The family-run Daana Indian restaurant at Curtin has taken the cake with three awards at the 2020 NSW/ACT Restaurant and Catering Association Awards for Excellence in Sydney.
At a gala awards ceremony, Daana won ACT’s Consumer Vote award for the second consecutive year, won ACT’s Best Indian/Sub-continent Restaurant for the third consecutive year while chef Sanjay Kumar was named the 2020 ACT Chef of the Year.
Molto Italian at Kingston was named ACT Restaurant of the Year and Italian Restaurant of the Year.
The Awards for Excellence are a nationally recognised, independently judged awards program that celebrates exceptional service and culinary talent across each Australian state and territory. The Awards for Excellence is the only program in Australia where the judging criteria are determined by consumers who rank what is important to them in the dining experience.
An independent team of 280 trained judges secretly visit each venue to determine the restaurant/café winners. Scoring is based on the entire dining experience from food to customer service and the judges dine anonymously.
“What a year to win this,” said chef Sanjay.
“Winning this prestigious award gives us the encouragement to present a more unique dining experience for all our guests. My team has supported me on every step I took to make things better for Daana. A big thanks to all of them.
“Every win comes with raised expectations and I am confident that I will be able to meet them and learn more as we grow Daana further. The future is looking very promising as we move into a new year.”
Sunita Kumar was also named the 2020 Canberra Women in Business Business Woman of the Year in November.
“These awards help to confirm that our focus and belief on showcasing Indian cuisine differently is working, not only for myself and Sanjay but also for our team and our guests,” Sunita said.
“We are looking forward to a big party to celebrate in the coming weeks.”
The team at Daana now turns its attention to the Canberra Local Businesses Awards on 16 December. Chef Sanjay Kumar is nominated for business person of the year, Daana for best restaurant and Navdeep Kaur, part of Daana’s kitchen team, is nominated for the youth award.
Doma Hotels’ Realm Hotel was also named ACT Caterer of the Year and ACT Function/Convention Centre Caterer at the awards. It also received an honourable mention in the ACT wedding caterer category.
Doma Hotels director Patrick Lonergan said the prestigious awards hailed restaurants, cafes and caterers that demonstrated outstanding services, food and beverage.
“We are overwhelmed and delighted with the recognition of achievement by the judges. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our hotels and restaurants,” Mr Lonergan said.
“In particular, we are proud of the title of Caterer of the Year. There is no greater privilege than being chosen to help people and businesses celebrate an important milestone or special occasion, raise money for charity, or hold an event. Our staff care about every aspect of the food they serve at functions of all types and I believe this award is a reflection of their commitment.”
Other ACT eateries to be recognised included Ricardo’s Café at Macquarie which took the best breakfast restaurant title and best coffee shop.
The Tea Room at the Hyatt was named the ACT casual dining restaurant of the year.
The best contemporary Australian restaurant award was taken out by The Boat House at Barton, while the best European restaurant was Blackfire at Braddon which also received an honourable mention as the best tourism restaurant.
Raku in Civic received an honourable mention as the best Japanese restaurant, while the best restaurant in a club was Chatham House Restaurant at the National Press Club at Barton.
The best restaurant in a hotel was Capitol Bar and Grill at QT Canberra, while Olleyville Restaurant at the Shaw Vineyard Estate at Murrumbateman took the gong as the best restaurant in a winery.