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Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Hibiscus and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon were the biggest winners in this year’s Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland – all three London restaurants were awarded two stars. ‘It’s great news, it was a big challenge and we really wanted it’ Claude Bosi, chef-proprietor of Hibiscus, told Square Meal, while Alain Ducasse (pictured right) commented that it was ‘a great honour and a brilliant achievement for the whole team’.
The new two-star restaurants are a typically conservative choice by the folk at French-owned Michelin: all three serve high-end French cuisine and are fronted by French chefs; Hibiscus held two stars before it relocated from Ludlow to London in late 2007; while Robuchon and Ducasse's ever-expanding restaurant empires keep them vying for the title of the world's most Michelin-starred chef. The announcement of Ducasse’s two star (and ‘rising three star’) status came as a particular surprise to Square Meal, with both our own experience and that of readers falling some way short of that offered by other two-star establishments such as Le Gavroche and Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, particularly given the eye-watering prices.
Eight London restaurants were awarded one star. Angela Hartnett’s Murano, Helene Darroze at The Connaught and Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex’s Ambassade de L’Ile were the most predictable beneficiaries, all of the chefs having previously held or currently holding stars at other establishments. More unexpected were stars for Chinese restaurant Kai and Italian Ristorante Semplice, both in Mayfair, as well as L’Autre Pied, the younger and more informal sibling of two-star Pied a Terre. Another surprise winner was St John (pictured left). Serving robust, no-frills British food and regularly hailed as one of London’s best eateries, the Clerkenwell restaurant has been open for almost 15 years, and little has changed in the last 12 months.