Source: Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
The Best Restaurant in the U.K. Isn’t in London
The U.K. has a new best restaurant, according to the Good Food Guide—and it’s five hours outside London.
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, overlooking the Cornish coastline in the far west of England, toppled L’Enclume, which held the top spot for four years. The two-Michelin-star restaurant, named after its modest and soft-spoken chef, specializes in fish. Prices start at £62 ($80) for a four-course lunch menu that has included dishes such as cured monkfish, tomato, and sea purslane.
“It’s amazing to be No. 1,” Outlaw said in an interview. “We are just a little 30-cover restaurant in Cornwall cooking a bit of fish. We always try to make sure the customers are enjoying themselves, and it is very nice to be recognized. We have been working together as a team for over 10 years, and the guys are really proud about this.”
You don’t have to travel to Cornwall to try Outlaw’s food. His restaurants include Outlaw’s at the Capital, in London, and Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara, in Dubai, where his signature tasting menu will set you back the equivalent of $259. (To be fair, it features white sturgeon caviar and lobster.) The lunch menu in London costs £29 for three courses, while the five-course tasting menu is £85.
“Nathan Outlaw’s food is characterized by the absolute freshness of ingredients and a clear sense of purpose,” said Elizabeth Carter, the guide’s editor. “He has done an enormous amount to educate and encourage the public appetite for fish.”
The top-ranked London restaurant on the list is Jason’s Atherton’s Pollen Street Social, which came in third. Only three other establishments in the capital made the Top 10: Gordon Ramsay, Hedone, and Claude Bosi at Bibendum.
Outlaw was second in last year’s rankings, which are based on the views of about 40 anonymous inspectors. Some of the recommendations come in from readers’ tips. The Guide differs quite a bit from the National Restaurant Awards list, which is assembled by 180 voters, including me, and tends to favor London establishments. That list gave the top spot to the Sportsman, which placed 42nd in the Good Food Guide, while Restaurant Nathan Outlaw came in at No. 27.
The Chef of the Year award went to Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, whose Casamia, in Bristol, jumped to 10th from 27th in the Top 50. Chef Ben Crittenden, from Stark, a tiny 12-seater in Kent, was named Chef to Watch.
Top 50 Restaurants (with food score in brackets)
- Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall (10)
- L’Enclume, Cumbria (10)
- Pollen Street Social, London (9)
- Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottinghamshire (9)
- The Fat Duck, Berkshire (9)
- Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London (9)
- Hedone, London (8)
- Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Tayside (8)
- Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London (8) New
- Casamia, Bristol (8)
- Bohemia, Jersey (8)
- Ynyshir, Powys (8)
- Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (8)
- Fraiche, Merseyside (8)
- Marcus, London (8)
- Le Champignon Sauvage, Gloucestershire (8)
- Adam Reid at the French, Manchester (8)
- The Ledbury, London (8)
- André Garrett at Cliveden, Berkshire (8)
- Midsummer House, Cambridgeshire (8)
- Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London (8)
- The Peat Inn, Fife (8)
- The Kitchin, Edinburgh (7)
- Sketch, Lecture Room & Library, London (7)
- The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye (7) New
- Moor Hall, Lancashire (7) New
- The Greenhouse, London (7)
- The Ritz, London (7) New
- Castle Terrace, Edinburgh (7)
- Forest Side, Cumbria (7)
- Orwells, Oxfordshire (7)
- Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Cornwall (7)
- Restaurant Marianne, London (7)
- The Waterside Inn, Berkshire (7)
- Restaurant James Sommerin, Glamorgan (7)
- Artichoke, Buckinghamshire (7)
- The Raby Hunt, Durham (7)
- Whatley Manor, The Dining Room, Wiltshire (7)
- Restaurant Story, London (7)
- Simpsons, Birmingham (7)
- Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (7)
- The Sportsman, Kent (7) New
- Adam’s, Birmingham (7)
- Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire (7)
- Gidleigh Park, Devon (7)
- Le Gavroche, London (7)
- Hambleton Hall, Rutland (7)
- Murano, London (7)
- The Whitebrook, Gwent (7)
- The Man Behind the Curtain, Leeds (7) New
The Good Food Guide will be published by Waitrose on Sept. 4, with a cover price of £17.99.
Richard Vines is the chief food critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.