Road to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016: Favourites and British hopes
There are just a few days to go before some of the biggest names in food descend upon Manhattan’s landmark venue Cipriani Wall Street to attend the annual ceremony which will announce this year’s world’s best restaurant. Taking place in New York City after 14 years in London, it will see the world’s best chefs gather to celebrate the importance of good food and fine dining, and to discover who will claim the top spot after the recent reigns of Noma and El Celler de Can Roca.
Sadly, no British chefs are expected to earn the coveted title this year. Instead, it looks to be a battle between world number two Osteria Francescana, the highly esteemed Eleven Madison Park and Central restaurant Lima.
However, there are some British restaurants in the top positions and some others who are expected to break the list. Here are some of the key players:
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Conceived by one of Britain’s most acclaimed chefs, Heston Blumenthal, this Knightsbridge restaurant has occupied a spot in the top ten since its very first entry in 2012. Run by Blumenthal’s talented protégé Ashley Palmer-Watts, Dinner by Heston truly embodies the values of the 50 Best Restaurants list – incredible food unconstrained by the formalities of classic gastronomy, made even better by an easy-going, yet still impeccable, service.
After branching out in Melbourne last autumn, which spread the word even more about the wonders of Palmer-Watts’s kitchen, we expect it to remain firmly in the top ten.
Standing out as one of London’s most classy and creative restaurants, the Ledbury, headed up by chef Brett Graham, mixes classic and modern cuisine in London’s upper class Notting Hill neighbourhood. It has boasted a strong presence on the list since 2011 and, after a slight drop last year, we expect it to climb back up the ladder once more.
The Fat Duck
Heston Blumenthal’s iconic restaurant, The Fat Duck, which has always been at the forefront of cooking innovation, standing out against its main rival El Bulli in the field of molecular gastronomy back in the 2000s, underwent a £2.5 million renovation, reopening its door in September last year. In 2005, it claimed the top position and we expect that, following a full refurbishment and an exciting, multisensory experience featuring a new 17 course menu, that it may well work its way back into the top 50.
The Clove Club
Wunderkind Isaac McHale, whose restaurant The Clove Club ranked 55 last year, has been slowly working his way up the list with each passing year. Recognised for delicious, cutting-edge dishes which keep on getting better, we think it might be time for the list to welcome Shoreditch’s favourite fine-dining haven, which has recently seen an exciting renovation to its dining room.
Hedone, Fera, Chiltern Firehouse and Lyle’s
There are several other British restaurants that could also make a serious move this year. Mikael Jonsson’s Hedone in Chiswick currently occupies the 60th place, but we wouldn’t be surprised if his new menu takes him even closer to the 50th position. Equally, Simon Rogan of Fera, home to the ceremony’s pre-party during the last two years, has now been awarded a level of recognition which could see the Claridge’s-hosted restaurant establish itself as one of the top 100.
Chef Nuno Mendes, who is working on the re-launch of Viajante, could also make an appearance on the list with the ever-popular Chiltern Firehouse. Still one of London’s toughest places to get a table for dinner, the restaurant has a consistently excellent menu but the service and style may let him down this time.
Finally, Michelin-starred Lyle’s could also claim a spot thanks to head chef James Lowe. Lowe, once a member of the Young Turks with Isaac McHale and Ben Greeno, opened his restaurant in April 2014 and his stunning food quickly received the recognition it deserves – the Michelin star. Although arguably less innovative than the Clove Club, it boasts the coolest guest collaboration series in London which has seen great chefs in his kitchen: the likes of Daniel Berlin, Bertrand Grébaut, and soon André Chiang.
Starting from Monday 6th June, every day we’ll post an interview with the main competitors in the list.