Our top UK openings of 2014

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The rest of the UK may not have enjoyed the bumper year London did in terms of sheer volume of new restaurants, but several 2014 newcomers outside the capital received rave reviews or were hotly tipped by our reporters. Here are the best openings from across the country in 2014, plus a few that missed the survey cutoff but of which we have high hopes…

 

 

Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth

The chef who made his name at the former Crown at Whitebrook is already producing many “excellent” dishes at this new waterside restaurant-with-rooms; service is excellent too.

 

The Crown at Whitebrook, Whitebrook

“As good as ever under new ownership”, this celebrated restaurant-with-rooms, with a “heavenly” location in the Wye Valley, is back with a bang – service still seems to be settling in, but the “intricate and very well balanced” cooking is “stunningly good”.

 

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Blunos, Bath

“Great to have Martin Blunos back in Bath!”; his new hotel dining room arguably “would benefit from more professional service” but “it’s early days”, and this star chef’s seafood specialities are already tipped as “the best in town, by a long way”; “lovely terrace”

 

The Wallfish Bistro, Bristol

“The new place to eat in Bristol”; “on the site of the first Keith Floyd restaurant” apparently, this “unpretentious” bistro offers an “inventive and constantly changing menu”, on which “superb” fish is a stand out; BYO on Wednesdays.

 

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The Old Bakehouse, West Linton

TV chef Tony Singh, ex-Oloroso (RIP) has headed off down the A702 to this West Linton venue, now offering ambitious Scottish-Indian fusion fare (think haggis pakora); it opened too late for survey commentary, and we tip it on the basis of positive press reviews.

 

 

The Honours, Glasgow

The fine dining powerhouse that is Martin Wishart brings his Edinburgh brasserie to Glasgow’s Merchant City, serving traditional and modern French cuisine showcasing Scottish produce.

 

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The Lickfold Inn, Lickfold

Rescued from an uncertain fate thanks to the Save the Lickfold campaign, this Grade II listed pub has been restored to her former glory, with chef Tom Sellers (of Bermondsey’s Story) taking over the kitchen.

 

 

 

Old Stamp House, Ambleside

“A very promising newcomer”, in an historic building, where Ryan Blackburn “prepares interesting dishes from fresh, local ingredients, with skill and imagination”; these are delivered to table by his brother “with aplomb”.

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