The Katherine Country Club has joined the ranks of top Northern Territory restaurants after winning the regional Good Food Guide Readers' Choice award last week.
The award recognises venues across the country by popular vote, and saw Darwin restaurant Phat Mango by Martin the Chef, the Daly Waters Historic Pub and Wharf One at the Darwin Waterfront applauded.
Executive chef Emma Fitzpatrick - who has headed the kitchen for a number of years - says the recognition is a culmination of teamwork, long hours and dedication to always serving up fresh, quality dishes.
In January, the busy kitchen was a hive of activity serving just shy of 6200 dishes.
"We are constantly striving to better ourselves," Ms Fitzpatrick said.
She said the public recognition was a "fantastic" nod of approval for the team.
"It has put a bounce in everyone's step to know that people have enjoyed coming here enough to go online and vote - that takes quite a bit of effort," she said.
Gradual changes to the menu have seen trendy new additions to what is a relatively small pool of options in remote Katherine.
"We are constantly taking on constructive feedback, and putting on specials to see what does well," Ms Fitzpatrick said.
"People obviously prefer fresh and that is what we strive for in every dish."
As a chef who lives a gluten-free lifestyle, she has noticed a rise in popularity in innovative options.
"Vegan and gluten free dishes are becoming increasingly popular in Katherine - as a town we are a little bit behind the curve, but we have made a huge effort to keep up with current food trends.
"The vegan and gluten free movement has kept us up-to-date and I think that is a huge draw card - one of our most popular dishes is our vegan burrito bowl. To me that says a lot."
Looking to a modernised future
The regional Good Food Guide Readers' Choice award was announced last week, and is just one cause of celebration for the Katherine Country Club.
Over the next couple of months, major renovations will be taking place within the restaurant, and as the end of the wet season nears a new menu is on the horizon.
"We are going for a more up-to-date rustic look to modernise the club," Ms Fitzpatrick said.
The current green carpet is set to be replaced, new tables are imminent and the entrance left in disrepair from a break-in earlier in the year will be revamped.
As for the menu, expect to see a range of specials tested over the next couple of weeks to form a brand new offering, while keeping the family favourites, Ms Fitzpatrick said.
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