Sketch Lecture Room & Library (pictured above), the Mayfair restaurant owned by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and with cooking overseen by French super-chef Pierre Gagnaire, has been awarded its third Michelin star. The accolade was announced earlier today at a chef-stuffed ceremony in west London to mark the publication of the 2020 edition of the Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland.
Mazouz and Gagnaire opened Sketch in 2003 and the restaurant was initially most famous for the £12m cost of the refurbishment of the former Christian Dior HQ on Conduit Street. Since then, however, it has steadily built a reputation as much for the quality of the food as the extravagance of the interiors, winning its first Michelin star in 2005 and its second in 2012.
Speaking to SquareMeal, Sketch’s head chef Johannes Nuding said, “Winning a third star means everything. It’s the second best thing to have happened this year, after my little girl being born.”
Mazouz added: “I don’t know what winning a third star means yet– I haven’t taken it in. But for me it’s first and foremost for the team. For Johannes, and for Pierre, who is a genius. I’ve seen him sitting working, writing out a full menu with Johannes in front of him and the next day they start cooking it and it’s magical.”
Anne-Sophie Pic of La Dame de Pic
The other big London win of the evening was La Dame de Pic. The dining room in the Four Seasons Hotel in the City of London is overseen by French chef Anne-Sophie Pic, who has three stars at her family’s restaurant, Maison Pic, in Valence, France.
The Dining Room at Whatley Manor was the only other new two star in Great Britain, although the Republic of Ireland has two new two stars in The Greenhouse in Dublin and Aimsir in County Kildare. The Greenhouse’s head chef Mikael Viljanen got the biggest laugh of the night when he knocked awards presenter Raymond Blanc to the floor in an overly enthusiastic bear hug.
It is only two years since Whatley Manor’s executive chef Niall Keating won his first star and shortly after was awarded Michelin’s young chef of the year award. “Sometimes I don’t feel like my feet have touched the floor with everything that has been going on,” he said. “I haven’t even been at Whatley for three years.“ A visibly emotional Keating was heading out for dinner after the ceremony to celebrate with his mum and dad.
Niall Keating of Whatley Manor
As well as the new three and two stars, 21 restaurants in Great Britain were awarded one star for the first time. Notable newcomers include three restaurants in the Lake District – Allium, The Cottage in the Wood and The Old Stamp House – as well as Mana, which is the first restaurant in Manchester to be awarded a Michelin star in 40 years. Chef-patron Simon Martin admitted that winning a star for the city will put the restaurant under pressure. “But this is something that a lot of people expected from us from the start,” he said.
It wasn't good news for everyone, however. Three Michelin-starred The Araki in Mayfair was stripped of all of its stars following the return of its founder Mitsuhiro Araki to Japan. Other high-profile London restaurants to lose their stars included Benares, Galvin at Windows and Yauatcha Soho, as well as 21212 in Edinburgh.
But Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin guides, summed up the overall mood of celebration with his closing words. “This has truly been a record-breaking year for Great Britain and Ireland. It is the highest number of stars awarded in the history of this guide.”
New Michelin three-star restaurants in Great Britain
Sketch Lecture Room & Library, Mayfair, London
New Michelin two-star restaurants in Great Britain
The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, Wiltshire
La Dame de Pic, City of London
New Michelin one-star restaurants in Great Britain
Allium at Askham Hall, Cumbria
The Angel at Hetton, North Yorkshire
The Artichoke, Amersham, Buckinghamshire
Beach House, Oxwich, Swansea
The Cottage in the Wood, Keswick, Cumbria
Da Terra, Shoreditch, London
The Dysart Petersham, London
Endo at Rotunda, Shepherds Bush, London
Interlude, Lower Beeding, West Sussex
Isle of Eriska, Argyll and Bute
Maos, Shoreditch, London
The Muddlers Club, Belfast
The Old Stamp House, Ambleside, Cumbria
Pensons, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire
Royal Oak, Whatcote, Warwickshire
Stark, Broadstairs, Kent
The Tudor Room, Egham, Surrey
Three Michelin star deletions in Great Britain
The Araki, Mayfair, London
One Michelin star deletions in Great Britain
Benares, Mayfair, London
Driftwood, Portscatho, Cornwall
Fischers at Baslow Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire
Galvin at Windows, Mayfair, London
Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon
Samphire, St Helier, Jersey
The West House, Biddenden, Kent
Yauatcha Soho, London
Yorke Arms, Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire
See which restaurants SquareMeal rates the most with our list of the 100 top places to eat outside London