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Brisbane favourite wins Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant of the Year

Brisbane is officially home to Australia’s best restaurant, with Fortitude Valley fire-powered diner Agnes taking out the coveted title of this year’s Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year on Monday night.

The dark and moody River City favourite, hidden in a heritage building in the Valley’s backstreets, beat out celebrated dining spots from across the country, including Sydney’s Aalia and Melbourne’s Etta, to claim the prestigious prize.

It becomes only the second Queensland restaurant in the awards’ 44-year history to win the trophy, after E’cco Bistro’s victory in 1997.

“It is really lovely to be recognised because we do put our heart and soul into it and we work so hard to do our best for our customers,” said Ty Simon, co-owner of Agnes, which also won Queensland Restaurant of the Year in the awards.

Co-owners Ty Simon and Ben Williamson in front of the fires ar Agnes restaurant, Fortitude Valley. Picture: Liam Kidston

The modern Australian eatery, which only operates on fire power – with no gas or electricity, was applauded by the judges for its sensational cookery led by executive chef and co-owner Ben Williamson; as well as its impeccable service.

“It’s not only the artisan cooking style that makes Agnes noteworthy, the service team here is one of the best in the country, displaying expertise, enthusiasm and hospitality in equal measure,” Gourmet Traveller editor Joanna Hunkin said.

Mr Simon agreed, and said it was the staff that was really behind the restaurant’s win.

“The staff do so much to make our business great and hopefully with these kinds of awards they can see that all their hard work has been recognised,” he said.

Agnes is closed this week for repairs to its downstairs wine bar caused by water damage in the heritage site, but will reopen on September 3.

Other winners on the night included Filipino favourite Serai in Melbourne, which won Best New Restaurant; while Vue de Monde’s Hugh Allen scored Chef of the Year.