This morning sees the release of the 2015 Michelin Guide, and with it news of the latest restaurants to gain and lose those coveted Michelin stars.
It was actually a relatively quiet year for London, with just six new stars awarded and no restaurants entering the heady realms of two or three stars. This compares with nine new one-star restaurants and two new two-star restaurants last year.
It’s particularly interesting to see Soho tapas bar Barrafina scoop a star, given it has been a fixture on the London scene for more than seven years and has not been acknowledged before. The guide’s editor, Rebecca Burr, explains this saying: “Barrafina has just got better and better over the years and even when a second branch was being planned and subsequently opened, we still experienced the same high standard of cooking.” We would argue that it could also be seen as a representation of how Michelin’s rating system has changed over recent years to be more accommodating of less formal dining styles, such as tapas.
Gymkhana’s star compounds their recent win at the National Restaurant Awards, while The Clove Club was recognised as one of the World's 50 Best Restaurants earlier this year. City Social marks the third Michelin star for Jason Atherton, with Mayfair’s Pollen Street Social and Soho’s Social Eating House already in the club.
London also scooped nine new Bib Gourmand awards. These don’t carry the accolade of a star, but are given to restaurants offering ‘good food at affordable prices’. They can be seen as a way for Michelin to acknowledge restaurants doing great things but which don’t have the level of formality and service that the guide has traditionally required.
High-profile Bib Gourmand winners include Barnyard, The Palomar, Polpetto, and Rotorino. Neighbourhood winners come in the form of Indian Essence in Bromley, Bibo in Putney, The Earl Spencer in Southfields, Roots at N1 in Barnsbury and Yipin China in Angel.
There were also a few big-name losses, most notably ultra-pricey, celeb-soaked Japanese restaurant Nobu. Its branches on Park Lane and Berkeley Street each lost their one Michelin star. It remains to be seen whether this will put off regulars such as Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Lily Allen. Chelsea’s Medlar also lost its star, while gastropub The Princess Of Shoreditch lost its Bib Gourmand.
London retained all of its nine two-star restaurants and its two three-star restaurants.
Which restaurants do you think deserve a star that don’t have one? Where’s over-rated? And do you think Michelin actually means anything at all? Let us know in the comments below.