Sid Sahrawat crowned king of Auckland dining
Auckland restaurateur Sid Sahrawat has dominated the 2018 Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards, with his fine-dining establishment Sidart winning the Supreme Award, and his modern Indian restaurant Cassia named runner-up.
The owners of Sidart and Cassia, Sahrawat and his wife and business partner Chand, were jointly named Restaurateur of the Year, and Sahrawat also won Best Chef for both restaurants. Sidart completed a clean sweep of the top accolades with a win in the Best Fine-Dining category, while Cassia, winner of the Supreme Award in 2017 and 2016, won the Best Smart-Dining category.
Cassia's bar manager, Prateek Arora, was named Restaurant Personality of the Year.
Metro editor and head judge Susannah Walker said the unprecedented number of awards was testament to Sahrawat's unquenchable thirst for perfection, dedication to his craft and attention to detail in every aspect of his restaurants.
"It's no mean feat that Sidart – now in its 10th year – has reached new heights of excellence. To say that Sid Sahrawat is a brilliant chef is stating the obvious; but his knack for nurturing talent doesn't get the attention it deserves. It's one of the reasons he and Chand can run two restaurants at the pinnacle of Auckland's dining scene."
The annual Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards celebrate the excellence of Auckland's dining scene. The panel considered more than 100 contenders, refining the list to 50 after months of deliberation. Judges visited restaurants anonymously and paid for their own meals.
The awards were announced by Master of Ceremonies Clarke Gayford at a red-carpet event at Auckland Museum on April 30, which was attended by the city's most successful restaurateurs.
The Top 50 finalists, announced in April, were considered for category awards as well as the Supreme Winner award.
Italian eatery Cotto, which began life as a Karangahape Rd pop-up late last year, won the coveted Best New Restaurant award and was named joint runner-up (with Apéro) in the Best City-Fringe Bistro category.
Hugo's Bistro was another star of the awards, winning Best Inner-City Bistro and Best New Fit-out, and being named runner-up in the Best New Restaurant category. Owners Joost and Clare van den Berg also own Top 50 restaurant, Odettes.
"We were very impressed by the overall standard not just of the category winners but all of the restaurants which made the Top 50 list," says Walker. "Once again, they've done us proud."
The new issue of Metro, on sale from Tuesday 1 May, includes the 2018 Top 50 Restaurants guide.
Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year 2018
Winner: Sid Sahrawat, Sidart and Cassia
Restaurateur of the Year
Winner: Sid and Chand Sahrawat (joint), Sidart and Cassia
Runners-up: Sarah Conway, Melissa Morrow & Blair Russell, Ponsonby Road Bistro
Best New Restaurant
Runner-up: Hugo's Bistro
Best Fine-Dining Restaurant
Best Smart-Dining Restaurant
Best Inner-City Bistro
Winner: Hugo's Bistro
Runners-up: Culprit and Depot
Best City-Fringe Bistro
Winner: Ponsonby Road Bistro
Runners-up: Apéro and Cotto
Best Neighbourhood Bistro
Runner-up: The Engine Room
Peugeot People's Choice Award for Best Destination Restaurant
Winner: Casita Miro
Runner-up: The French Café
Best Wine List
Winner: O'Connell Street Bistro
Runner-up: Pasta & Cuore
Best Drinks List
Restaurant Personality of the Year
Winner: Prateek Arora, Cassia
Runner-up: Kaylee Yoshida, Prego
Best New Fit-out
Winner: Hugo's Bistro
Food for Good
Winner: Gemmayze St