“Peerless” female chef, Marianne Lumb, wins Top Gastronomic award – Corbin & King recognised for their lifetime achievement
• Top Newcomer Jamavar (“not just one of the best Indians in town, but among the best of any cuisine”) narrowly beats 108 Garage
• Borough Market’s Kappacasein (“elevating melted cheese into high art”) is the capital’s Best Street Food
• Ben Chapman’s “inspired”, “palate-searing” Thai Soho haunt Kiln is London’s Top Cheap Eat
Harden’s unveiled the winners of its definitive 2017 London Restaurant Awards at a glittering gala ceremony at The Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, sponsored by the Casino, the UK’s largest, and England’s finest sparkling wine, Nyetimber.
Nominations for the awards are statistically derived from Harden’s 27- year-old annual survey of UK restaurant-goers, with 8,500 people contributing 50,000 nominations in this year’s poll. The awards shortlist reflects the nominations in each survey category, with two places reserved for up-and-coming names, in keeping with the awards emphasis on recognising new and developing talent. The final selection from the shortlist is made by the Harden’s editors.
Ex MasterChef competitor, Marianne Lumb – patron of her “tiny but lovely” 14-seater restaurant in Bayswater, won the Top Gastronomic Award, sponsored by Nyetimber, for cooking that’s “peerless perfection”.
The guide’s editor Peter Harden’s noted: “Marianne’s performance in the Harden’s survey was so strong this year, we felt she deserved to be recognised at the pinnacle of London cuisine, despite hugely impressive performances from all the other shortlisted candidates: Brett Graham’s renowned Notting Hill headquarters The Ledbury, Isaac McHale’s temple to fine dining Shoreditch-style The Clove Club, and Phil Howard’s exciting new Elystan Street in Chelsea.”
Last year the award went to London’s most expensive restaurant The Araki in Mayfair.
The star-studded ceremony on 11 September, introduced by Peter Harden and hosted by the BBC’s Nigel Barden, presented 14 awards to the cream of London’s dining scene, including a special Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by The Hippodrome Casino.
This honour went to Chris Corbin & Jeremy King, a duo whose names first became synonymous with power dining in the capital after they purchased and re-launched Le Caprice in 1981, and followed it up with an even bigger hit The Ivy in 1990 (both, nowadays, owned and operated by Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings). Follow-ups have included J Sheekey and their enduring Grand Café The Wolseley, as well as The Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel and many others. In 2016 the award went to Bruce Poole (chef-patron of Wandsworth’s Chez Bruce) and this year Bruce was on hand to present this prestigious accolade to his successors.
Peter Harden said: “It is very fitting that Bruce Poole should be present to hand the award to Chris and Jeremy. The Ivy was rated Londoners’ favourite restaurant in our poll for 9 years running – an accomplishment beaten only by Bruce himself for the last 13.”
Meanwhile Leela Palace’s “stunning” Mayfair restaurant Jamavar was named London’s Top Newcomer, which, thanks to ex Gymkhana chef Rohit Ghai’s “expert” and “exquisite” dishes, has become not just one of the best Indians in town but “among the best restaurants of any cuisine”. Jamavar only just edged out Notting Hill’s hot new ticket 108 Garage, pop-up-turned-permanent Kricket in Soho, and Fitzrovia’s “spectacular but completely honest” Honey & Smoke. This year’s winner is in stark contrast to last, when the honour went to Lee Tiernan’s Black Axe Mangal on Highbury Corner – where strong spices meet heavy metal.
In spanning all levels of budget and ambition, the awards recognised the world class inexpensive cooking now available in the capital. Ben Chapman’s “inspired” and “palate-searing” Thai Soho haunt, Kiln, took home Top Cheap Eat, and Borough Market mainstay, Kappacasein was awarded Best Street Food for “elevating melted cheese into high art”.
Barnsbury’s “fantastic” café, Sunday N1, collected the award for Best Breakfast or Brunch, while The Berekley’s “elegant, refined and beautiful” Collins Room was named the city’s Best Afternoon Tea spot, sponsored by Fentimans, for its exquisite ‘Prêt-à-Portea’. When it came to Top Coffee House, Shoreditch hipster favourite Ozone was declared “unbeatable… except for the queues in the morning” partly on account of the “habit-forming smell from the big roasting machines in the basement”. A mile away in Granary Square, while acknowledging that the attractions of The Lighterman owe something to its “stunning views overlooking the canal”, this relatively recent opening won Top Bar or Pub, sponsored by Duvel, for its “impressive consistency” and “surprisingly efficient and personable” staff given its weight of popularity.
In a brand new category for 2017, Best for Fish & Seafood, sponsored by Exmoor Caviar, St James’s glamorous Estiatorio Milos – where “sublimely fresh” seafood is “masterfully prepared” – fought off competition from Covent Garden institution J Sheekey, Scott’s and the newly opened Rick Stein Barnes to take home the trophy. Elsewhere; Misha Zelman’s genius brainchild Zelman Meats won Best Steaks & Grills.
Pamela & Guiseppe Turi’s magnificent Pimlico Italian Enoteca Turi won the award for London’s Most Interesting Wine List, thanks to Sig Turi’s “wonderful list, embellished by his own personal remarks”. Across town, another restaurant with an “exemplary wine list”, newcomer Cabotte, was recognised for becoming an instant hit for City entertaining, winning Best for Business, sponsored by Exmoor Caviar, aided by its “buzzy but not macho” atmosphere. When it comes to Best for Romance the crown goes to Clerkenwell’s Luca, the new sibling to Shoreditch’s famous Clove Club, for its “beautiful and romantic interior” and “high quality, refined Italian dishes using the best British produce”.
The Winners in Full
Sponsor: Nyetimber English sparkling wine
The Clove Club
Marianne – Winner
TOP CHEAP EAT
Berber & Q
Kiln – Winner
BEST FOR BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH
45 Jermyn Street
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
Sunday N1 – Winner
About the Awards
The Harden’s London Restaurant Awards comprises a total of 14 categories – with nominees taken from those who performed best in the annual Harden’s restaurant survey. This year, more than 8,500 foodies contributed 50,000 reviews.
Each category consists of four nominees, two selected purely on the strength of diners’ votes, and a further two selected on a similar basis, but solely from newer restaurant openings of the last few years. From the four candidates, the Harden’s editors pick the final winner, with a bias to recognising rising talent that possesses the potential to emerge as some of London’s very best in any given category.
For more information on the awards visit www.restaurantawards.london.
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