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  1. There are only three UK highlights for me this year, all of which I have enjoyed visiting a couple of times: i) Dabbous - the hype has reached epic proportions but the food does hit the spot. That said, I hope that the menu evolves next year as my second visit was far less memorable than the first simply because of the number of similar dishes on the menu. ii) Hedone - this is my favourite restaurant in London at the moment. As others have said, extra chefs have been added to the kitchen and the place really seems to be singing right now. I am already planning a visit early in the new year. iii) Hambleton Hall - along with fantastic food, Hambleton Hall must possess the best value wine list at a restaurant of its class anywhere in the country imho. Outside of the UK, Restaurant Gilles Goujon (SW France) and Akelarre (San Sebastian) warrants special mention. Both delivered course after course of faultless food with some of Akelarre's dishes in particular being spectacularly innovative.
  2. Far be it from to question such an illustrious consensus, but, to me, he comes across as transparently ambitious. He seems to want to corner the print/internet/TV/radio authoritative critic/pundit market across the UK, without having the talent or charisma to pull it off. An interesting comment - is there anything wrong in being ambitious in whatever field you are in? Is transparent amibition better or worse than hidden ambition? I read Jay's reviews because I buy the Observer and for what it is worth I enjoy them although I would not choose my dining destination solely in reliance of his blessing of a given establishment (or indeed that of any other critic).
  3. I think that the 8 week reservation limit only applies to online bookings – I had no trouble (!) booking a table for lunch in December a few weeks back. In terms of the accuracy of how busy they are, only the restaurant knows the truth. However, when I ate there a month ago a asked how long they were booked up for and was told that they were full for dinner until February/March 2013 and full for lunch until October 2012.
  4. If you are intending on booking for lunch (dinner is already booked up until 2013), I would add Dabbous to the mix. That said, if you opt for the Ledbury, Hedone or The Sportsman you can't really go wrong.
  5. I would agree entirely with Marcus's post. Having lived in Nottingham for 7 years (although now departed) I have eaten at most of the restaurants listed in the OP. The two restaurants which sit below Sat Bains but still within the wider category of 'fine dining' are Harts and World Service. Harts is owned by Tim Hart, also the owner of Hambleton Hall in Rutland. The room is fairly bland and uninspiring with a corporate feel. While the food is perfectly pleasant I have always associated Harts with business lunch - possibly due to the number of business lunches I have attended there... As a result I would place World Service slightly above Harts in the pecking order. The food is reasonably accomplished fusion fare and the atmosphere of the restaurant has always been spot on for me. I would also recommend Iberico - owned by the same people as World Service. Its set lunch is without doubt the best value offering in Nottingham. Sats is obviously a league apart.
  6. Just a short note on a thread which hasn't seen much activity. I was at Hambleton Hall on Saturday after a long break from visits (c. 4 years). The decor remains old school but the food is still excellent. However, the highlight for me was the wine list which also has lots of good wines for relatively low prices - where else could you find a bottle of '96 Huet Le Mont Molleux Premier Tre for £60. I will try to publish a full report when I have a little more time.
  7. I walked past Pollen Street Social on Saturday. The menu in the door was complete with prices. Starters are c. £10. Mains are just south of £30. Deserts are just below £10. Hope that helps!
  8. Judging by Jason Atherton's tweet earlier this week, it looks like he is going to be judging the SE heat again.
  9. I find this to be slightly ridiculous. Is it your position that the other guides do not 'tell it like it is'? If that was the case no-one would buy the guides and they would go out of business. I note that Hardens themselves uses Michelin as a reason to defend its own results (http://www.hardens.com/restaurant-news/uk-london/03-11-10/reactions-to-the-top-100-list/). Incidentally, having viewed the list that is defended in this link, I am at a loss to understand how One-O-One, for example, is rated so highly.
  10. If you are working to tight train times it is probably worth bearing in mind that Sat Bains is located outside Nottingham City Centre - approx 10 min taxi ride each way. As my local fine dining option I have enjoyed dining at Sats many times - my only slight criticism is that if the dining room is not full the atmosphere can feel a little sterile. Still that may be just me!
  11. Got to be Springbank or Longrow from Campbeltown for me. The bottles to seek out are Springbank 15 (21 if you are very lucky) and Longrow 14. Springbank has a hint of smoke and sea - similar to Highland Park. Longrow has far more peat and is rich - after dinner only.
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