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Rémy Martin Awards

Regional Winners 2003

Ee Usk – Oban

At his portside bistro, Callum McLeod aims to take full advantage of the impeccably fresh seafood available. 'We want to get the people to come to the source of the seafood rather than the other way round,' he says. 'but equally we've tried to bring a bit of city life to a coastal location.'

Hotel Des Clos – Nottingham

In their conversion of these Victorian farm buildings, Dan Ralley and Sat Baines have avoided period clichés with a view to creating 'a complete experience that does more than satisfy people’s hunger'. 'We serve classic dishes with a ‘twist’ that aim both to excite visually, while paying attention to the joy of classic food combinations.'

Lounge 10 – Manchester

Phil Yates has had the courage to do something completely different in the conversion of what used to be a tapas bar. No lesser designer than Vivienne Westwood was used to design the ‘Edwardian’ loos, and this innovative streak doesn’t end with the plumbing…

L’Ortolan - Reading

It’s a brave chef who takes over a restaurant whose status as a ‘destination’ was established by one of the industry’s big names. Alan Murchison – who in his early career worked as a junior under John Burton-Race here – has shown himself unfazed by the challenge, and has worked to develop a menu where ethnic influences add excitement to what is essentially a classical approach.

Restaurant Bar & Grill – Manchester

This comfortable, stylish and central restaurant is an ‘all-rounder’ that makes a suitable champion for a city whose restaurant scene is emerging strongly. And it has a management who’ve realised that quality food – and value – is important too.

Riverside Brasserie – Bray

'I am fascinated by the science of cooking and the psychology of eating and want to share that excitement.' So speaks famed 'culinary alchemist' Heston Blumenthal, famed for his unique brand of ‘molecular gastronomy’. This ‘high-wire’ performance requires a rock-solid understanding of the ‘basics’ of cooking, displayed to brilliant effect at his charmingly-located, new ‘number 2’ restaurant.

Seaham Hall – Durham

This 'super luxurious' new hotel with spa, on the edge of the North Sea has been hailed as 'the most exquisite modern retreat in the UK'. Head chef John Connell is determined that his food is not going to be eclipsed by the setting – 'we use the finest, freshest ingredients in an eclectic yet original style.'

Seafood Café – St. Ives

A bit of humility does no harm in a town with a well-developed restaurant scene. 'We don’t think we’re the best restaurant but what we do is the best and that’s reflected by our customers,' says chef Ken Humphries, whose philosophy for this new venture is 'simple and seasonal.'

60 Hope Street – Liverpool

In a city without a ‘grand dining culture’, Gary and Colin Manning’s stylish yet unpretentious café/bar/brasserie is winning an ever more widespread following by offering quality across the board.

Vanilla Pod – Marlow

Let’s be grateful it’s not called the Garlic Pod – Michael McDonald attempts to infiltrate his trademark flavour into every course at his new operation. Otherwise, the creed here is admirably straightforward: 'fresh produce comes in in the morning and is used that day – we don’t over-elaborate, we don’t complicate, we let good quality ingredients speak for themselves.'

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