It was 87th in 2015 and 65th in 2016. Tonight, Brae was officially named 44th at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.
Since its 2002 inception, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has grown to be the undisputed authority on what's hot in global gastronomy. The awards left London for the first time last year, for New York. This year is just the second time the ceremony has been held elsewhere.
Forty-four is a stunning result for Brae, which is less than three-and-a-half years old. Its improved position was considered near-certainty after restaurants 51–100 were revealed last week, including Sydney's Quay at 95. Even so, the announcement drew raucous cheers from the crowd of 1000 chefs, restaurateurs and media; and a rare smile from Brae's laconic owner/chef, Dan Hunter.
Melbourne's Attica placed ahead of Brae, at 32. For the past three years it's been the only Australian restaurant in the top 50.
Hunter cooked at Mugaritz in Spain (a fixture in the top ten since 2006) between 2007 and 2009, before returning home to head up The Royal Mail Hotel in the country town of Dunkeld, Victoria. It soon came to be recognised as Australia’s best regional restaurant.
Brae is Hunter’s and his partner Julianne Bagnato’s first crack at ownership. It’s set on a several acre garden some 90 minutes’ west of Melbourne, near the small town of Birregurra. Unsurprisingly, the garden and its top-notch produce has been pivotal to Brae’s meteoric success.
Fingers crossed for next year’s 50 Best.