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Rémy Martin Awards

London Winners 2008

Acorn House,
King's Cross

Co-launched by Arthur Potts Dawson and James Grainger Smith (with help from the Shoreditch Trust), this King's Cross establishment is London's first premium eco-friendly training restaurant. Every aspect of Acorn House aims to be environmentally aware or sustainable. Not only does the restaurant offer vegetables, meat and fish from sustainable sources and local farmers, but it purifies its water on site and uses 'green electricity'. Takeaway packaging is biodegradable, and all kitchen waste is recycled or composted. With adventurous, seasonal menus, a dedication to healthy eating and environmental responsibility, this pioneering new concept offers London a unique destination dining experience.
Acorn House
Acorn House, click to enlarge Acorn House
Acorn House, click to enlarge
Barrafina Barrafina Barrafina, click to enlarge


Sam and Eddie Hart credit the famous Cal Pep Tapas bar in Barcelona as the inspiration for their new Soho eatery. Indeed, the resemblance to the Barcelona operation is striking. Customers all sit at high stools eating at a single L-shaped, marble-topped bar counter, which is well situated within the restaurant, creating a social eating experience.

Barrafina serves tapas which are simple and traditional, in the best sense. The nibbles include almonds, olives and pan con tomate (tomato-rubbed bread), but many diners want to move on swiftly to the cold meats, such as slivers of cured jabugo ham cut from a whole leg behind the counter. A mound of crushed ice displays the fresh seafood: three types of huge prawns, clams, mussels, a vast chunk of raw tuna used to make tuna tartare. Barrafina is as Spanish as Spanish gets in London.

El Faro,
Canary Wharf

El Faro (Spanish for lighthouse) looks out over the impressive scenery of the Crossharbour dock, yet is only 10 minutes from bustling Canary Wharf. There is a large terrace and on the first floor, a private area. Head Chef Edward Guttierez trained with Feran Adria of El Bulli fame, and boy does it show. He claims to make some of the most authentic tapas in London. However El Faro's particular claim to fame is that a whole suckling pig is flown in weekly from Segovia, outside Madrid, providing a rare piecé de resitance. Diners are not at all discouraged by the slightly off-the-beaten-track location, as the place is worth a trip for superb quality food at affordable prices.
El Faro, click to enlarge

Magdalen, click to enlarge Magdalen Magdalen, click to enlarge

London Bridge

Magdalen is owned by father-and-son duo Roger and James Faulks. James and Roger began talking of a restaurant soon after James began working at The Fat Duck. Five years on and James had worked at La Trompette, where he met David Abbott James then moved on to The Anchor and Hope, before the idea progressed of his own restaurant. James is head chef, and James's wife Emma is also in the kitchen as pastry chef. The restaurant offers Anglo- French cuisine using the best ingredients available and sourcing seasonal and local ingredients wherever possible.

Magdalen revolves around the simple idea of great food cooked simply, and served in relaxed and unpretentious surroundings. The menu changes regularly, but is always composed of seasonal food available locally, and the freshest fish possible.


Scott's, from the same stable as such legends as The Ivy and J Sheekey, is a restaurant with great heritage. After its total recent refurbishment, however, it's effectively a totally new restaurant, albeit in a grand and essentially traditional clubby style.

The menu is a sublime, fish-heavy affair, with signature dishes such as Cornish stargazy pie (served with pilchards poking their heads out through pastry), or rack of Shetland lamb with pan haggerty (a Northumberland dish of potato, cheese and onion). But there are modern European notes too, like hake with pork belly and braised arrocino (haricot) beans - a meaty, savoury dish of Iberian Inspiration.
Scott's, click to enlarge
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