London's Hibiscus, Quilon, Rhodes W1 Restaurant, La Trompette and Wild Honey had good reason to celebrate recently thanks to being awarded one Michelin star in the Michelin Guide Great Britain
& Ireland 2008.
Despite its sister restaurant, Arbutus, being awarded a star last year, Wild Honey’s
chef-proprietor Anthony Demetre told Square Meal that he was delighted at the award. He attributes the restaurant’s success to its ‘great cooking combined with sensitive prices’. Both Wild Honey
(pictured left) and Arbutus offer among the cheapest Michelin-starred experiences in the capital.
Gary Rhodes, who already holds a star at Rhodes Twenty Four in the City, said the award was a lovely surprise and
felt just as exhilarating as the first time he was awarded a star in 1986, when he was cooking at The Castle Hotel in
Taunton. He said his plans for Rhodes W1 Restaurant were to ‘introduce that little bit more and work towards achieving two stars’.
This year’s dark horse was Quilon. The Westminster restaurant has been open for eight years and serves food from India’s southwest coast. ‘Quilon crept up and improved gradually over the years,’
said Derek Bulmer, editor of the guide.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay remains the only current London establishment to hold the ultimate accolade of
three Michelin stars. In comparison, Paris is home to nine three-starred restaurants, while New York has three and in the new Tokyo guide, published last November, there were eight. However, Bulmer
rejects the suggestion that London is significantly lagging behind other world capitals in gastronomic prowess. ‘You can’t just compare numbers of stars,’ he says. ‘Paris has a lot of traditional
restaurants, while New York and London are much stronger on variety. Quilon is the fifth Indian restaurant in London to be awarded a star.’
Bulmer also points to the capital’s
trend for informal restaurants as a reason for the lack of new two- and three-star restaurants. This was further highlighted by a flood of new Bib Gourmands, which denote ‘good food at moderate
prices’ (three courses for under £28). Nine new Bib Gourmands were awarded this year, bringing the total in the capital to 27, a third more than in 2007. Among the recipients were Galvin Bistrot de Luxeand last year’s newcomers Great Queen Street, Benja and Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub The Narrow.
Despite the trend for informality, Bulmer is optimistic about London’s fine-dining scene. ‘London’s future looks healthy,’ he says. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised to see another three-star restaurant in
the next couple of years.’
LONDON MICHELIN STARS
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Pied a Terre
1 Lombard Street Restaurant
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s
Rasoi Vineet Bhatia
Rhodes Twenty Four
Rhodes W1 Restaurant
Richard Corrigan at Lindsay House
The River Cafe
Sketch: Lecture Room & Library
London's Hibiscus, Quilon, Rhodes W1 Restaurant, La Trompette and
Wild Honey (pictured left) were all awarded one Michelin star in the recently unveiled Michelin Guide to Great Britain
& Ireland 2008.
Anthony Demetre, chef-proprietor of Wild Honey, told us that he’s even more shell-shocked than when sister restaurant Arbutus received a star last year. He puts it down to ‘great cooking combined with sensitive prices’. Similar feelings of surprise were voiced by Sriram Aylur, chef-director at
Quilon, who said the announcement ‘came totally out of the blue’. The Victoria restaurant has been open for eight years and serves food from India’s south-west coast.
Only Marylebone’s Orrery restaurant lost its Michelin star. No restaurants were upgraded to two-star status, nor did any
achieve the ultimate accolade of three stars. Derek Bulmer, editor of the Michelin Guide to Great Britain & Ireland 2008, said the lack of new two and three star restaurants reflects
London’s trend for informal restaurants and praised the capital’s restaurant scene for its diversity. He also said the future looks healthy and that he wouldn't be surprised to see another
three-star restaurant in the next couple of years.