Menulog Restaurant Award Winners 2018
It’s little wonder Earl and Pearl’s has amassed such a dedicated following since opening its doors in 2016. Perhaps it’s true that pizza joints are basically a dime a dozen, but this little pizzeria is something special — deliciously fresh ingredients, friendly, fast service and a truly inventive menu combine to deliver a faultless takeaway experience.
Located in Berkeley, NSW, Earl and Pearl’s offers a variety of classic and adventurous artisan pizzas. And boy, are they second-to-none. Gourmet favorites include the cutely named Kevin Bacon, a mouthwatering combination of pulled pork, maple bacon, Spanish onions and sautéed apple, the Flaming Flamingo, featuring chicken fillets, roasted capsicum, caramelised onions, shallots, on a tomato base garnished with peri sauce, and for the most serious of meat lovers, The Hunter layers shaved ham, pepperoni, Italian sausage, chicken fillets, bacon on a BBQ base.
Or if you’re in the mood for a classic, the Supreme is nothing short of superb, and the Aussie Bob comes in at a close second.
The unbeatable quality, generous toppings and great prices make Earl and Pearl’s the perfect takeaway choice whether you’re vegging out solo or feeding a famished family.
State Winner – ACT
Established in 2008, Mirchi has been Canberra’s go-to Indian spot for the last 10 years.
Located in Gungahlin, the restaurant is owned and operated by Chef Sebastian, who specialises in authentic North Indian cuisine. Awarded the State Award for its value, consistency, and generous portions, Mirchi dishes cater to everyone from the novice to the hardcore Indian fan.
Menu standouts include the Butter Chicken, the Daal Mahkni (great for vegetarians), Lamb Rogan Josh, and the Beef Vindaloo. If you’re ordering for yourself and another, don’t look past the Dinner Pack for 2, featuring curries, samosas and naan, and if you’re feeling extra adventurous, the spicy, deep friend “Chicken 65” is an absolute must.
Oh, and don’t let the suburban location fool you, this little gem is often dubbed as the best Indian food in the city.
State Winner – NSW
If you’re craving Thai and only the best will do, look no further than Thornleigh’s Pear Thai Restaurant. With no shortage of Thai options in the Pennant Hills area, Pear Thai came up against some stiff competition, but after eating this restaurant’s dishes, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were enjoying a meal in the streets of Bangkok.
The restaurant’s head chef boasts 20 years experience in traditional Thai garb, so when you’re perusing their menu, you know you’re in for the real deal. Flavour explosive sauces, fresh produce and deliciously tender meat are a constant throughout Pear Thai’s dishes.
Menu highlights include the Crispy Eggplant dish, Curry Puffs, Chicken Larb and the Penang Curry, which manages to be simultaneously creamy and pleasantly light. The Pad See Ew is an excellent fail safe, and for those with a sweet tooth, don’t look past the Lemonade Lychee.
Pro tip: the chef will prepare dishes based on your spice tolerance, so speak up whether you’re on the mild, medium or high end of the chilli radar!
State Winner – QLD
Known for its generous servings and reasonable prices, we love Li’s Noodle Kawana for its value and uncompromising quality. Situated in Buddina and famous among locals for their scrumptious noodle dishes, Li’s menu offers something for every taste palette, ranging from Satay Chicken (thick egg noodles with chicken and fresh veggies in satay sauce), to the Sweet and Sour Combo (thin egg noodle with combination meat, pineapple, tomato and fresh veggies in homemade sweet and sour sauce).
For soup lovers, we highly recommend the Chicken Curry Laksa (thick egg noodles with chicken, fish cake, tofu and seasonal vegetables in a coconut curry soup) and the Seafood Tom Yum Soup (thin rice noodles with combination seafood, tomato, pineapple and fresh seasonal vegetables in a Thai hot and sour soup). And if noodles aren’t your thing, no fear, the Chicken with Cashews, Sweet and Sour Pork and Honey Chicken are all delicious alternatives.
Personalise chilli meals based on your tolerance, with mild, medium and of course, hot (only for the extra brave). And beware, portion sizes are extra generous!
State Winner – SA
Let’s be real, sometimes you just need a fast food fix. And that’s where Blair Athol’s Red Rooster comes in. The South Australian location takes this year’s state prize for its speed, friendly service, fresh ingredients, and infallible consistency.
With something for every wallet and taste preference, Red Rooster Blair Athol offers a versatile menu, ranging from crafted wraps, burgers and rolls, to roast chicken and family meals.
For an extra guilty pleasure, try the Pineapple Rings or the Cheesy Nuggets, you won’t regret it!
State Winner – VIC
Locally owned and operated, this is no average Shepparton pizza place. Described as a well-oiled machine, the service is super friendly, fast and efficient, and owner Cruz is notorious for his friendly and welcoming disposition. More than just a pizza spot, Shepparton Pizzas also supports local community groups and initiatives through sponsorships and fundraising,
The impressive menu offers a Shepparton range, Value Pizzas, Kebab Pizzas, as we’ll as Traditional and Gourmet offerings. Needless to say, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Regulars rave about the Gourmet Kebab (tomato sauce, red onion, fresh tomato, kebab meat, chicken kebab, cheese, garlic sauce swirl), Prawn Star (garlic marinated prawns, red onion, capsicum and mozzarella, topped with garlic aioli sauce), and the Hot and Spicy (cajun spice, pepperoni, ground beef, red onion, hot jalapeños, tomatoes and mozzarella on a rich, herb infused tomato sauce base.) And if somehow you’re still not totally stuffed, try one of the delicious dessert pizzas (yes you read right, dessert pizza)…we’re partial to the Apple Crumble.
With a separate gluten-free menu and an awesome variety of meal deals, there’s literally something for every taste preference.
State Winner – WA
Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you, Forrestfield Chinese BBQ brings new meaning to the words “local favourite”. Dependable and affordable, with an incredibly versatile menu, there’s something here for all types of eaters.
The restaurant’s signature BBQ dishes are extra popular among regulars, in particular the Wok Fried BBQ Roast Pork in BBQ Sauce, the Crispy Skin Chicken, and the Roast Duck.
Not a BBQ lover? No problem! Solid options include the Satay Chicken, the outstanding Kung Pao Prawn, the Satay Squid (oh so tender), Mongolian Beef, and the Crispy Szechuan Beef. And for the more savory palettes, the selection of omelettes are second-to-none.
Best Ribs and Grill
Your regular pizza joint this is not. Featuring a menu that basically covers every food group, Mills and Grills Pizzas is a crowd pleaser, no matter who you’re catering for.
Order the ribs and you’ll enjoy an awesome trifecta of slow-cooked meat in smokey BBQ sauce with a side of crispy chips seasoned to perfection. And take our word for it, the meat is so tender is practically falls off the bone. With both a lamb and pork offering (we’re partial to the lamb), to say we’re envious of Florey locals would be quite the understatement.
If you’re more of a wings fan, Mills and Grills’ marinate their chicken wings overnight in that same delicious BBQ sauce before turning them over to a hot chargrill.
Their flavoursome pizzas are also hauntingly good — if you’re feeling particularly ravenous, try the Italian Meatball pizza, otherwise the Moroccan Lamb is a definite standout. And for those who are inclined towards the more traditional Italian dishes, we’re tipping the Chicken and Mushroom Risotto and Carbonara.
Mr Pabo is everything you want in a Korean restaurant — fresh produce, soft and tender meat perfectly cooked, and menu options to satisfy any craving.
If you’re in the Ascot Vale area, do your taste buds a favour and try their famous Mr. Pabo Fried Chicken Wings. A menu staple for good reason, these wings are succulent, full of meat (we hate a stingy meat-to-bone ratio), and as excellent wings should be, delightfully messy to eat.
Not a wings lover? Go for the Braised Pork Slider, Pabo Popcorn Chicken, or pretty much any of their Fried Chicken options.
Known for its beautiful and simple pizza toppings, Castle Hill’s Made in Italy also serves up arguably the best Tiramisu this side of Rome. The perfect combination of coffee-flavoured whip cream biscuit goodness, this mouthwatering dessert is unmissable.
Although you’d be forgiven for skipping straight to the sweet stuff, we’d be remiss not to mention the Gamberi (tomato sauce, fresh prawns, mozzarella, oregano, parmesan, chilli flakes, garlic) and the Vegetariana (capsicum, onion, mushroom, spinach, eggplant, Napoletana sauce). For pasta lovers, the Fettuccine Bosciola and the Boscaiola are equally awesome.
Beloved for their meal size and pricing, Fiesta Modern Cuisine is everything Mexican should be, with a modern twist. And man, do they do tacos right — light and delicious all the way.
This hidden Morayfield gem uses premium meat and mouthwatering seasoning to create the perfect taco, available in both soft and hard shell. Oh and added bonus, $3 Taco Tuesdays…you just can’t go wrong.
Honourable mentions go to the Pulled Pork Burger and Chips, the Burrito Bowl and the Fiesta Jalapeño Poppers are made from scratch every day (yes, really).
Having been in the restaurant business for over 25 years, owner Frank Ribosa opened the Schnitzel Kitchen in 2014 to deliver a taste of Austria to Sydney’s Concord area.
And let us tell you, Schnitzel lovers look no further, because the search for the city’s most superior schnitzel is over. And boy, does this place deliver.
Delicious and just the right amount of salty, The Schnitzel Kitchen offers a versatile range to choose from. The Greek Lamb (feta and oregano crumb), Kangaroo (rosemary and parmesan crumb), and the Chicken Cordon Bleu (rolled chicken breast with Praga ham and special cheese) are all unforgettable on basically every level. Order extra hungry, because each comes with a side and a sauce (Mash and Garlic Peppercorn are our red hot faves).
Head’s up that the servings are incredibly generous, and special shout-out goes to the $10 lunch special, unbeatable!
Between the authentically delicious cuisine, impressive variety of menu choices, and value for money, Putong Thai in Alexander Heights can do no wrong in our eyes.
For traditional Thai lovers, their flavorsome and spicy fried noodles are particularly memorable, and the dab of curry spice makes for the yummiest Mee Goreng we’ve come across.
Other menu favourites include Tom Yum Soup, the Papaya Salad, Tamarind Prawns, and the Prawn Wrapped in Potato Strings (yup that’s right, potato strings).
If you’re in Perth and down for delicious classic Thai, this is your spot.
This modest Middle Eastern spot has quite the dedicated following, and for good reason. A mainstay in the Lakemba area, Jasmins consistently churns out the most delicious Lebanese food in Western Sydney. No small feat in an area spoiled for Middle Eastern choice.
Also, the best kept felafel secret in Sydney…You heard it here first! Succulent and juicy, with just the right amount of crunch, and a garlic sauce to die for, there’s no going back after trying one of these bad boys.
If (somehow) felafel doesn’t appeal to your taste buds, the Lamb Shawarma Mixed Plate is also a scrumptious option, and one of the many other reasons regulars keep coming back.
The family-owned business is known for its quick and friendly service, so do yourself a favour and acquaint yourself with their excellent menu.