The Raby Hunt near Darlington was the biggest winner in yesterday’s (snooze-worthy) 2017 UK and Ireland Michelin Guide announcements, with chef James Close bagging his second star. Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray returned to three-star status, having been omitted from last year’s guide during its residency in Melbourne.
There were no other multi-star promotions this year, although head chef Matt Abe retained coveted three-star status for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea. Sharing Michelin’s top billing with Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Michelin continue to promote a league table totally unrecognised by London’s fooderati.
Abe’s predecessor Clare Smyth, who left earlier in the year and plans to open her first restaurant in 2017, received a new special award for GB and Ireland female chefs at the announcements, which were made for the first time this year at a live event in London.
Michael Wignall retained two stars at Gidleigh Park in Devon, where he followed Michael Caines. Wignall’s previous perch, The Latymer at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, lost its two stars.
There were 17 new single stars in the UK, including two in Wales, Restaurant James Sommerin at Penarth in Cardiff Bay and Sosbarn and The Old Butchers on Anglesea; and two in the Lake District, Forest Side in Grasmere and Gilpin Hotel in Windermere.
Manchester again failed to make an impact on the Michelin inspectors, and still awaits a star.
The other new single stars went to: The Crown at Burchetts Green, Berkshire; the Tudor Room at Great Fosters in Egham, Surrey; Thomas Carr at the Olive Room in Ilfracombe, Devon; the Wild Rabbit in Kingham, Oxfordshire; and Peel’s at Hampton Manor near Birmingham. London winners were the Five Fields in Chelsea (pictured); Celeste at the Lanesborough Hotel; Ellory in London Fields; Pidgin in Hackney; The Ritz Restaurant; Veeraswamy in Regent Street; Trinity in Clapham; and The Ninth in Bloomsbury.
By awarding a start to Trinity in Clapham, Michelin has finally recognised one of its most shocking omissions of recent years. At least with Five Fields it has only taken them three years to cotton onto the obvious.
In addition to the Latymer, the Square in Mayfair lost its two stars following its sale and the departure of founding chef Phil Howard, while Claude Bosi has closed Hibiscus, also in Mayfair, and plans to open a new restaurant next year.
The London restaurants to have lost their single star this year were Launceston Place in Kensington, Wild Honey in Mayfair and L’Autre Pied in Marylebone. Brasserie Chavot and Arbutus closed down. Around the country, The Terrace at the Montague Arms Hotel in Beaulieu, Hampshire; Ockendon Manor at Cuckfield in West Sussex; The Pass at South Lodge Hotel in West Sussex; Drake’s in Ripley, Surrey; Thackeray’s in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and Paris House in Woburn, Bedfordshire lost their stars. Mr Underhill’s in Ludlow and Sangster’s in Fife closed.