Good Food Guide 2020 awards Clementine Restaurant third hat

It was Clementine Restaurant owner and chef Adam Bantock's "honest cooking" that caught the attention of Good Food Guide 2020 critics. Photo: Sean Davey
It was Clementine Restaurant owner and chef Adam Bantock's "honest cooking" that caught the attention of Good Food Guide 2020 critics. Photo: Sean Davey

Clementine Restaurant in Yass has held onto its status as one of the must-visit restaurants in New South Wales.

Owners Brooke Sainsbery and Adam Bantock have retained the restaurant's hat for the third consecutive year in the Good Food Guide.

They headed to the special awards night in Brisbane.

"We had to pinch ourselves a bit, to be held in the same company (as others in the Guide). Less than 300 get a one, two or three hat status," Mr Bantock said.

It was Clementine's "honest cooking" and "idyllic small-town backdrop" that caught the attention of reviewers, who scored the restaurant a 'very good', 15 out of 20 rating, for the second year in a row.

"Housed in a quaint weatherboard cottage, complete with picket fence, country garden and a view of the grand old church, Clementine is all small-town charm. Adam Bantock's confident, fuss-free cooking follows suit," the restaurant's Good Food Guide 2020 review reads.

After returning in 2011 from living in Hong Kong, where Mr Bantock worked with Australian restaurateur Michelle Garnaut, the couple set out to start a restaurant that served high-quality, approachable, local food and wine and intend to keep it that way.

"This is the restaurant's fourth year and we've worked hard to get it to the point where we're happy and consistent," Mr Bantock said.

"We do it based on our lifestyle and family."

The 50-seat European-style restaurant is inside the family's cottage and the menu changes every week.

"Local produce is on show in dishes like late-season zucchini, lightly charred and served with a jumble of mozzarella, currants and pine nuts," the review continues.

"Some plates are surprisingly delicate, such as local veal rump served with cos, kipfler and aioli, highlighting the kitchen's approach to balance and freshness.

"For those in need of something a little heftier, look no further than rigatoni carbonara, dressed generously with unctuous smoked pork hoch, fried speck, egg yolk and parmesan."

The Guide also recognised Clementine's "friendly waitstaff" who "are happy to help out with pairing suggestions and know the winemakers on a first-name basis," the reviewers said.

"Without our staff we're nothing," Mr Bantock said. "We're lucky to have retained our good staff."

Mr Bantock said the Guide's review helps to put Yass on the map.

The Argyle Inn in Taralga was the only other Southern Tablelands restaurant to receive a hat in the guide, for the second consecutive year.

Biota Dining in the Southern Highlands received two hats and Pilot in Canberra was named one of the top ten hot and new restaurants for 2019.

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