Over the past 15 years, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has steadily become the arbiter of all that matters in global fine dining. In 2016 the awards left London for the first time, crossing the Atlantic to New York. This year, the eyes of the global gastronomic community are on Melbourne, with the World’s 50 Best voting panel, chefs and an armada of media descending on Australia for tonight’s ceremony. In no small part, the attention on Melbourne is down to the vision of one man.
In 2014, Melbourne's Attica became the only Australian restaurant in the Top 50. For three years it’s flown our flag alone. Earlier tonight, it was announced that Attica has for the first time been joined in the Top 50 by Brae, whose 44th placing is a timely nod to the dining experiences Dan Hunter creates at his restaurant at Birregurra, 90 minutes west of Melbourne.
In a ceremony held at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Buildings, Ben Shewry’s Ripponlea restaurant was unveiled as 2017’s 32nd best restaurant, moving a single place from its 33rd in 2016. Ben Shewry accepted his award in front of a room of one thousand chefs, peers and media, who rose unanimously to applaud the announcement.
“It’s unbelievable to see you all; to have you all here," Shewry said on stage. "It's a dream come true and I’m lost for words."
It’s important to note this isn’t the first time Australia’s restaurants have scaled these heights. Sydney’s Tetsuya’s cracked the top 5 in 2007, with Rockpool making an appearance at 33 the same year. Quay ranked inside the top 30 in both 2010 and 2011, and was last week announced as 2017’s 95th best restaurant in the world. But over the past five years the 50 Best judges have focussed their Australian attention squarely on Attica. And, it has to be said, with good reason.
Since taking full ownership of Attica with his wife Natalia in early 2015, Shewry has gone from strength to strength. Reopening last month following a redesign by If Architecture (also behind Andrew McConnell’s Marion and the new Cutler & Co), Attica is again serving the stunningly inventive native-driven dishes that have put the restaurant, and the chef, on the global map.
Head to theworlds50best.com for full results of the World’s 50 Best list.