MASONS of Bendigo has won the prestigious Golden Plate Awards, taking the title of regional Victoria’s best restaurant.
Judges ate more than 250 meals at 110 restaurants and cafes in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong and Masons was judged the best among strong competition.
Chief judge Rita Erlich, a food writer for more than three decades, said the award was about more than good food.
“The restaurants are tested twice by two judges and the score sheet takes into account absolutely everything,” she said.
“It’s food, ambience, how comfortable the chairs are... right down to whether the napkins are appropriate. It’s the judging process that makes these very important awards.”
The award was presented last night in Geelong and was the first time Bendigo eateries had participated.
“I think Bendigo is a really lively place in terms of cafes and restaurants,” Ms Erlich said.
“Each place recognises who their markets are.
“What Masons is doing is something extraordinarily versatile.
“At every point, whether you’re eating or drinking casually or formally, it’s done really well.
“Their service culture is really good and their beer and wine list is excellent.”
Ms Erlich said the award would probably bring more people into the restaurant.