A bastion of unbridled generosity for three decades, Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft’s Michelin-starred flagship is still synonymous with confidence, genuine warmth and top-ticket hospitality. Northcote’s previously staid interior positively sparkles these days, thanks to a glossy makeover that has given the whole set-up an “extra edge” – witness the new cookery school, terraced tables and a more stylish dining room. As a trailblazing champion of all things Lancastrian, Haworth has always shown proper respect for the seasons, while adding a sophisticated gloss to the region’s big-boned culinary traditions. The result is elegantly contemporary and “consistently brilliant” food, ably interpreted by head chef Lisa Allen – from a summertime standout of creamy-white cauliflower with crushed black peas, smoky onion foam and home-cured ham to the wintry thrills of roe deer with cherries, butternut squash, ginger and salted pumpkin seeds. Desserts such as Yorkshire rhubarb accompanied by a delicate white chocolate shell filled with custard are also exemplary. Service genuinely cherishes its customers, the fastidiously curated wine list is “a pleasure to behold” and staying over is pure joy. In short, Northcote is a worthy winner of the BMW Square Meal Award for the Best UK Restaurant.