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COMMENTRY: London Michelin 2014, Restaurant Stars and Bib Gourmand

Michelin Stars: New Restaurants

ERRATUM (29-Sep-2013): Giles Coren, not Jay Rayner reviewed Bo London. Lima’s Exec Chef is Virgilio Martinez. Head Chef Robert Ortiz also added

Two and Three Stars

No restaurants were awarded the top grade of Three Michelin Starts in the UK and Ireland. However two venues earned two stars. Dinner by Heston (Molecular Gastronomy, Knightsbridge) and The Greenhouse (Modern European, Belgravia).

Notably, L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon (Covent Garden) lost it’s second star.

One Star

Eight restaurants have been awarded one star this year

  • Ametsa with Arzak Instruction (Spanish, Belgravia)
  • Angler (Seafood, City)
  • Bo London (Chinese, Mayfair)
  • Brasserie Chavot (French Brasserie, Mayfair)
  • HKK (Chinese, City)
  • Lima (Peruvian, Fitzrovia)
  • Outlaws at the Capital (Seafood & Grill, Knightbridge)
  • Restaurant Story (Modern British, London Bridge)
  • Social Eating House (Modern European, Soho)
  • Of these I have dined at 4 of the 8. Bo London, HKK, Lima, and Restaurant Story.

    Virgilio Martinez, Executive Chef of Lima along with head Chef Robert Ortiz, have put Peruvian food on the London dining scene. Thanks to Lima, a big street-food and pop-up clamour for ceviche, and fellow Peruvian restaurant named Ceviche, there are a lot more who are flocking to this cuisine. Well done!

    Social Eating House is the second of three venues opened by Chef Jason Atherton this year. (The elder ‘Little Social’ Brasserie opened opposite his Michelin Starred ‘Pollen Street Social’ and the younger ‘Berners Tavern’ which opened a few weeks ago). Admittedly I haven’t dined there yet, but I did dine at the other two which were excellent, especially Little Social which I preferred to the American brasserie ‘Balthazar’ which opened in Covent Garden.

    Congratulations also to HKK and Bo London. In the past there had been grumblings that Japanese Restaurants were favoured by the Michelin committee over Chinese restaurants. HKK was one of the best fine dining set meals I had in London last year.

    Bo London was a more controversial decision for some. Chef Alvin Leung currently has a Michelin Starred restaurant in Hong Kong, however his London opening received amazingly mixed reviews from critics and bloggers alike with a top rating by AA Gill and a lowest rating by Giles Coren. The only other restaurant to receive that combo was ‘Chrysan’ which closed 6 months after opening.

    I recently revisited Bo London and can confirm that it has developed considerably. Although he doesn’t like the comparison to a certain 2 Michelin Starred Chef in London, Alvin Leung is considered the ‘molecular gastronomy’ equivalent for the Far East.

    Restaurant Story is run by one of the youngest chefs in the business, at 26 he has created a huge buzz about his solo project near London Bridge. This was easily the best set menu I had this year. Reviews seem to be unanimously glowing for this chef. It has already been difficult to get a booking here for months. So be prepared for a long wait now that he’s earned that coveted star.

    Bib Gourmand (“Good food at moderate prices”)

    The Bib Gourmand is an award given to “good food at moderate prices”. Introduced in 1997 into the European guides, it was designed to recognise establishments offering high quality food at a lower price point.

    There are eight London venues awarded this years Bib Gourmand.

    1. A. Wong (Chinese, Victoria)
    2. Del Mercato, (Italian, Southwark)
    3. Gail’s Kitchen, (English, Bloomsbury)
    4. Grain Store, (Modern European, King’s Cross)
    5. Green Man & French Horn (French, Covent Garden)
    6. Honey & Co (Middle Eastern, Fitzrovia)
    7. Picture, (Modern European, Marylebone)
    8. Polpo Smithfield, (Italian, Clerkenwell)

    I’ve visited 5 of the winners, namely Honey & Co, Polpo Smithfield, Grain Store, Picture and A. Wong.

    Russell Norman’s Polpo needs no introduction for many Londoners, with multiple Polpo restaurants across the capital, The Polpo website states “Polpo is a bàcaro. This is a Venetian word to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food and good”. Given that is close to the Michelin’s Guide’s Bib Gourmand definition of “good food at moderate prices”, it isn’t surprising that his outpost in Smithfields has been deservedly recognised.

    Honey & Co has been a favourite with critics and bloggers. Grace Dent described their cuisine as “Middle Eastern soul food”. Although they are open for breakfast I preferred lunch and dinner menus. Admittedly the venue is already very popular, so if you have visited, I suggest you book ASAP before everyone else reads the Michelin winners.

    A. Wong is an interesting Chinese Restaurant. I visited for a lunchtime Dim Sum many months ago. From my understanding the restaurant was rebranded and the menu revamped when the son of the previous venue took over. Their experimental Dim Sum has won over many fans, however it hasn’t been universally praised. Given the bipolar reviews, there are quite a few who clearly had issues with the venue. However, I enjoyed my visit.

    See Michelin Travel’s “What are ‘Bib Gourmands’” for more info.

    For more comprehensive cover on the Michelin Awards this year, see the excellent feature by Hot-Dinners

    Michelin Guides
    Ww: www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Restaurants Tw: @MichelinGuides

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