Blumenthal London Eatery Named U.K.’s Best, Hix Soho for Drink

Heston Blumenthal, Ashley Palmer-Watts
Chef Heston Blumenthal (right) came top for best meal in Harden's guide to London restaurants. On the left is Ashley Palmer-Watts, his executive chef. Photographer: Richard Vines/ Bloomberg.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London was last night named the U.K.’s best restaurant in the Observer Food Monthly awards, just eight months after it opened.

Mark’s Bar, at Hix Soho in London, triumphed for best place to drink, while Koya, also in Soho, was best for cheap eats. The Sunday lunch award went to the Bull & Last in Kentish Town, London. Michel Roux Sr. took the lifetime achievement crown. Blumenthal, who also owns the Fat Duck in Bray, opened in the U.K. capital in February this year.

The awards were announced in a party at the London Film Museum. The event has become a main event over the past eight years for British restaurateurs, food producers and writers. Some of the winners are picked by readers of the Observer Food Monthly, others by a panel that includes chefs Jason Atherton, Sat Bains, Angela Hartnett and Thomasina Miers.

It’s the season for giving in the U.K. restaurant business. Zagat, AA Hospitality, Michelin and National Restaurant Awards have named their favorites in the past month. The London Restaurant Awards are on Oct. 17 and the Sunday Times Food List follows later in October.

Last night’s winners included:

Lifetime achievement: Michel Roux Senior
Best restaurant: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Food personality: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Best cookbook: “Plenty,” by Yotam Ottolenghi
Best place to drink: Mark’s Bar, Hix, Soho
Best producer: Johnny Pusztai at J.T. Beedham & Sons, Notts
Best newcomer: Maltby Street, London
Outstanding contribution: Tristram Stuart, author of “Waste”
Young chef of the year: Paul Foster, Tuddenham Mill
Best Sunday lunch: Bull & Last, Kentish Town, London
Best food blog: Eat Like a Girl
Best ethical restaurant: The Ethicurean, North Somerset
Best independent local retailer: The Cheese Shed, Bovey Tracey
Best cheap eats: Koya, London

(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.)

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