very tasty) meeting place. Davidson plum on Spencer Gulf prawns, say, or Port Lincoln tuna belly with smoked gubinge and ruby saltbush berries.”
It is the latest in a string of awards for Zonfrillo, who was this month named “Hottest Chef of 2017” by The Australian newspaper. Orana was one of just two Adelaide restaurants to make the top 50 in the Australian Financial Review’s Australia’s Top Restaurants awards in June (the other was Africola).
Orana, which is renowned for its 18-20 course degustation, is tied closely with Zonfrillo’s not-for-profit Orana Foundation, which last year won a $1.25 million State Government grant to help develop the native Australian food industry while supporting indigenous communities.
Zonfrillo says he thinks of his flagship eatery as a billboard to promote native Australian food and is always aiming to give back with it more than he takes.
“The foundation is the crucial next step in preserving indigenous food knowledge and to sharing that with everyone,” he says.
Last night’s awards also crowned the top 10 restaurants in each capital city, the best regionally-based restaurants and Australia’s top 100 eateries overall.
The country’s best restaurant last year, Momofuku Seiobo, dropped to third in the national list but was top of the Sydney crop.
Geelong’s Igni has held on to the title of Australia’s best regional restaurant.
Mat Lindsay of Sydney’s Ester was named chef of the year, and OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn has been honoured with the outstanding contribution to hospitality award for her food-waste activism.
Full list of winners:
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR – Orana, Adelaide
CHEF OF THE YEAR – Mat Lindsay – Ester, Sydney
NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR – Fred’s, Sydney
BEST NEW TALENT – Josh Niland – Saint Peter, Sydney
REGIONAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR – Igni, Geelong
BAR OF THE YEAR – Bar Rochford, Canberra
MAITRE D’ OF THE YEAR – Chris Young – Cafe Di Stasio, Melbourne
WINE LIST OF THE YEAR – Kisume, Melbourne
SOMMERLIER OF THE YEAR – Caitlyn Rees – Fred’s, Sydney
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HOSPITALITY – Ronni Kahn, OzHarvest
Australia’s Top 10 Restaurants
1 Orana, SA
2 Attica, Vic
3 Momofuku Seiobo, NSW
4 Brae, Vic
5 Cutler & Co, Vic
6 Vue de Monde, Vic
7 Quay, NSW
8 The Bridge Room, NSW
9 Bennelong, NSW
10 Bentley, NSW
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