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UK Michelin Ratings for 2008


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just reading an article in the caterer with chefs predictions for stars in the 08 guide, some sensible calls, anthony's for one, champignon sauvage for three etc.

One that did stand out was a call for one for tom's kitchen. Never been but can't say i've seen one positive piece anywhere on this place, most recently a particularly ripe savaging from dos hermanos.

They quote the star at harome's andrew pern who says the beauty of michelin lies in it's unpredictability which is spot on. It seems there are so many places trying so hard to get a star it results in some pretty formularic menus that could be eaten anywhere, from the top of my head last year places like hipping hall or no 6 in padstow that may well get rewarded, but hopefully the more individual places will get a look in too.

i wonder what they'll make of the current crop of more casual london places like magdalen, GQS etc

you don't win friends with salad

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oddly enough i was thinking of your poor report when i read the article, it was tipped for two there :laugh:

i don't think the results will make any difference to where i actually go this year, going to the sportsman at seasalter, thinking about nathan outlaws already, anthony's & champion sauvage are always on the list and even if they gave 3* to ducasse i'd still want to hear of a superb meal from another trusted source to back it up :laugh:

you don't win friends with salad

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I'm almost loath to get into this one but here goes.

Every single year Michelin provokes the same raging frenzy online - see also the Restaurant list.

This and other boards froth about it and, every year, resolve that the list is crap, the judges were fools, they missed most of the best places and blessed others through a combination of conservative stupidity and industry nepotism.

Now I don't like football either, so maybe I'm missing the fun of groups of (mainly) men getting together to debate in jesuitical detail, the fortunes of a series of 'teams' and endlessly revisiting the judgement calls of officials. Maybe that's what the annual online Michelin debate is... the middle class version of that radio station cab drivers listen to where people opine on their favourite teams, the last match and what the manager is doing in a harmless medium where no-one else listens except other obsessives.

Two things are absolutely certain...

1) Michelin will be wrong

2) Nothing anyone says here will make any difference.

Which leads me to an inevitable conclusion: Unless I'm missing something and the debate is the point, couldn't we do better ourselves?

Isn't there some bit of software whereby we could vote for our own stars? Couldn't we invite those of our membership whose opinions we rate to give scores? Isn't there anything in the great engine of the interweb that we can't use to prove the Michelins to be the irrelevance they so obviously are?

If not, can I at least suggest we get together for a series of podcasts of radio phone-ins where we all pontificate loudly in execrable Essex accents about how many stars L'Enclume deserves to be played in cabs and white vans all over the Capital.

"That faaaakin Ducasse. Eees a faaakin numpty. Eee wansis faaakin 'ed lookin'at ee does.

:laugh:

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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If not, can I at least suggest we get together for a series of podcasts of radio phone-ins where we all pontificate loudly in execrable Essex accents about how many stars L'Enclume deserves to be played in cabs and white vans all over the Capital.

Three.

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Just as Hoover=vacuum cleaner, Michelin=restaurant guide, at least in the mind of the majority of chefs around the world and just about every journalist. No one ever writes news stories about Good Food Guide points or AA rosettes, but Michelin stars fill column inches. It would take something very serious indeed to shift it from that position, so it does matter and probably always will.

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Just as Hoover=vacuum cleaner, Michelin=restaurant guide, at least in the mind of the majority of chefs around the world and just about every journalist. No one ever writes news stories about Good Food Guide points or AA rosettes, but Michelin stars fill column inches. It would take something very serious indeed to shift it from that position, so it does matter and probably always will.

I suppose you could say the same about the Premiership, or whatever the football competition is called. If one is complicit, as a fan, in consuming it, it's fairly unlikely that one is going to declare that it's irrelevant as anything other than a scoresheet of who's spending the most on foreign players.

The strange thing, though, is that, amongst restaurant fans there is an almost universal disagreement with the results.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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Of course it matters, of course Michelin will be wrong in some peoples eyes, spot on in others.If they give you a star they are right, if they don't, they are idiots.It's just human nature.It's also a hell of alot of fun in the cold winter month of January.I make no predictions, just watch from the sidelines as it all get discussed at length. :biggrin:

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maybe I'm missing the fun

Indeed you are.

The wisdom of crowds is great for estimating the weight of a bull, or predicting which world leader's next for the chop. But it's terrible when judging important things like art, music and dinner. In short, seven million Barry Manilow fans can be wrong. That's why we need the self-elected arbiters -- The Turner Prize, Michelin, Juke Box Jury -- to show us the inferiority of our tastes. And that's why we should welcome the annual ritual of pointing out the inferiority of theirs.

What should happen: Garvoche up to three. Aikens and Aubergine up to two. Magdelen, St John, Galvin and Morgan M gonged. Demotions for L'Atelier, Benares, L'Escargot, Hakkasan, Mirabelle, Rhodes 24 and both Nobus. Meanwhile, Lindsay House, Assaggi, Glasshouse, Arbutus, Zafferano and Tamarind all all told in no uncertain terms that their star is on a shoogly peg.

What will probably happen: Greenhouse and Claridges GR-Lite both up to two. Singles for China Tang, Rhodes W1, Pearl and Patterson's. Short-stake, lottery-odds bets on Foilage going to two, with singles for Aurora, Wild Honey, and that unapproachable fish place in Knightsbridge. Least deserved potential star would be a toss-up between Bentley's and Tom's Kitchen. Double for Ducasse, assuming the judges received their bri .. sorry ... got in there before the print deadline. Same applies to the one star for Alan Yau's new Hakke Sake place. Demotion, surely to god, for Nobu Berkeley.

(For the full taxi-driver effect, I typed that with the monitor behind my left shoulder.)

Edited by naebody (log)
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I'll add my vote to Gavroche, I can't remember the last time I ate there and it wasn't deserving of three stars or I would have been back but I've got a feeling that they will get the promotion simply for having held the two stars so long. Michelin must be gagging to award a third star somewhere.

We all seem to have fogotten Hibiscus, hopefully they will have been allowed to transfer their stars? Nathan Outlaw should get a star even if his cooking was a little "Michelin by numbers" for my liking.

I'll give a couple of the predictions I heard (I've not eaten at them myself) that nobody seems to talk about, Aiden Byrne at The Grill (Dorchester) *, Umu **, Sat Bains **

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I'll add my vote to Gavroche, I can't remember the last time I ate there and it wasn't deserving of three stars or I would have been back but I've got a feeling that they will get the promotion simply for having held the two stars so long. Michelin must be gagging to award a third star somewhere.

I had three dinners at Le Gavroche during last year and every single time it was a three-star experience (and may I modestly add that I have been to about half of the world's three star restaurants, some of which unfortunately are not on the level of Le Gavroche). It would be faboulous if Michel and the entire brigade finally got the rating they deserve.

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In my dreams and hopes Michelin will have decided to reward the more established innovative and creative style of cooking that exists in the UK;

Anthonys *

Fraiche *

Juniper **

Sat Bains **

L'enclume **

LCS ***

Hibiscus *** (albeit too soon)

Oh, as well as hacking some of Ramsey's, controversial, I know but,

RHR ** :biggrin:

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I would give stars to Anthony's (but is there anyone on this forum who believes it shouldn't have had one for years!) and thought La Becasse in Ludlow was easily deserving of one.

Sat Bains could well make 2* and I wouldn't be surprised if he did. As much as I love Juniper, it doesn't have enough consistency to be 2* in my opinion.

Adam

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In my dreams and hopes Michelin will have decided to reward the more established innovative and creative style of cooking that exists in the UK;

Anthonys *

Fraiche *

Juniper **

Sat Bains **

L'enclume **

LCS ***

Hibiscus *** (albeit too soon)

Oh, as well as hacking some of Ramsey's, controversial, I know but,

RHR **  :biggrin:

In my (one dinner at each) experience Juniper and Sat Bains are not deserving of two stars. Definitely one, but let's not go crazy. My meal at L'enclume was amazing though and I'd happily see them take another star (preferably another two).

Have you been to the new Hibiscus? I'd say a generous inspector might give them a solitary star but you must be stoned if you think it deserves three.

I guess I went to RHR on a good day because I thought it was fabulous.

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I want to like le champignon sauvage, I really do. From the reports, the photos and the style, it sounds right up my street. But I've been twice, and the meals weren't two star level, let alone 3. Therefore, in my mind, it is simply NOT a three star restaurant.

Of all the restaurants in England I've been to, only the Fat Duck fits that bill. I'm looking forward to Sat Bains in a couple of months, but I very much doubt it will hit that level.

On the last two visits, RHR disappointed. Whether michelin agree is another matter.

My wishes that will not come true:

RHR demoted (only because I think it genuinely deserves 2* and it would give the empire a kick up the arse)

The Waterside also demoted - nobody EVER talks about this place. For the gavroche 3* supporters - have you been to the Waterside and do you think it deserves 3*? I don't, based on last year's visit. I had a lovely time, beautiful setting, but the food isn't the top of the pile.

I might add, I have only been to le Gavroche for lunch. Great deal, fun place, but the food struck me as very watered down (from what I have seen on the dinner carte). The comments here suggest it really merits the full blown experience.

Leaving my wishes aside, predictions:

New 2*

Greenhouse

Hibiscus - not really new, but new location

New 1*

Wild Honey (if Arbutus got it, then why not WH? I like both restaurants, but don't think either is 1* standard. But consistency should dictate WH gets a star)

Anthony's - please finally?

Ducasse - if he got in there early enough, because of who he is

Aiden Byrne - nothing but praise, wasted in that room

Theo Randall - not based on my (disappointing) dinner but based on his track record?

Sake no Hana must be too late, and early reports are disappointing anyway.

Matt, Umu 2*? Based on personal opinion or consensus? My meal there was inconsistent and ordinary. Difficult to set the bar with Japanese cooking but nothing in my mind was 2*.

Tim, there is always bitching about Michelin, but the debate usually rages about a few outsiders in each category. On the whole, I think the majority of the (hundreds of) 1* restaurants would be accepted by most. Likewise, even with the 2*.

For me, the 3* award in England is the problem. The Waterside was nowhere near 3* for me. Ramsay used to be, it really did. I used to rave and rave about that place. But it no longers hits the mark, and michelin are always slow to recognise decline; it is far easier to gain than to lose. But following the moves in France (Taillevant etc) perhaps Michelin will get rough over here? The consumers deserve it.

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Haven't eaten at Anthony's in a year (jeez...), but some of Garry's reports early last year were suggesting they were accepting they wouldn't get a star and concentrating on other things. Anthony's at Flannels has a Bib which I'm starting to think shows places with more interesting cooking than (huge generalization) many of the one stars.

LCS and Petrus were meals of last year, both worthy two stars. Arbutus was nice, and is a regular when in thatLondon because I can eat on my own at the bar, but star material? Missed Sat Bains, menu too limited for food faddists, but waiting to return to L'Enclume in April for full-on two day experience.

One of the shining elements of LCS as I've said before was the lack of pomposity in the dining room, which added to the diners' experience but probably not to thir chances of getting a third.

Very pompous but with wonderful food is still the Dev Arms at Bolton Abbey, four rosettes, must be teetering on two*. And The Box Tree to lose their one, please (I say that every year).

Overton Grange in Ludlow did deserve one, though again didn't go last year...

Contrary to Camdan, I find the problem to be at the one* end (but then I don't eat in enough three*). THere's a standard of one* cooking that's obviously designed to hit the mark with the inspectors but which is basically unsatisfying. My most commonly used word to describe one* meals this year has been 'incoherent'. Places like Fischer's at Baslow throw the kitchen sink at every dish, a mess of flavours and jus and whatever. Can't help feeling many of them need the GR 'simplify the menu' treatment.

There was a good move forward last year of rewarding places where less 'Michelin-y' dining took place, but one wonders how long that will go on. And whether it would apply outside the smoke. The City Inn in Manchester provides every bit as good a meal as Arbutus, but its a) not in thatLondon and b) in a chain hotel. Likewise Heathcote's new Grado is great. Chances of them ever being rewarded? Less than zero.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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