London was the big winner in the announcement of the new Michelin stars for Great Britain and Ireland, revealed at a ceremony attended by 180 chefs at the BFI London Imax. Core by Clare Smyth, which opened in August 2017, went straight in at two stars, while Kitchen Table by Bubbledogs was promoted to two stars.
Six restaurants in the capital were awarded their first Michelin star: Brat, Hide, Ikoyi, Leroy, Roganic and Sabor. There were no new three-star restaurants in the 2019 guide, and no new stars for Scotland or Wales.
Prior to opening Core, Smyth (pictured above) has been chef patron of three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and was presented her award by Ramsay himself. “It’s amazing to receive two stars straight away,” Smyth said. “But this isn’t something that has happened in 12 months. I started at Gordon Ramsay 16 years ago and this is about the discipline and dedication we put in every single day. It’s even more special to receive this from Gordon, it seems perfect.”
Kitchen Table’s (pictured above) James Knappett is another Ramsay protege and was joined on stage by his partner Sandia Chang. “It is very hard to work with your partner because we are each others’ biggest critics,” Chang said. “But it’s great because you trust each other and you push each other to be better every single day.”
Outside London, Moor Hall, the Lancashire restaurant and hotel from former L’Enclume executive chef Mark Birchall, won its second star a year after being awarded its first. “This is the best,” Birchall said. “Without sounding arrogant, I know what we do every day, and what we have done from the start. We just serve our guests, they love what we do and that spurs us on.”
While there were winners, there were losers too. From the 18 restaurants to have lost a star, Marcus Wareing’s Marcus at The Berkeley lost the second star it has held since 2007. Other restaurants to lose their star included Ametsa, Jamavar, Lima Fitzrovia and Outlaws at the Capital, while Cheltenham’s Le Champignon Sauvage also lost its second star.
Gwendal Poullennec, the new international director of the Michelin guides, said that restaurant guides were more relevant than ever.
“In a world dominated by user reviews and opinions, professional and independent recommendations have never been so relevant. When you want to try a new restaurant, you need a reference you can trust and make your booking safe in the knowledge that you will get the very best quality and service.”
But the biggest star of the evening? Gordon Ramsay. His surprise appearance proved once again that no other chef can pull you into his orbit with the same supernova charisma.
New two-starred Michelin restaurants
Core by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill
Moor Hall, Aughton
Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs, Fitzrovia
New one-starred Michelin restaurants
The Blackbird, Newbury
Fordwich Arms, Fordwich
Gidleigh Park, Chagford
Ikoyi, St James’s
Olive Tree, Bath
Oxford Kitchen, Oxford
Rogan & Co, Cartmel
Salt, Stratford upon Avon
Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon, Little Dunmow
White Swan, Fence
Winteringham Fields, Winteringham