The world’s gastronomic gods gathered in the City last night for this year’s World’s 50 Best restaurant awards, a prestigious list of top eating spots around the globe compiled by chefs, food critics and industry insiders. We were there to see it all unfold and witness a particularly good year for London, as the capital managed to bag two places in the top ten for the first time ever.
Leading the way was Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner which climbed two places to number five, a welcome bit of good news for the restaurant, which less than three months ago was forced to close due to a norovirus outbreak. The Knightsbridge restaurant beat Heston’s out of town flagship three-Michelin-starred The Fat Duck by a country mile, as it fell 14 places to 47.
Notting Hill’s The Ledbury also rose to the occasion, moving up three places to take the number 10 spot, becoming the UK’s second best restaurant according to the list.
In spite of the awards’ name, a whole 100 restaurants are actually announced each year. This time round, the slightly less glamorous half of the list included three more London spots: St John in Clerkenwell at 55, Hedone in Chiswick at 63, and The Clove Club in Shoreditch at 87. The latter was also the after-party destination of choice for many of the chefs and foodies at the awards last night…and was responsible for a sore head or three among our party this morning.
Fergus Henderson, chef at St John also scooped the lifetime achievement award at the ceremony and received a standing ovation from the audience as he took to the stage. The chef opened the St John Street restaurant in 1994 and pioneered the concept of nose-to-tail-eating, adamant that every part of an animal should be used in cooking rather than just prime cuts. It’s an approach that remains very much in vogue, but which absolutely wasn’t at the time.
Copenhagen’s Noma* scooped the top spot in the awards, regaining the title it held from 2010 to 2012, while last year’s winner El Celler de Can Roca* in Spain slipped to number two. See the full list of winning restaurants here.
*Both of these links seem to be down at the time of writing, presumably due to increased post-award traffic.