Behind the Kounta

Good Food Guide Awards 2019 | Behind the Kounta

The hangovers are fading, but the hats are here to stay.

By Chloe Chaplin

Fairfax Media's Good Food Guide Awards are over for another year, and the go-to consumer gospel for quality dining in Australia has been published.

The awards were attended by 800 of the restaurant industry’s biggest names and catered by chefs Neil Perry and Guillaume Brahimi. We were proud as punch to see so many members of the Kounta community recognized for their creativity, passion and most importantly the exceptional experiences they deliver. Our friends wiped the floor earning 22 Hats in total, with the Porteño family alone taking home 6!

This year 2 venues powered by Kounta earned the coveted 3 Hats for their first time, the highest award possible. The restaurant equivalent of winning the Grand Final; an accomplishment which signifies years of dedication to improving every detail of product and customer experience imaginable, and we are proud as punch to be working with them.

Jock Zonfrillo’s Orana was crowned with three hats, taking home the title Restaurant of the Year.

Orana, which means “welcome” in some Aboriginal languages, is an intimate space home to Chef and Owner Jock’s findings, philosophy, and cuisine from over 16 years of research and exploration of Australian land,

produce, people and history.

Taking his curiosity and respect for the Aboriginal people, the oldest surviving culture on earth, Jock celebrates all elements of Australia – from the ancient to the modern – and in the process has created a cuisine that is uniquely his own. The Aboriginal philosophy to heal and be healed by the land and to always give back more than you take, strongly influences Zonfrillo’s culinary philosophy.

Restaurant Orana’s menu honours Australia’s incredibly varied food history, celebrates the nutritional properties of Indigenous ingredients, respects the produce’s relationship with the land and strives to integrate all this to define Australia’s modern gastronomic identity.

Bistro Blackwood, Orana’s younger sibling was also awarded one hat status.

Bistro Blackwood’s menu draws from the same indigenous ingredients and techniques that are brought to life at Orana in a more approachable style.

Bistro Blackwood is a project for the Orana team, space for their chefs to be creative and use seasonal ingredients from local organic farmers and suppliers, or what play around with what their forager has discovered that day.

Sixpenny, a small Sydney venue achieving huge things!

Named after the sixpence restaurants that operated in the late 1800s in Australia, Sixpenny was awarded three hats for the first time. Chef Daniel Puskas opened Sixpenny with former business partner James Parry in 2012, offering a degustation menu, comprising of 6 or 8 courses. Celebrating contemporary Australian cuisine, through the use of locally and ethically sourced produce.

The Porteño family continues to influence the industry at large, earning six hats.

The head of the family, Porteño itself claimed a well deserved two hats.

The menu at Porteño comes to you straight from the kitchens of Argentina via the imaginations and culinary artistry of chefs and owners, Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz. Authenticity is the order of the day with the best meats in town prepared front and centre for all to see on a traditional Parilla (barbecue) and Asado (pit of fire).

Bodgea, Continental Deli, Stanbuli and LP’s Quality Meats all achieved one hat status, solidifying Porteño’s title of ‘industry big boys’.

Our community, leading our industry

Fleet Restaurant, a small restaurant, masquerading as a bar, in seaside Brunswick Heads was awarded 2 hats.

The new kids on the block, Lankan Filling Station, a casual eatery, where the food is inspired by traditional Sri Lankan flavors seen through the eyes of Australia wasted no time in adding a hat to their basket of achievements in only a matter of months.

Africola, located on East Terrace, Adelaide is arguably one of the funkiest venues in Australia. A simple shop with a western soundtrack, African-inspired vegetables, grilled and smoked meats, flatbreads, natural wine and now …. a chefs hat!

D’Arenberg Cube, a luxury food and wine experience that challenges convention. After many years training in a Michelin starred kitchen, travelling and learning about global gastronomy, South African husband-and-wife team Brendan Wessels and Lindsay Dürr have worked together to create a unique dining adventure, which we are thrilled has earned one hat status.

Miznon a Mediterranean street food restaurant, created by Master Chef Eyal Shani also claimed a hat. In 2011, The first Miznon opened in Tel Aviv, subsequently expanding to Paris, Vienna, Melbourne and NYC. Using fresh and seasonally inspired ingredients to create a new kind of Mediterranean street food their vision is to take the flavor of each city and translate it into pita. To take the energies, the groove, the longings, the limitations, the beauty, and the food and express it all in one pita.

The source or origin is where it all begins, at one hat accredited venue Source Dining. Their desire to be hospitable is what shapes their service philosophy. This desire, coupled with passion, knowledge and the experience gained from a lifetime in the hospitality industry combine to create the dining experience they offer today.

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