Billed as the Oscars of the fine dining industry in South Africa, the annual Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Awards did deliver a very similar spectacle at Grandwest this past weekend. With a fleet of Mercedes Benz vehicles including a G-Wagon shuttling guests from the car park to the red carpet, one felt already glamorous before you even got your shiny wristbands and seat numbers.
I really did not know what to expect with the new format this year and the fact that it was inside the Grand Arena made my mind wander more about the seating arrangements for Act 1 – the award ceremony.
But in true Eat Out style, the place was fabulously laid out with dark chairs and little drinks tables with bubbly on ice and precious water in those internationally famous S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna little bottles strategically placed for the comfort of the VIP guests.
This year more restaurants were recognised for their star quality, with a countdown from 20 before the much-anticipated Top 10 restaurants were revealed.
The Test Kitchen was once again confirmed as the country’s top restaurant when it was awarded the Restaurant of the Year title for the sixth consecutive year.
The winning restaurants were determined by the scores of a panel of judges, led by Eat Out editor and head judge Abigail Donnelly, who dined around the country anonymously. Aside from Abigail Donnelly, the identities of the judges have not been revealed.
“2017 has been an exceptional, exciting and competitive year of eating out,” said Donnelly. “Restaurateurs, chefs, producers, waitrons and sommeliers have upped their game to offer world-class dining experiences. It goes beyond quality and consistency; it’s a commitment to excellence.”
This year the chefs at the 30 nominated restaurants were given the opportunity to vote for a champion chef amongst their peers. The winner of the inaugural Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef Award is Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat in Paternoster.
Selvin Govender, Marketing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said, “I’m inspired by the way that our awarded chefs and restaurants push boundaries and always strive for the best. Congratulations to everyone!”
All the winners celebrated at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards are:
Eat Out S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year: Liam Tomlin
Eat Out Restaurant of the Year: The Test Kitchen
Top 10 Restaurants:
- The Test Kitchen
- Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
- The Restaurant at Waterkloof
- Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia
- Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort
- Camphors at Vergelegen
- La Colombe
- The Shortmarket Club
- The Pot Luck Club
Restaurants ranked from 11–20
- Jardine Restaurant
- Jordan Restaurant
- Fermier Restaurant
- DW Eleven-13
- Hartford House
- Luke Dale-Roberts X The Saxon
- La Tête
Service Excellence Award: Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
Rising Star: Kayla-Ann Osborn of The Chefs Table
New Restaurant of the Year Award: La Petite Colombe
Chefs’ Chef Award: Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat
Wine Service Award: Moses Magwaza
Lifetime Achievement Award: Letitia Prinsloo
Style Award: Fermier Restaurant
Outstanding Contribution to Service: Morné Wessels of La Petite Colombe
Sustainability Award: Camphors at Vergelegen
Bursary winner: Bryan Mlotshwa
“From the 30 nominees to our final 20 and the Top 10, plus all our individual winners, Eat Out has shone a light on an incredible group of restaurants that have elevated the dining experience in this country. With talent like this, it is easy to see why South Africa is viewed as a world-class food destination,” said Aileen Lamb, MD of New Media, which owns Eat Out.
By Naushad Khan – Editor of The Next 48hOURS