New Bendigo restaurant wins Golden Plate Award

MASONS of Bendigo has had to clear its pantry after taking home a pile of awards at last night’s Golden Plate Awards.

Less than seven months after opening, the restaurant was the standout performer in the regional food and wine awards that judged the Bendigo region for the first time.

Masons took out the Golden Plate, best chef and best restaurant for relaxed dining awards. 

Castlemaine’s Railway Hotel claimed the titles for best casual dining, best value for money and best front of house person.

The title of best coffee in the region went to Corner Store Cafe, while Twenty 2 won best cafe.

Senior judge Kevin Moloney said Masons was a “spectacular dining experience”.

“The food is extraordinary and offers a level of quality way above its price point,” he said.

“One of the things we looked for was the use of local produce. They do it really well, using that creativity to enhance the produce.” 

Chefs/owners Nick and Sonia Anthony said they had placed a strong emphasis on sourcing food and wine locally. 

“We’ve worked hard to offer something a little bit different,” Nick said. 

“It’s an exciting time to be in Bendigo, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time for the quality of local produce and service.”

Mr Moloney said the quality of restaurants in Bendigo had exceeded expectations.

He said the local restaurants had scored higher overall than the Ballarat and Geelong region. 

The Railway Hotel that won three awards was described by judges as “pub perfection”.

“Every publican across the breadth of Australia must visit the Railway Hotel in Castlemaine armed with a notebook and pen and see exactly how a country pub should be run,” the judges noted. 

Masons of Bendigo (best restaurant) and Twenty 2 (best cafe) will now compete in the state titles, to be announced on November 12.

THE WINNERS

Golden Plate

Masons of Bendigo

Best chef 

Nick Anthony, Masons of Bendigo

Highly commended: Robert Yam - Malayan Orchid 

Best customer service 

Twenty 2

Highly commended: Marong Family Hotel

Best front of house person 

Nola Brown, Railway Hotel

Highly commended: Malayan Orchid

Best menu with local foods 

Aperitivo

Highly commended: Masons of Bendigo 

Best cellar with local wines 

Malayan Orchid

Highly commended: La Piazza Wine Bar 

Best coffee 

Corner Store Cafe

Highly commended: Aperitivo

Best value for money 

Railway Hotel

Highly commended: Axedale Taven 

Most improved venue 

The Woodhouse

Highly commended: Pratty's Patch, Borcelli Ristorante 

People’s choice 

The Woodhouse

Highly commended: Marong Family Hotel 

Relaxed contemporary dining 

Masons of Bendigo

Highly commended: Malayan Orchid 

Casual dining 

Railway Hotel

Highly commended: Marong Family Hotel

Best cafe

Twenty 2

Highly commended: The Epicurean Delicatessen 

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