The Michelin Guide 2015: an exceptional flurry of single stars marred by stagnation higher up the ladder
The prestigious Michelin Guide today announced that 14 new restaurants in the UK had been awarded its much coveted star. What the guide gave with one hand however it took with the other, stripping an equal number of stars including those long held at both locations of famed celebrity hotspot Nobu.
The iconic red book, commonly regarded as the de facto authority on fine dining was created by the two Michelin brothers in 1900. Originally a practical guide for chauffeurs, it was radically transformed in the 1920s when it came to exclusively focus on the rich and diverse world of restaurants. For many chefs, being featured represents the ultimate prize, the reward for decades of dedication to their craft.
As expected, London took the lion’s share with six new entries; the rest of the country received four, while Scotland and Wales both got two each. Compared to last year’s nine stars total, this is a marked improvement, although there has been concern over the lack of recognition for restaurants in Manchester and Liverpool. It’s been three decades since an establishment in the former held a star, and many were hoping that Aiden Byrne at the Manchester Hotel would finally draw recognition to the city. Ireland meanwhile remained the same, with the nine current holders all retaining the honour.
Few will be surprised to see City Social, Jason Atherton’s latest offering in his growing “chain” of Social restaurants, claim an immediate place in the vaunted guide. Nor will it come to any shock to see that Fera at Claridges and Clove Club have both made it onto the list with their deceptively simple dishes. If anything the real shock is that there were no new two stars appointments, especially given the critical acclaim surrounding Isaac McHale, head chef of the latter restaurant and former student at Noma.
In fact there was a distinct lack of movement in the upper echelons, with no restaurants gaining or losing stars at the two star level or above. Although the UK has been remarkably successful in changing the outdated preconceptions about its culinary finesses there’s still considerable work to be done. Only four of its restaurants currently hold three stars, with only one of those coming in the past decade. If the UK is to compete at the top level any time soon, young blood like McHale will have to start living up to their undoubted potential.
New one-star restaurants:
Fera at Claridges – Mayfair
Gymkhana – Mayfair
Clove Club – Shoreditch
Barrafina – Soho
City Social – City of London
Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs – Bloomsbury
Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen – Port Isaac, Cornwall
Treby Arms – Devon
Isle of Eriska – Scotland
Three Chimneys and the House Over-By – Isle of Skye
Ynyshir Hall – Wales
Crown at Whitebrook – Wales
Cross at Kenilworth – Kenilworth
Star Inn – Harome, North Yorkshire
For further information or to buy a copy of Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2015 visit here.