A budget-friendly Indonesian cafe in Queensland has found itself keeping company with some of the world's best restaurants after being named a winner in the TripAdvisor restaurant awards today.
Bagus Cafe was named Australia's top Cheap Eat in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards, while Muse Restaurant in Pokolbin was named our best Fine Dining Restaurant. The awards are based on reviews by diners posted to the trip planning site.
Martin Berasategui in Lasarte, Spain, was named the top restaurant in the world, followed by Maison Lemeloise and L'Augerve de l'Ill, both in France, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in England and Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 in Italy. Others in the top 10 included Alinea in the US and Violet Bistrot in Brazil.
Muse chef-owner Troy Rhoades-Brown told describes the win as a "huge pat on the back" for the restaurant's staff. Muse, which has two hats in the current Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and was in The Australian 'Hot 50' list for this year, has been in the Traveller's Choice Top 10 several times, "but to win it is incredible", Rhoades-Brown tells SBS.
"It's a wonderful thing to be named that by your guests. The accolades from food critics and guides are great, but to have the public say what you are doing is good is a huge pat on the back."
This year’s awards recognise 528 restaurants overall, including a list of the 25 most popular fine dining spots in the world plus local lists for Asia, Canada, Europe, India, Mexico, South America, South Pacific, the UK and the US. This was the first year a cheap eats section was added. Exactly how the award winners are chosen is shrouded in mathematical mystery - TripAdvisor says award winners "were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for restaurants around the world, gathered over a 12-month period".
Bagus Cafe, a popular stop for locals and visitor's on the Esplanade in Cairns, wins consistent praise in reviews on TripAdvisor for fast, friendly service and budget-friendly prices (scrambled eggs with toast will set you back just $6.50; nasi goreng $10).
"Oh the food was amazing! Even my partner who typically likes Aussie pub meals and not any type of other cuisine loved his meal. Takes me back to Indonesia! Would not hesitate to recommend or return! 10/10!," wrote one diner.
Bagus Cafe co-owner Safwan Safwan describes the win as "amazing". "I am really surprised - my cafe is just very small, but I'm very happy." Safwan and his wife, Sri Muryani, have run the cafe for three years. The couple, who are from central and east Java originally, came to Australia in 2008. Sri studied cooking in Melbourne, while Safwan learned to cook from his sister and family friend while growing up.