Nori-butter pappardelle and justice for the McScallop – this year’s nominees are as diverse as they are delicious.

Two pasta bars – one devoutly traditional, one prescriptively not – a woodfired Filipino game-changer, a 40-year study in Cantonese finesse, two destination degustations, a wine bar’s wine bar and one heck of a flagship fine diner. These are the Victorian restaurants vying for a gong at Gourmet Traveller’s annual restaurant awards, one of the most prestigious nights on the Australian dining awards calendar.

Ross Magnaye’s Filipino sensation Serai headlines the Best New Restaurant nominees, a sharp combination of bright, woodfired flavours and vins naturels earning it a nod alongside Fitzroy-via-Piedmont pasta hideaway Alta Trattoria.

Alt Pasta Bar’s Mino Han will contest the Best New Talent category, after opening earlier this year with a menu that Gourmet Traveller’s Michael Harden praised equally for the execution of the classics as the ingenuity that it’s named for, Alt being short for alternative. Case in point, a spinach pappardelle tossed with nori butter, salmon roe, soy sauce, sesame oil, and “superb little discs of perfectly cooked abalone”.

Hit Richmond wine bar Clover Dining is up for Best New Wine Bar in a hot field that includes the likes of Adelaide’s Good Gilbert and Perth bolter Lalla Rookh, while Derek Boath’s picture-perfect menu at Underbar in Ballarat has it in contention for Best Destination Dining.

Elsewhere, Lake House’s Robin Wilson is in the running for Restaurant Personality of the Year, while Melbourne landmarks Stokehouse and Flower Drum are both nominated for the Readers’ Choice Icon Award in a field that also takes in Birregurra treasure Brae.

The Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards take place at Brasserie 1930 on Monday 21 August, with the full list of winners to be published in the September issue of the magazine.

By Frank Sweet