Sketch Lecture Room, awarded 2 Michelin stars
A failsafe assurance of quality and class, there’s nothing that whets foodie appetites like the glint of a Michelin star. The guide’s annual list has always been the ultimate authority when it comes to eating out, and amid a flurry of excitement and a tiny blip in the form of some leaked listings, the 2013 Michelin Guide is here. Many have retained stars and a few have had to hand back their accolades, though the category that drums up the most excitement is for restaurants who’ve gained new stars. These restaurants are brandishing their shiny new badges with much aplomb:
A rollicking culinary success story, diners have scrambled for a table at this London hotspot since it opened in May 2012 to a whirlwind of critical acclaim. Created by Ollie Dabbous, dishes are clean and simple, with seasonal flavours presented in wonderfully artistic fashion. You’ll be pushed to find an empty slot in their reservation book before summer 2013, and the glint of a star will undoubtedly make Dabbous even more sought after. Lunch in 2016, anyone?
After being labelled as One To Watch in the National Restaurant Awards, Hedone’s creations change daily, based on the best available market produce. Stony colours, long benches and exposed brickwork brings an edgy, Nordic vibe to upmarket Chiswick, and dishes are delicately crafted masterpieces.
Tom Aikens, London
Reflecting on his culinary endeavours, Tom Aikens sees his dishes as something of a story, instilling ‘excitement and surprise as each course arrives’. After opening in 2003 as the restaurant equivalent of Chanel- all clean angles and stark black and white- 2012’s refurbishment has seen a move to a more natural, earthy ideology. Aikens organic tasting offerings offer an imaginative take on French cuisine.
Perfecting slotting in with the exclusive haunts of the Kings Road, Medlar offers sublime French cuisine from the former head chefs of Chez Bruce. Minus the formality, Medlar restaurant offers chic neighbourhood dining that’s championed by the restaurant world’s most feared critics. Giles Coren says it’s the ‘[most] confident restaurant opening in years’, while AA Gill is pushed to find better value ‘anywhere in Chelsea’.
Medlar is available for booking here
Launceston Place, London
Something of a surprise addition to the list, it’s testament to Launceston Place that they hadn’t been ‘trying’ to gain a star. A concealed gem on a Kensington backstreet, Launceston Place is headed by Tim Allen, formerly of 2-Michelin-starred Whatley Manor. Served up in a quaint site dating back to 1839, dishes are traditional and British, swirled with Allen’s creative accents.
Launceston place is available for booking here
Part of LRF: 2 courses & a glass of Laurent pellier £25pp
Alyn Williams at The Westbury, London
After shying away from the limelight as head chef of 2 Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, Alyn Williams’ eponymously-named restaurant has gained a star in super-quick time. Since opening in Autumn 2011, The Westbury restaurant has motored into the elite with its meticulously-crafted, modern European menu.
An offshoot of Trishna in Mumbai- widely regarded as one of the world’s best seafood restaurants- Trishna in London is well and truly following in its big sister’s footsteps. Serving south west Indian cuisine in supremely refined style, contemporary Trishna features uncharacteristically minimalistic design, with smoked oak, marble and brickwork offering contrasting textures in the dining room.
Trishna is available for booking here
Part of LRF: 2 courses £10pp
St. John – Soho, London
Bringing the somewhat sniffed-at concept of nose-to-tail eating to the Soho since 1994, Fergus Henderson sees his roast suckling pigs and offal creations worthily labelled with their first star in 2012. Not usually synonymous with fine dining, Henderson offers a 2012-take on medieval dining; focusing on normally neglected meat cuts and offal.
Hinds Head, Bray
Special mention also goes to the illustrious Heston Blumenthal, for whom stars have become recently become something of old news. The little sister of 3-starred titanic The Fat Duck, Hinds Head in Bray has won a star for its (unusually) traditional seasonal dishes. The bespectacled innovator now equals Gordon Ramsay as the most decorated British chef of all time, with 5 stars each.
Embracing a favoured slow-cooking technique to maximise on flavour and texture, chef Mark Poynton has seen his innovation and flair add a star to their already amply full trophy cabinet. Championed as the ‘hottest ticket in Cambridge’ and praised by even the most cut-throat national restaurant critics, Alimentum is billed as one to rise through the ranks in the coming years.
Alimentum is available for booking here
Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, Padstow
Serving the best in Cornish and British cuisine, Paul Ainsworth offers a wholly homemade selection in an idyllic coastal setting. Priding itself on offering Michelin star refinement in an easy-going, accessible setting, Ainsworth brings expertise honed under Gordon Ramsay at Petrus, and Marcus Wareing.
Bath Priory, Bath
Housed within the eponymously-named spa retreat, The Bath Priory champions local produce and natural flavours, with stocks sourced from the on-site gardens. Beginning his culinary ventures age 16 and working alongside names including 2 Michelin-starred Michael Caines, 2012 sees head chef Sam Moody achieve the restaurant world’s most highly regarded prize.
Raby Hunt, Darlington
Named Northumberland’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Raby Hunt showcases modern British and European dishes in a charming 19th-century inn setting. Sourcing from a trusted fleet of suppliers, fish comes from the east coast, just 30 miles away, and meat cuts from animals reared in the surroundings fields.
Named after revered head chef Tristan Mason, Tristan has risen to stardom in the restaurant world since achieving a Michelin star aged 29 at The Hare Restaurant. As well as honing his skills learning from the infamous Marco Pierre White, Tristan was named Jay Rayner’s Rising Star in 2007. Offering a predominantly British menu fused with French accents, guests can expect to see a fusion of old and new cooking methods.
Beginning his career on a high at the Savoy Hotel in London, head chef Richard Phillips brings a star to the rich heritage of this Kentish site. The former dwelling of English satirical novelist William Thackeray, this Grade II-listed site houses a suitably cosy underground restaurant, with the modern French menu renowned for its supreme flavour combinations.
The Red Lion Freehouse, Wiltshire
A rare public house addition to the Michelin fold, The Red Lion’s inclusion is testament to the quality of the food. Daily-changing menus showcase culinary and ingredients from some of the country’s best producers, and chefs Guy and Brittany offer a menu dominated by Spanish, French and American cooking styles.
Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library), London
Offering the ultimate in quirkiness and innovation, sketch Lecture Room has held a firm grasp on its one star since 2005, and now sets itself in the exclusive club of double Michelin-starred restaurant in London. While the menu features stunning intricate creations from 3-Michelin-starred French master chef Pierre Gagnaire, artful touches include Turner Prize-winning artists exhibitions, and the site boasts a glamorous history as the home of fashion house, Christian Dior.
Lecture Room is part of LRF: 3 courses £40pp
Bringing impeccable fine-dining to the picturesque peaks of the Lake District, L’Enclume brings a stunning second star to this somewhat sparsely populated culinary territory. Heading the kitchen, Simon Rogan was voted the Chef’s Chef of the Year in 2011, and, eking ahead of some of its more heavily-award-showered counterparts, was named the 2nd best restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide 2013. An enchanting hideaway in arguably the list’s most idyllic setting, L’Enclume wins provenance points for sourcing its stocks from the restaurant’s own 6-acre farm.
Michael Wignall at The Latymer, Surrey
A chic and seductive setting which was long-tipped for a second star, Michael Wignall brings expertise from some of the best restaurants in Northern England. Novel quirks at the chef’s table include LCD screens and interactive glass panels for watching the kitchen in action, where guests can enjoy 3, 8 or 10-course extravaganzas. The Latymer also boasts the ‘pinnacle’ of the AA award by achieving 5 Rosettes; one of only 8 restaurants in the country to have lay claim to this accolade.
Michael Wignall at The Latymer is available for booking here