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Seven London restaurants have been awarded their first Michelin star by this year’s judging panel, bringing the total number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the capital to 53.
Nuno Mendes’ Viajante (pictured, above left) and the Galvin brothers’ La Chapelle were among the one-star recipients predicted (at short odds) by Square Meal. Also awarded one star were Kitchen W8 in Kensington, Seven Park Place at the St James’s Hotel & Club and Gauthier Soho. Petersham Nurseries Café also received one star, the first for chef Skye Gyngell.
Gordon Ramsay put a turbulent 2010 behind him and started 2011 in fighting form, after Pétrus won its first star and his Royal Hospital Road restaurant held onto its full three stars, despite speculation to the contrary.
Hélène Darroze, whose Parisian restaurant has in the past held two Michelin stars, saw her restaurant at The Connaught in Mayfair rise from one to two stars.
Viajante’s Nuno Mendes told Square Meal: ‘We are extremely happy. We knew we’d been inspected but I had no idea whether it was positive or not. It’s a huge boost in confidence and reassurance for us that we’re going on the right path. We’ve been open less than a year and it’s an honour to be awarded this. The whole team has worked so hard to make this happen and I want to congratulate them all.’
Jeff Galvin was gearing up for a double celebration: on top of La Chapelle’s star, neighbouring Galvin Café à Vin was awarded a Bib Gourmand. Galvin credited his team and his relationship with his brother Chris as the secrets of their success this year.
‘I have a very good judge in my brother Chris,’ he said. ‘We’re honest with each other and very open – we can make critical comments and won’t get offended.
‘We’ve got so many people who’ve been with us for such a long time, and it’s great news for them,’ he added. ‘We spend most of the year bending everybody’s ear – this isn’t right, that isn’t right – but on a day like today they can understand why.’
William Drabble, head chef at Seven Park Place (pictured, right), told journalists in a press statement: ‘I’m so delighted with the Michelin star. Christophe Thuilot, our restaurant manager, my team and I are thrilled that our passion for fine dining and the experience and service it entails as well as all the hard work, is being acknowledged by such a prestigious award.’
Outside London, six restaurants were awarded stars, bringing the total number of Michelin-starred restaurants to a record-breaking 143 – the most Great Britain and Ireland have ever collectively held.
Nathan Outlaw’s eponymous restaurant in Rock, Cornwall (pictured, below left), gained a second star. One-star winners included Curlew in Bodiam, East Sussex, the Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, north-east Somerset, Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, The Black Rat in Winchester, Hampshire, and Paris House in Woburn, Bedfordshire.
Nathan Outlaw was on holiday in Tenerife when the news was announced by Michelin. Ian Dodgson, from the St Enodoc Hotel, said that the chef was ‘absolutely delighted’ with his two stars when he spoke to him.
‘Since taking over the restaurant, he’s been in complete control,’ Dodgson told Square Meal. ‘He’s over the moon it’s happened so quickly. It’s a great start to the year.’
Not so fortunate this year were Thai restaurant Nahm at the Halkin and French favourite Roussillon, which both lost their star. Outside of the capital, Drakes on the Pond in Surrey, The New Angel in Dartmouth, Harry’s Place in Lincolnshire and The Star Inn in North Yorkshire, also lost their star. In Belfast, Deanes lost a star, as did the Summer Isles in Achiltibuie, Scotland.
This year’s Michelin awards reflect the trends in the capital’s restaurant scene reported by Square Meal in the 2011 Guide, namely an increase in popularity for hotel dining – Viajante, at the Town Hall Hotel, being a case in point. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, at the St Enodoc Hotel, is another hotel restaurant that was clearly destined for recognition; in summer 2010, it narrowly missed out to L’Enclume for the number one spot in the BMW Square Meal Top 50 UK Restaurant awards.
Given the strong support from Square Meal’s in-house and user reviewers for Viajante and Galvin La Chapelle over the past year, it is unsurprising that they received their accolades from Michelin.