Corella Bar & Restaurant in Braddon has been nominated for Best New Restaurant in one of Australia’s most widely read food magazines.
Every year, reviewers from Gourmet Traveller magazine arrive at restaurants unannounced and pay their own way. Each restaurant is judged on its overall dining experience, including its food and drink offering, as well as ambience, service and setting.
The nation’s cream of the crop are then compiled into finalists in the five categories of Best New Restaurant, Best Wine Bar, Best New Talent, Restaurant Personality of the Year, and Best Destination Dining.
For the 2022 awards, the Gourmet Traveller judges describe Corella Bar & Restaurant as “Australia on a plate”.
“Trying to describe the difference between a wine bar and a restaurant is almost as difficult as defining ‘Australian cuisine’, but Canberra’s bright newcomer Corella takes a confident stab at both with its cheery wine-buddying plates sprinkled with hits of both native ingredients and nostalgia,” reads the citation for the award nomination.
“Nearby wineries and Australian distilleries are celebrated on the sharp drinks list; the clever cocktails evoking the same spirit as a menu that might include Davidson plum teriyaki, bush tomato balsamic and Bundy Rum ice-cream.”
Corella Bar & Restaurant manager Brady Scholes says the team is blown away by the nomination.
“To be nominated like this is amazing,” he says. “It is not what we expected when we opened our first restaurant, and to be named among the other restaurants is pretty special to us.”
Brady explains that the idea that birthed Corella was a simple one: to be a quaint wine bar with a small, but nice, food menu using native Australian ingredients.
“However, while we were trialling the menu with our head chef, Nemanja Babi, we found it hard to cull it down,” he says.
From there, Brady says Corella has morphed into more of an intimate restaurant, with a combination of food, a quirky wine list focusing on Aussie producers, a fun cocktail menu, and “just the style of service we run”.
“It’s a pretty fun restaurant to dine at, and at times can be pretty nostalgic if you have grown up in Australia,” he says.
Despite opening in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and currently only offering takeaway lunches and dinners, Brady says they are managing to keep their heads above water.
“We can not thank all the Canberra locals enough for supporting us during the past few weeks. and we are so excited to open the doors back up for dining in,” says Brady.
Gourmet Traveller editor Joanna Hunkin says the magazine’s Restaurant Awards have always been about celebrating the best in Australian dining and uncovering exciting new experiences for its almost 250,000 readers.
“It is testament to both the creativity and resilience of the industry that new venues have continued to open since March last year, offering new and exceptional experiences,” she says.
“Lockdowns may pause physical progress, but time has proven they can spark even brighter, bolder plans.”
For someone who hasn’t dined at Corella Bar & Restaurant before and isn’t sure what to order, Brady recommends asking a staff member about their favourites.
“We try to change the menu regularly so menu items come and go frequently.”
Currently, “lockdown sandwiches” are available from 12 pm to 3 pm, Friday to Sunday, and dinner from 5 pm every day. Delivery is available to the Canberra suburbs of Acton, Ainslie, Braddon, Canberra City, Campbell, Dickson, Lyneham, O’Connor, Reid, and Turner.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, winners of the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards will be announced via a virtual ceremony on 24 October, 2021. The issue of the magazine with all nominations for the awards is on sale now.