Which of the World's 50 Best Restaurants are in London?
The world's most influential and controversial restaurant awards only recognised two London restaurants, Clove Club and Lyle's this year, why?
At Lyle's, diners can expect to find quirky yet wholly pleasing flavour combinations, such as Jersey Royals, sea aster, kipper butter and Aylesbury duck, beetroot and green almonds. A four-course set dinner menu is £59 and the lunch food bill half of that, making dining at what's rated as one of the 50 best tables on earth highly affordable.
The dishes at Lyle's are known for their exciting flavour combinations
Intentionally more avant-garde, The Clove Club now requires payment on reservation and offers a no-choice six-course dinner menu for £95, or a four-course for £65, whilst the lunch menu is £54. The eatery's sardine sashimi and the potato puree dessert are widely praised, (and even more widely Instagrammed). But the best ever dish is the buttermilk and pine fried chicken that's available as a bar snack.
Isaac McHale of The Clove Club
Closer scrutiny reveals that both chef Isaac McHale of The Clove Club (the higher entry on the list at number 27 and up six from last year) and James Lowe (up five to number 33) met whilst stagiares, the cheffy equivalent of an intern, at René Redzepi's Noma. This forward-foraging Copenhagen restaurant has taken the number one slot more times than any other restaurant on the planet: a total of four occasions. The chefs went on to form the presciently named "Young Turks" collaboration popping up all over London and creating an international stir, most notably at rooms above The Ten Bells in Shoreditch.
Noma 2.0 in Copenhagen
Their shared Noma career stepping stone is surely more than mere coincidence. Both chefs remain well-established among the almost exclusively male inner coterie of chefs who exert huge gastronomic pulling power and run regular guest chef events hosting collaborative dinners with some of the world's most progressive chefs. The Noma effect is surely a persuasive factor. Even more so this year, with a new (well, slightly) name Noma 2.0 and new location, the restaurant has leapt back into the charts at number two, and is being treated as a wholly new entry.
Massimo Bottura, chef patron of three Michelin star restaurant Osteria Francescana
Meanwhile, past number one winners are retired to a Hall of Fame special status. These restaurants include Eleven Madison Park whose chef Daniel Humm is opening hotly anticipated Davies & Brook at Mayfair's iconic Claridge's this Autumn, and last year's winner, Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana. The maverick Italian chef from Modena has hosted several, instantly sold out residencies at Bonham's restaurant and The Conduit Club, and continues to front his charitable foundation Refettorio Felix at St Cuthbert's, which thrives on producing creative menus in elegant surroundings for the hungry and homeless.
Restaurateur Will Guidara (left) and chef David Humm (right)
This year's crown goes to Mauro Colagreco's Mirazur, a restaurant set over three levels in a dazzling location in Menton, close to the Italian border. It is the first time a French restaurant has won the coveted accolade in its 18 year history. As with the list's Shoreditch picks, at Mirazur the food is described as emphatically produce-led and ultra-local, as much is grown in the ravishing terraced gardens overlooking the Cote d'Azur. The menu has three themes: sea, garden and mountain, and the tasting menu is €260.
The prettily located Mirazur in Menton
Chef Jonny Lake (left) and sommelier Isa Bal (right)