Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Pollen Street Social won stars today as the two new London restaurants were recognized in the Michelin Guide to U.K. and Ireland, which for the first time gave a second star to a pub.
The Hand & Flowers, in Marlow, about an hour west of London, charges 16.50 pounds ($25.26) for a three-course set lunch by chef Tom Kerridge that yesterday was crispy pig’s head with Provencal garnish; Cornish whiting fritter with braised Puy lentils; and blackberry fool with mint sauce.
“The Hand & Flowers won its stars for the food,” Rebecca Burr, editor of the guide, said today in a telephone interview. “It doesn’t matter if you are in a country pub or a Mayfair restaurant. Tom’s got a fine touch. He’s one of the greatest chefs in the country and he’s got his feet on the ground.”
There was also a second star for Restaurant Sat Bains, in the English Midlands, where the tasting menu costs 95 pounds. Bains is one of the country’s most respected chefs among his peers. He cooked at Fortnum & Mason for the day on Oct. 3 as part of the London Restaurant Festival.
Dinner and Pollen Street Social have reaped awards since opening this year. Dinner is the British brasserie of Blumenthal, the owner of the Fat Duck, which holds three stars. The head chef is Ashley Palmer-Watts. Pollen Street belongs to Jason Atherton, who created Maze for Gordon Ramsay before splitting with his mentor.
Pied a Terre lost the second star it first won in 1996 following the departure of chef Shane Osborn. Also in London, Bingham Restaurant at Bingham Hotel gave up its star, as did Tom Aikens, which is closed for refurbishment.
There are no new three-star restaurants in London, which has two, compared with seven in New York. Two establishments near London also hold three stars.
Burr took over as editor following the retirement of Derek Bulmer. Internationally, the guides will also have a new director, New York-born Michael Ellis, who has been named to succeed Jean-Luc Naret, who has resigned.
Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two stars are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one star denotes a very good restaurant in its category.
Various criteria are used: food quality, preparation and flavors; the chef’s personality as revealed through the cuisine; value for money; and consistency over time and across the menu.
Michelin & Cie. is the world’s second-biggest tiremaker, after Bridgestone Corp. It produced its first guide in August 1900, distributed free of charge (until 1920) and intended for chauffeurs. The guide contained practical information, including street maps and tips on using and repairing tires.
“The Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland 2012” will be available in bookshops from tomorrow, priced at 14.99 pounds (17.99 euros in Ireland).
Here are the awards. (N means new):
THREE STARS: Fat Duck, Bray Waterside Inn, Bray Alain Ducasse, London Gordon Ramsay, London
TWO STARS: London: Le Gavroche Helene Darroze at the Connaught Hibiscus The Ledbury Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley The Square
Rest of the U.K. and Ireland: Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder Midsummer House, Cambridge Gidleigh Park, Chagford Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin Whatley Manor (The Dining Room), Malmesbury Hand and Flowers, Marlow N Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham N Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Rock
ONE STAR: London: Amaya Apsleys Arbutus L’Autre Pied Benares Chapter One Chez Bruce Club Gascon Dinner by Heston Blumenthal N Galvin La Chapelle Galvin at Windows Gauthier Soho Glasshouse Greenhouse Hakkasan Hakkasan Mayfair N Harwood Arms Kai Kitchen W8 La Trompette Locanda Locatelli Maze Murano Nobu (Berkeley St) Nobu (Park Lane) North Road N Petersham Nurseries Cafe Petrus Pied a Terre Pollen Street Social N Quilon Rasoi Rhodes Twenty Four Rhodes W1 River Cafe St John Semplice Seven Park Place Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library) Tamarind Texture Umu Viajante Wild Honey Yauatcha Zafferano
New one-star restaurants outside London: Black Swan, Olstead Butchers Arms, Eldersfield Castle Terrace, Edinburgh The Checkers, Montgomery Coworth Park, Ascot Driftwood, Portscatho Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond The Pass, Horsham Sir Charles Napier, Chinnor Tassili (at Grand Hotel), Jersey/St Helier
New winners of Bib Gourmand for value in London: Azou, Hammersmith Barrafina, Soho Brawn, Bethnal Green Da Polpo, Covent Garden Fox and Grapes, Wimbledon Jose, Bermondsey Kateh, Mayfair Koya, Soho Opera Tavern, Covent Garden St John Bread and Wine, Spitalfields Sushi Say, Willesden Green Triphal, Southfields Trishna, Marylebone *T
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)