At the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony overnight – this year held in Bilbao in Spain’s Basque Country – Melbourne restaurant Attica was announced as the world’s 20th best restaurant in the influential, juror-voted countdown.
Attica’s record 2018 placing sees Ben Shewry’s deeply personal Ripponlea restaurant rise 12 places from its 2017 ranking of 32: a benefit, one would assume, of Melbourne hosting last year’s ceremony, which would have seen many likely World’s 50 Best voters in town for the awards. (The rankings reflect the votes of an international jury of anonymous voters made up of chefs, food journalists and restaurant observers).
"With each year that the list comes out, and we receive the letter telling us that we are included, it’s a really sweet little moment and one we always take a moment to enjoy with the team,” Shewry told Broadsheet ahead of this year’s ceremony. “But then it’s back to the regular game of trying to get better every day and to do a better job for the amazing people we get to cook for and serve each night. No greater reward than that.”
Attica has featured on the main list since 2013, when it was the sole Australian restaurant in the countdown, debuting at 21. That year, Shewry shed tears when telling his team the restaurant had broken into the list – "I was so overcome with emotion (and sleep deprivation) that I cried".
Six years after making the cut (nine including the three years Attica spent on the supplementary 51–100 list), Shewry acknowledged the emotions manifest a little differently, but inclusion is "still an absolute honour and a thrill".
Last year, he was joined by Dan Hunter and Juliane Bagnato's destination restaurant Brae in the top 50, when it debuted in the main list at number 44. This year, Brae slipped back to number 58 in the ancillary list.
Despite Australia only having one entry in the main list, homegrown talent features throughout the countdown. The Ledbury, a Notting Hill restaurant from Newcastle-born Brett Graham, was voted at number 42. Burnt Ends, a modern Australian barbeque restaurant from Perth-born chef David Pynt, placed at number 61.
"I think one of the cool things about the list over the years is that it’s supported and afforded a place for the more experimental and creative restaurants around the globe," Shewry said. "Especially for some that didn’t fit the historical model of a fine-dining restaurant."
Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana, in Modena in Italy, took out the number one spot.
Head to worlds50best.com for full details of this year’s countdown.