A tale of two culinary cities
Food and its enjoyment might be a very personal and subjective thing, but Australians are obsessed with quantifying it.
Today was the Australian Financial Review’s turn to put out a list of Australia’s top 100 restaurants. This one has the distinction of being voted on by ‘top’ chefs and restaurateurs.
And if these experts are to be believed, it seems hard to get a decent meal outside of Melbourne and Sydney. 77 of the top 100 restaurants are based in Australia’s biggest cities, with a further six in country NSW and Victoria. This leaves only 17 restaurants across the rest of Australia.
The spread is even worst when focusing on the highest echelons, with Tasmania the only ‘outsider’ to place in the top 40!
Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city fared the worst. Only two of its restaurants landed in the top 100, placing 64th and 78th. Hobart, a quarter of Brisbane’s size, punched way above its weight, also with 2 placings (10th and 86th).
I have eaten at 14 of the listed restaurants and in my opinion they’re very much hit and miss: MoVida and St Crispin stand out, but Bar Lourinhã and Cutler & Co are terribly overrated.
The eating and judging masses also appear ambivalent about the choices. The top 100 restaurants score between 3.2 and 4.9 (out of 5) on Zomato, with an average score of 3.9. This is not a terrible score, but hardly seems top restaurant material.
So, while I don’t find such lists helpful in choosing a spot for a Friday night bite, they do show how geographically lopsided opinions are.
Brisbane’s culinary scene may have been transformed since I left there almost 10 years ago. Not only in the usual spots like New Farm, Paddington and West End, but also more suburban areas like Graceville are sprouting delicious eateries (e.g. Boucher French Bistro).
Still, the reputational status quo remains, and conservative lists like this probably don’t help.
Total List Table