Where are the best restaurants in England? We mapped out the just-announced new entries in the UK Michelin Guide 2019 – a constellation of fine-dining restaurants, cosy gastropubs, pop-up alumni, and a former strip club – for a gourmet road trip. Plus, the luxury and boutique hotels where you can snooze off your excesses. Hire some wheels and bring an appetite: dinner is served…
Already as sparkly as the night sky, the capital gets a generous sprinkling
of new stars, including two coveted second stars…
WEST | Check in at starry André Balazs joint, Chiltern Firehouse, in Marylebone – itself a gourmet hub, where Michelin-nodded chef Nuno Mendes dreamt up the crab doughnut. Here, you’re well-placed to dine at Simon Rogan’s punnily named grown-up pop-up Roganic (sister restaurant to the Lake District’s L’Enclume) where ingredients are foraged and grown on Rogan’s own farm. And, tuck into beautiful British fare at Core by Clare Smyth, Harry and Meghan’s wedding chef and a Gordon Ramsey trainee who has earnt an impressive twinset of stars.
CENTRAL | Colourful Ham Yard Hotel is a central Soho base within wandering distance of four new stars. In Fitzrovia, enter Kitchen Table through the back of Bubbledogs, sit at its counter and watch chef James Knappett craft two-star-worthy tasting menus; in Mayfair, chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho does wonderful things with Castilian piglet and Galician octopus at tapas stop Sabor Restaurant. In Piccadilly, Ikoyi chef Jeremy Chan’s West African cuisine excites and Ollie Dabbous’ multi-tiered eatery, Hide, is a stand-out.
EAST | Shoreditch emerged as one of London’s most exciting dining hubs, with two new entries: Leroy, an accomplished wine bar and fine diner (from the team behind sadly-lost Ellory), and former strip joint Brat, who’s moved from meat market to meaty Basque cuisine. Make yourself at home at the Curtain, and save room for a Harlem soul-food brunch at in-house eatery, Red Rooster.
Towards the West Country there’s an embarrassment of new stars, thanks to
just-picked menus and a discerning minibreak crowd…
SURREY | Dorking’s modest charms (the Surrey Hills, Denbies Wine Estate…) are growing; it’s the site of new Michelin-star holder Sorrel Restaurant. Chef Steve Drake’s dishes will tempt the most resolute Londoners to suburbia; his nine-course Discovery menu (clam custard, Herdwick lamb, Barkham Blue tartlets) is just £65. Stay at storied mansion Beaverbrook, close by, where ingredients come from a kitchen garden and there’s a cookery school.
OXFORDSHIRE | The ‘shire’s culinary rep matches the beauty of the Cotswolds villages to the west and Chiltern hills to the south. Book an elegant room at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (and stop at his restaurant and cookery school…) to stay between two winners. To the north, Oxford Kitchen has best-of-Blighty dishes shaken up by chef Paul Welburn; to the south, the Blackbird’s offers partridge with candied figs, lamb mille-feuille and a superlative Sunday roast.
BATH | Chris Cleghorn has worked with Heston Blumenthal, Michael Caines and other greats. His pedigree shows in the confident West Country cooking he serves up at the Olive Tree, his sultry restaurant in the Queensberry Hotel, Bath. Choose a five- or seven-course menu, composed of surprising flavour combos (fallow deer and bitter chocolate, truffle and Madeira).
BRISTOL | This university city has rolling farmland at its limits and cosmopolitan punters with a taste for refined dining – as such it’s fertile terroir for Michelin glory. It came this year to chef George Livesey, whose unassuming Bulrush Restaurant inspired even discreet Michelin inspectors to tweet a picture of their dessert (truffle ice-cream, croissant mousse and caramel apples, if you must know…). Stay at stylish city-centre hotel Number Thirty Eight on the edge of Clifton Downs park.
Amid post-industrial cities and vast national parks, under-the-radar restaurants
and perennial favourites have found the spotlight…
HULL | This Humberside city is having a great year, with the arrival of its inaugural boutique stay, the hip Hideout Hotel, and a new Michelin star within glinting distance, just a 30-minute drive away. Winteringham Fields’ one-mile menu stars harvested goodies from chef Colin McGurran’s farm and nature-nurtured dishes, such as 60-day-aged beef tartare and confit crown-squab pigeon.
LANCASHIRE | Michelin’s take on two-star restaurants is that they’re ‘worth a detour’. Moor Hall is diverting indeed, with its spread of English country garden and talented chef Mark Birchall in the kitchen. The menu’s a poem of wild wanderings, with anise hyssop, woodruff, and such. Pair city and country with a stay at Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool, a half-hour drive away. Alternatively, rest up in Manchester’s King Street Townhouse and make the hour-long pilgrimage to the White Swan a one-star stop in Fence, for its intriguing plates.
THE LAKE DISTRICT | The second victory for master forager and feast-maker, and eponymous-name-lover, Simon Rogan. Just beyond the lower reaches of the Lake District National Park lies Rogan & Co, where chef Tom Barnes steps in for Simon and works magic with local produce. Dishes are decadent yet unfussy (valley venison with riesling-sloshed cabbage, Goosnargh chicken with stout vinegar), and delicious, of course. Immerse yourself in the lakes’ loveliness with a stay at Linthwaite House, a half-hour drive away, on the banks of Windermere.