Good guide to great eating

CONSISTENCY is key when it comes to restaurants and chefs putting out food, and the Clarence Valley's representation in the foodie bible, the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, seems to be just that, consistent.

Georgie's Cafe Restaurant in Grafton has been featured in the guide no less than 13 times, while Angourie's Frangipan has made the cut four times. This year both restaurants achieved a score of 13.5.

Yamba Bar and Grill, however, made it into the book's glossy pages for the first time, with an impressive score of 13.

Georgie's owner and head chef Mark Hackett said it has been a privilege to be included in the guide so many times, even though he was a little surprised by this year's score.

"It was a pleasant surprise. We were going through a lot of changes with staff during the period the reviewing usually happens, so I was really pleased that we got a mention and were able to maintain our consistency of service and quality of food,"; he said.

The reviews are done on an anonymous basis, so the people from the Good Food Guide can turn up at any moment and more importantly be treated like any other customer.

For owner of Frangipan Stewart McDonald, consistency in service and quality of food is all a part of the game for restaurateurs.

"In the last four and a half years, we have taken our score from a 12 to a 13.5, and that is brilliant,"; he said.

"We always aim to give people personalised service and we wouldn't have a clue who the reviewers are, or when they turn up, so consistency is key.";

The real highlight for Stewart, though, is that his sous chef, Troy Rowston, had his name in the publication for the first time this year.

The surprising, but deserving, inclusion of Yamba Bar and Grill is what head chef and owner Nick Cassidy has been working toward during the past few years.

Training under Britain's famous Roux brothers, he has cooked his way around the world and has now brought his flair in the kitchen to Yamba.

The write-up in the guide commented on the 'democratic menu' and the surprises that it includes.

Nick aims to showcase ingredients on the menu that are seldom used in the Valley which is epitomised in a dish made up of snail and white bean spring rolls or tattie scones with cheddar rarebit.

And with not a negative mention in Yamba Bar and Grill's review, the only direction for the restaurant is up.

The Good Food Guide is available from bookstores and some newsagents.

For more information on the whole publication, head to www.goodguides.com.au/sydney.



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