Jason Atherton, the chef who created Maze for Gordon Ramsay before quitting to open his own London restaurant, has won two awards in the 2012 Good Food Guide for Pollen Street Social: Best New Entry and the Highest New Entry.
Atherton beats Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, the highest-profile new restaurant of the year. Pollen Street Social places eighth and Dinner is 19th. Blumenthal’s the Fat Duck, which is outside London, comes top. Maze has been dropped from the guide.
“Jason’s cooking has just got stronger and stronger,” Elizabeth Carter, the consultant editor, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Moving to his own place, running with his own ideas, he’s opened one of the most exciting restaurants in London. Now that he’s not traveling round the world opening Mazes for Gordon Ramsay, he’s re-energized and he’s in the kitchen all the time. He’s also got a strong team.”
Gordon Ramsay drops to fourth from second. L’Enclume moves up to second place from fourth. The restaurant in Cartmel is owned by chef Simon Rogan, who has just opened Roganic in London. Sat Bains, Nottingham, goes to third from sixth.
The Ledbury jumps to 17th from 29th. (Chef Brett Graham’s restaurant was invaded on Monday night by rioters who robbed some diners.) Galvin La Chapelle enters the Top 50 for the first time, placing 50th. Maze came 11th in 2010 and was unclassified last year because Atherton had resigned.
“We went in to do a final inspection at Maze this year and I was surprised to see that it was still a very Jason Atherton menu,” Carter said. “I’m sure they have a very good chef --one thing you can say for Gordon Ramsay is that he has good chefs -- but so much air and energy had been sucked out of the place that we couldn’t give it a decent score. So we decided not to put them in and give them a year to sort themselves out.”
Angela Hartnett of Murano is named as “The Good Food Guide 2012” Chef of the Year in the Editors Awards.
The other London restaurants in the Top 50 are Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, seventh (unchanged from last year); Hibiscus, ninth (11th last year); The Square, 10th (unchanged); Le Gavroche, 14th (15th); Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, 15th (12th); Murano, 22nd (unchanged); The Greenhouse, 42nd, (40th); and Club Gascon, 48th (45th).
New entries include the Gilbert Scott, owned by another Ramsay protege, Marcus Wareing; Ramsay’s Savoy Grill; and St John Hotel. Opera Tavern, Spuntino and Nopi are also among the 358 London restaurants featured in the guide.
The other new London entries are: Dishoom; Les Deux Salons; Cigalon; Apsleys; La Fromagerie; Vinoteca; Amaranto; Hakkasan Mayfair; Fernandez & Wells; Koya; Nopi; 28-50; Bar Battu; Coq d’Argent; Morito; Vanilla Black; Brawn; Indian Zilla; Retro Bistrot; Made in Camden; Sushi of Shiori; The Horseshoe; Kentish Canteen; Sardo Canale; Homa; Entree; Wuli Wuli; four o nine; Cantinetta; The Fox & Grapes; Koffmann’s; Kiraku; Yashin Sushi; Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis; Tinello; The Havelock Tavern; Cassis.
Here is the U.K. Top 50 with cooking scores in parentheses: 1. The Fat Duck, Berkshire (10) 2. L’Enclume, Cumbria (9) 3. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottinghamshire (9) 4. Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road, London (9) 5. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall (8) 6. Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire (8) 7. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, London (8) 8. Pollen Street Social, London (8) 9. Hibiscus, London (8) 10. The Square, London (8) 11. Le Champignon Sauvage, Gloucestershire (8) 12. Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House, Buckinghamshire (8) 13. Whatley Manor, The Dining Room, Wiltshire (8) 14. Le Gavroche, London (8) 15. Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London (8) 16. Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (8) 17. The Ledbury, London (8) 18. The Waterside Inn, Berkshire (7) 19. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (7) 20. Robert Thompson at the Hambrough, Isle of Wight (7) 21. Midsummer House, Cambridgeshire (7) 22. Murano, London (7) 23. John Campbell at Coworth Park, Berkshire (7) 24. Fraiche, Merseyside (7) 25. Gidleigh Park, Devon (7) 26. Bohemia, Jersey (7) 27. Fischer’s Baslow Hall, Derbyshire (7) 28. The Crown at Whitebrook, Gwent (7) 29. The Pass, West Sussex (7) 30. Michael Wignall, Latymer at Pennyhill Park, Surrey (7) 31. Hambleton Hall, Rutland (7) 32. The Old Vicarage, Derbyshire (7) 33. Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Tayside (7) 34. Harry’s Place, Lincolnshire (7) 35. The Kitchin, Edinburgh (6) 36. Tyddyn Llan, Denbighshire (6) 37. Artichoke, Buckinghamshire (6) 38. Purnell’s, West Midlands (6) 39. Mr Underhill’s, Shropshire (6) 40. The Hand & Flowers, Buckinghamshire (6) 41. Anthony’s Restaurant, West Yorkshire (6) 42. The Greenhouse, London (6) 43. Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire (6) 44. The Sportsman, Kent (6) 45. The Creel, Orkney (6) 46. Ramsons, Greater Manchester (6) 47. The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill, North Yorkshire (6) 48. Club Gascon, London (6) 49. Royal Oak, Paley Street, Berkshire (6) 50. Galvin La Chapelle, London (6)
“The Good Food Guide 2012” will be published on Sept. 8 and can be ordered at http://www.thegoodfoodguide.co.uk/shop. It is priced at 16.99 pounds.
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)