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The Kitchin, in Edinburgh, has been voted the BMW Square Meal Best UK Restaurant for 2011 – an award that considers all restaurants beyond the confines of the M25.
With its subtley chic dining room, professional service, and commitment to seasonality and provenance, the judging panel agreed that The Kitchin stood out as the clear winner. Chef and owner Tom Kitchin was thrilled with the accolade. ‘It’s a great honour to have won such a prestigious award’, he said.
Keith Davidson, Square Meal’s reviewer for Scotland and a member of the judging panel, presented the chef with his award. In his review, Davidson said The Kitchin’s approach ‘enthuses diners perhaps more than any other restaurant north of the border. The philosophy of ‘from nature to plate’ is no marketing flimflam – it makes perfect sense from the moment the food arrives at your table.’
Every year, Square Meal’s team of regional reviewers shortlists restaurants for the Best UK Restaurant Top 50, using their own expertise as well as reader reviews and recommendations from Square Meal’s annual online survey. This time round, contenders for the crown included Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, in Cornwall (rated number three) and 2007 winner Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, in Nottingham (rated number five).
But Square Meal’s editor, Ben McCormack, said The Kitchin was the standout winner this year. ‘Tom Kitchin can’t put a foot wrong,’ he said. ‘He shoots his own stags and catches his own hares, his restaurant won a Michelin star within six months of opening, and his food is really special, using classic and seasonal ingredients in a creative way, with a real focus on flavour. The result is a true fine-dining restaurant without a trace of stuffiness.’
Kitchin credits Scotland’s phenomenal with the restaurant’s success. ‘I don’t think many restaurants can touch us for the produce that we buy here,’ he said.
His wife Michaela, who runs the front of house, credited the whole team for their win. ‘I’m absolutely delighted,’ she said. ‘It’s recognition of everyone’s hard work.’
Square Meal would like to thank all of our readers, especially those who posted reviews for restaurants outside the M25 in the past year, or offered feedback via the Square Meal survey. Read the full Top 50 list, published in the summer 2011 edition of Square Meal Lifestyle.
The BMW Square Meal awards recognise all-round excellence across the UK’s restaurant scene. The top accolade is London Restaurant of the Year, which credits the finest overall package, while Best New Restaurant is awarded twice yearly to the most outstanding restaurant launched in the capital during the given period. The Best UK Restaurant title goes to the establishment outside London that has most captured the imagination of both Square Meal’s 25 regional reviewers and its readers.
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