In London's historic restaurant scene, Bibendum has a special place of honour. The likes of Simon Hopkinson, Jeremy Lee and Henry Harris, among others, have patrolled the kitchen in past years and the restaurant's influence on London’s gastronomy scene is incalculable. In Claude Bosi, the historic restaurant has found the perfect man to give it a new lease of life; the Frenchman's sophisticated and technical cooking has earned Bibendum two stars straight off the bat.
Michael Caines made Gidleigh Park iconic in his twenty-one years there, holding two Michelin stars for the majority of that time. When he left to start a new venture, everyone knew it was only a matter of time until his name was back in the Michelin Guide, and sure enough, his expert cookery has earned Lympstone Manor a Michelin star just six months after opening.
The chain set in motion by Michael Caines when he left Gidleigh Park led to Matt Worswick to take the reins at The Latymer, after Michael Wignall left to man the kitchen at Gidleigh. He has now earned back one of the restaurant's two lost Michelin stars from a year ago. If you're looking for intricate, technical dishes, The Latymer is definitely worth a visit, boasting dishes like Smoked eel, pickled turnip, compressed apple and dashi, and Smoked baba ganoush, cardamom yoghurt and Bombay mix.
Fred Clapperton comes up trumps in this year's Michelin Guide, winning a star at The Clock House in Ripley. The Clock House was previously known as Drake’s but has survived a change of name and chef. Fred has made his mark on the menu by mixing classic dishes with slightly more unusual combinations, like Norfolk quail, fennel and black curry.
Simon Rogan’s protégé Mark Birchall was sent a star his way this year. Mark's time at L’Enclume is very evident in his ethos at Moor Hall as he takes locally sourced ingredients and applies incredible amounts of skill to elevate them to new heights.
Michael Smith has been championing Skye as a gastronomic destination for decades and now his cooking at Loch Bay is as good as it has ever been. Michael mixes Scottish food with French technique, serving dishes like Highland pigeon and hare with cauliflower, chanterelles and spiced bacon, and twice-dived Sconser scallops with squash, hazelnut and claret.
The Wild Honey Inn in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare is the first pub to win a Michelin star in Ireland, under the guidance of chef Aidan McGrath. His food is modern and stylish, with classical French undertones, and Wild Honey Inn puts real emphasis on provenance, getting almost all their ingredients from County Clare. Be aware – they don't take bookings!
Acclaimed chef Vineet Bhatia is no stranger to the Michelin Guide, earning stars for his own restaurants in the past (specifically at Rasoi). But Vineet Bhatia London is the culmination of his efforts, and the Michelin star is well-deserved. The tasting menu focuses around the food Vineet loved growing up in Mumbai however he combines with it all sorts of international influences. Furthermore, the combinations of presentation and flavour lean towards avant-garde style: think butter chicken macarons and kheema ‘bombs’. Set inside a Georgian townhouse, it’s an intimate restaurant with incredible service. A lot of the crockery is like nothing seen before, and is chosen by Vineet’s wife Rashima, who also looks after front of house.
At La Dame de Pic, Anne-Sophie Pic now has a Michelin star in London to join her star in Paris, and her three stars at Maison Pic in Valence. Her style is still haute cuisine at its finest, taking exquisite ingredients, combining them in unusual ways and presenting them with the absolute highest level of intricacy. Her royal sea bream with Tasmanian pepper berry, finger lemon, junmai sake ice cream and Petrossian caviar is a perfect encapsulation of this, and just one dish amongst many that has been wowing diners since La Dame de Pic opened in January last year.
New Nordic has made an impact as one of the world’s greatest cuisines, and restaurants like London-based Aquavit bring the taste of Scandinavia to the UK. It’s an outpost of the original Aquavit in New York (which holds two Michelin stars), but the dishes in the British restaurant – think shrimp, herring and smorgasbords – are certainly worthy of a star. The casual, brasserie-style décor and relaxed atmosphere means this is a place where you can talk, have fun and enjoy the food exactly how it should be.
When Phil Howard left The Square in early 2016, it was the end of an era for a London institution that has trained its fair share of great chefs around the world. Still, times change, and we should be very thankful for Elystan Street, which eschews the trappings of fine dining in a more sustainable approach. Bottled water is out, wastage is composted on site, and the menu is seasonal and largely vegetarian, however Phil's technical mastery is still as present as ever.