Early October might not mean much to most people, but to the UK restaurant industry it’s an exciting time. It’s time to unveil the newest recipients of Michelin Stars – the most prestigious award ceremony in the food hospitality business.
How Are Michelin Stars Awarded?
The rating system has a reputation for stuffiness and overpriced food, but that reputation is far from reality. The food doesn’t need to be 10-course nouveau cuisine or overpriced. Stars are allocated quite simply:
- Where a restaurant is given one star, the establishment has ”very good cooking”
- Two stars means the establishment has “excellent cooking” and worth a going out of your way
- Where a restaurant is given three stars, the cuisine is exceptional and worth driving a considerable distance
Michelin Stars of London
The capital is no stranger to Michelin stars and this year’s ceremony had many new exciting additions to the list. In particular: The Dysart Petersham, Richmond; Da Terra, Tower Hamlets; Endo at the Rotunda, White City; Mãos, Shoreditch all received one star. La Dame de Pic, The City of London received two stars. Sketch Lecture Room & Library, Mayfair received three stars.
Each year, some restaurants sadly lose their stars. Once again, London was no exception. This year proved a bad year for Mayfair especially.
The Araki in Mayfair lost all three of its stars; Yauatcha in Soho, Galvin at Windows and Benares (all in Mayfair) had one star each which they lost. Bonhams in Mayfair and Fera at Claridge’s both lost their stars as they ceased trading in 2019. The same is true of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Covent Garden, and Hedone in Chiswick.
Michelin Star Quick Trivia
Japan has the highest number of Michelin Star restaurants by head of population with 27 per million people (by area covered which is not the whole country). Tokyo is home to the largest number of Michelin Star restaurants with 304 in 2018. By contrast London had 79. Tokyo is also home to the most expensive restaurant with a Michelin Star – Kitcho at £490. Per capita, the country with the most Michelin Stars is Switzerland.
The first London restaurant to win a Michelin Star was the Albert and Michel Roux’s Le Gavroche. It was a first for the UK to win a star, and the first UK establishment to win a second Michelin Star.
Other Notable Restaurant Awards
Michelin is not the only annual awards ceremony; there are plenty to choose from.
The Good Food Guide is arguably the most famous. It uses a 1-10 score with 10 being the best; it describes a 10 score as “a rare accolade”. Outside of the scoring system, Good Food also highlights Local Gems (LG), best for sustainability, best new entry, the chef of the year, and a few others.
The brainchild of Restaurant magazine, the annual National Restaurant Awards allocates awards based on professionals from across the industry including top chefs, restaurateurs and food journalists. It covers not just fine dining, but gastropubs and trendy bars too.