Inside this week: stars, snubs and shrinking restaurants
They were due to be announced this morning, but the latest batch of Michelin stars ended up being tweeted yesterday afternoon after missing books prompted worries of a leak. London gained seven stars in total, across six restaurants. Relative newbies Lyle’s in Shoreditch, the restaurant attached to Bonhams in Mayfair and Portland on Great Portland Street all won a star each, the longstanding restaurant at The Goring hotel gained one for the first time since the hotel’s launch in 1910; and two high-end Japanese restaurants in Mayfair became two-star restaurants: Umu and The Araki.
Michelin also awarded a round of Bib Gourmands, generally given to cheaper and more casual restaurants that aren't deemed star material but are worthy of recognition all the same. These went to neighbourhood Italian L’Amarosa in Ravenscourt Park, Spitalfields brasserie Blixen, Soho tapas bar Dehesa, Cantonese restaurant Shikumen in Shepherd’s Bush and Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields, the new Portuguese restaurant from Chiltern Firehouse chef Nuno Mendes.
More accolades were poured out this week courtesy of the Great British Pub Awards. London only managed to win one of the 15 national categories, which we feel is a bit of a snub — especially given said winner was the not-all-that Young’s pub Wheatsheaf at Borough Market in the best managed pubs category. Pubs that made the cut in the South East & London regional awards were The Antelope in Surbiton (best beer pub), The Clissold Arms in East Finchley (best family pub), The Jugged Hare in the City (best food pub), The Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush (best wine pub) and The Truscott Arms in Maida Vale (best freehouse).
Make mine a double
Late-night ‘double bar’ 68 and Boston is set for Soho next month, serving wine and cocktails into the early hours. Ground floor wine bar 68 will serve 24 different wines at all times, all of which will cost £20 a bottle. Upstairs cocktail bar Boston will serve classic and creative drinks in decadent surrounds, and have bartenders in white tuxedos. Both bars will be open until 2.30am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 1am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and midnight on Sundays and Mondays. Now all we need is that night tube…
The best cocktail bar in Barcelona is heading to London, and bringing a martini counter with it. Dry Martini has been at the pinnacle of Spain’s cocktail scene since it launched back in 1978, famous in particular for its signature serve — a classic gin martini, served dry. The London version will launch at the Melia White House hotel near Regent’s Park on 1 October. Its dedicated martini counter will offer a choice of 80 gins and several bitters allowing guests to craft their perfect martini. As at the original, the bar will present guests with a stamped certificate every time a martini is ordered.
Ambitions to shrink
Swedish chef Mikael Jonsson will close his Michelin-starred Chiswick restaurant Hedone on 10 October next month and re-open it with half as many covers, no menus and shorter hours, with a view to focussing on quality not quantity and more intricate dishes. When it opens on 21 October it will seat just 20 and serve dinner from Tuesday to Saturday only, and lunch on Saturdays only. Jonsson told Bloomberg: “We want to be able to push forward with all the ideas we've got in embryo. People will just tell us how much they want to spend, and two tables sitting beside each other who want to spend the same amount of money might get two completely different meals."
Next week’s openings include Bernardi's, a big Italian near Marble Arch; The Hour Glass, a gastropub on Old Brompton Road from the people behind Brompton Food Market; and another Italian, Il Cudega in London Fields. It will serve food from the Lombardy region, have a focaccia bar and put 10% of profits into local charities and community initiatives.
We round up London’s biggest food and drink news stories and the latest new and upcoming restaurant openings in this handy digest every Thursday afternoon. See our previous editions.
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