Wolfgat, a restaurant run by Kobus Van der Merwe, a former food journalist turned chef was named as restaurant of the year in the first ever World Restaurant Awards that were unveiled in Paris at the Palais Brongniart, yesterday evening.
The restaurant in Paternoster, South Africa also won the Off-Map Destination award. 160 kilometres away from Cape Town, this acclaimed restaurant draws on inspiration from the surrounding landscape and its dramatic season transformation. The chef serves his signature Standveld food menu which comprises of sustainable seafood, local lamb and venison as well as wild herbs and sea-weed among others.
It is a restaurant that supports the community and is also particular because all the staff except for the chef and one other person are women. Most of the fish that is bought by the restaurant is caught by fishermen who are related to the staff of the restaurant), Wolfgat has made a name for itself and has often been mentioned as the ‘Noma’ of South Africa.
The other off-map destinations were Mil in Peru, Riley’s Fish Shack in Tynemouth, UK, Tokuyamazushi in Shiga, Japan and Bootshaus in Austria.
The arrival of the year award went to INUA. The restaurant that is headed by Thomas Frebel who formerly led the Research and Development at renowned Danish restaurant Noma opened its doors to the public in June last year in Tokyo and has already won critical acclaim. The short-listed restaurants in this category were Angler in San Francisco, United States, Da Gorini in Italy, Kyolle in Lima, Peru and Virtus in Paris, France.
Vespertine, the restaurant that has been created in the vision of chef Jordan Khan won atmosphere of the year. The restaurant is a collaboration between architect Eric Owen Moss and a group of renowned artists who are reimagining and exploring the experience of dining. The restaurant was voted ahead of the other short listed restaurants Astoria Seafood, Chambre Séparée, Machneyuda and Punk Royale.
La Mere Brazier, a restaurant that was established in Lyon by Eugénie Brazier in 1920 has won the Enduring Classic award. It was competing with the shortlisted Paul Bocuse, Hyotei, Peter Luger’s and Elkano.
The house special award went to Lido 84, the restaurant of chef Riccardo Camanini. The restaurant in Lago di Garda, Italy has been winning accolades over the past years and the Italian chef won the award for his legendary Cacio and Pepe dish that is cooked in pig’s bladder. The other restaurants shortlisted in this category were Gazela, in Porto, Portugal, Obana in Tokyo, Japan, Trishna in Mumbai India and Yat Lok in Hong Kong.
The no reservations restaurant of the year was won by Mocoto, in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The other shortlisted restaurants were Clamato in Paris, France, Delifucious in Tokyo, Japan, Kiln in London, UK and Retrobottega in Rome, Italy.
The Original Thinking Award went to Paris restaurant Le Clarence of chef Christophe Pele. The other restaurants were Enigma in Barcelona, Spain, Ikoyi in London, UK, Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain and Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Arrival of the year: Inua
Atmosphere of the year: Vespertine
Collaboration of the year: paradise and Gortnanain
Enduring classic: La Mere Brazier
Ethical thinking: Refettorio
Event of the year: Refugee Food Festival
Forward drinking: Mugaritz
House Special: Lido 86
No Reservations required: Mocoto
Off-Map Destination: Wolfgat
Original thinking: Le Clarence
Restaurant of the year: Wolfgat
Instagram account of the year: Alain Passard
Long form Journalism: Lisa Abend
Red-Wine Serving restaurant: Noble Rot
Tattoo free chef: Alain Ducasse
Trolley of the year: Ballymaloe House
Tweezer-free kitchen: Bo Lan