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UK Michelin Ratings for 2008


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This month, having eaten in both Michael Deane's 1* [eponymous] restaurant in Belfast and the newly appointed 'Bib joint' in Warrenpoint, which incidentally is not for the fainthearted if you're in anyway English, I have to profess that McCardle's food at Restaurant 23 far surpasses anything that Deane provided/cooked up/overcharged us for.

C'est la vie, I guess, It's not what you know, but who.

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I have to profess that McCardle's food at Restaurant 23 far surpasses anything that Deane provided/cooked up/overcharged us for.

Raymond McCardle is still at the Nuremore as well though isn't he, or is their website out of date?

Restaurant 23 is owned by Raymond McArdle and his wife Andrea, but he’s not cooking there (yes, he’s still at the Nuremore). The head chef is 26 year-old, Pétrus-trained Trevor Cunningham. The price/quality ratio is spot on and the intention was very much to get a Bib Gourmand. It’s modern bistro cooking but they’ve also introduced a completely separate fish menu - 23 at Sea – making the most of the local catch from the harbours in Kilkeel and Clogherhead.

McArdle also co-owns (with the Gilhooly family of the Nuremore) Rosso Restaurant in Dundalk. Cooking here is under local man Conor Mee and the concept is very much along the same lines. I haven’t been to either but have heard very good reports. McArdle freely admits that he’s following the Ramsay model.

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Nathan Outlaw

I had luch here earlier this year - really was blown away - posted on here

I think he has a real grasp of flavour combinations and his own style - far from cooking by numbers as a previous poster said. Fruit with savoury, pickling all feature. It's kind of like it tastes great but you don't know how he does it. Clever without being pretentious.

No surprise for me.

Pasty

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For some reason my original post didn't come up.  So, La Trompette finally got its star - I'm sure Nigel will be pleased!  Surprised that certaint restaurants such as the glasshouse in Kew didn't loose their stars.  Pity that Foliage and LCS did not make it to the next level.

Whislt it was expected and I like it as a restaurant, it still vexes me that Wild Honey got a star - it just does not feel like a michelin starred place on any level - it is a very pleasant restaurant, but really...still, since it is so similar to Arbutus, not to have given them one would have looked very odd!

Agreed, and then some. There's no way on earth a nice little bistro like Wild Honey can be rated the same level as Foliage.

Remember that a michelin star means "a very good restaurant in its category".

I think we can take for granted that Arbutus wouldn't be in the same "category" as Foliage. Unfortunately, it's not a simple case of comparing one star restaurants with each other, perhaps Michelin need to define categories as well?

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

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I don't mind that Michelin has different catagories of cuisine and ambience (it's great that Arbutus has a buzz) but all of its starred restaurants should have over riding features. IMO these should be very good food (no matter what style it is), a good drinks list and accomplished PROFESSIONAL service. Unfortunately as mentioned in my review of Arbutus today it is on this last feature that it fails, badly! Also I would argue that Michelin starred establishments should not be focussed on table turnaround which again I had the feeling of yesterday at Arbutus. And be consistent - Arbutus gets a star, then why not Galvin Bistro!!!

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a good drinks list and accomplished PROFESSIONAL service.

I suppose it can be argued that these are basic necessities for the proper judgement and appreciation of "what's on the plate", and hence pre-requisites of a food based rating, just like the plate itself...

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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I am completely gutted that Fraiche in Wirral did not get a star. He works incredibly hard and produces fantastic food and is a real asset to our region.

I would rather eat there then certain other restaurants that do have a star!

Do i detect a southern bias yet again?

Is this your mum Marc?

I am allergic to trumpets, could i get trombone cream instead with the pork crisps?! :raz:

Matt Christmas.

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I don't mind that Michelin has different catagories of cuisine and ambience (it's great that Arbutus has a buzz) but all of its starred restaurants should have over riding features. IMO these should be very good food (no matter what style it is), a good drinks list and accomplished PROFESSIONAL service. Unfortunately as mentioned in my review of Arbutus today it is on this last feature that it fails, badly! Also I would argue that Michelin starred establishments should not be focussed on table turnaround which again I had the feeling of yesterday at Arbutus. And be consistent - Arbutus gets a star, then why not Galvin Bistro!!!

Unfortunately you are applying your own criteria which is giving you a skewed version of a michelin star. Michelin do not rate service under the stars, this comes under the fork and spoons awarded. you'll find plenty of luxurious country homes with superb service carrying for or five f&s's and no Michelin star, just as you'll find plenty of michelin starred restaurants with lower ratings for service. One does not necessarily correlate with the other

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

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I don't mind that Michelin has different catagories of cuisine and ambience (it's great that Arbutus has a buzz) but all of its starred restaurants should have over riding features. IMO these should be very good food (no matter what style it is), a good drinks list and accomplished PROFESSIONAL service. Unfortunately as mentioned in my review of Arbutus today it is on this last feature that it fails, badly! Also I would argue that Michelin starred establishments should not be focussed on table turnaround which again I had the feeling of yesterday at Arbutus. And be consistent - Arbutus gets a star, then why not Galvin Bistro!!!

Unfortunately you are applying your own criteria which is giving you a skewed version of a michelin star. Michelin do not rate service under the stars, this comes under the fork and spoons awarded. you'll find plenty of luxurious country homes with superb service carrying for or five f&s's and no Michelin star, just as you'll find plenty of michelin starred restaurants with lower ratings for service. One does not necessarily correlate with the other

Hmmmm, so we're saying that if AD in Monaco or L'Arpege had aweful/no service with an hour long wait for food per course then as long as the food was sublime when it turned up then they would still have 3 stars? Me thinks not... :hmmm:

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Hmmmm, so we're saying that if AD in Monaco or L'Arpege had aweful/no service with an hour long wait for food per course then as long as the food was sublime when it turned up then they would still have 3 stars? Me thinks not...  :hmmm:

I believe the "on the plate" restriction does not apply to 3*. see also my comment above.

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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Michelin do not rate service under the stars, this comes under the fork and spoons awarded. you'll find plenty of luxurious country homes with superb service carrying for or five f&s's and no Michelin star, just as you'll find plenty of michelin starred restaurants with lower ratings for service. One does not necessarily correlate with the other

I hear what you are saying Matthew, and in theory I would agree that this is the Michelin's espoused criteria for Michelin stars, however I only need to look at LCS where it is often commented that it is the front of house that holds it back from the third star that makes me question this.

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of both Wild Honey and Arbutus, but I just do not believe they are Michelin quality. There are plenty of other similar styled bistros that are at least as good or indeed better that have received no stars at all. I can't help feeling that Michelin were desperately looking for somewhere that would demonstrate that they were able to look outside of the stereotypical haute cuisine model to award a star to try to stem some of the negative vices that have been reverberating about the guide and it being behind the times. I will continue to eat at both Arbutus and Wild Honey but just can't see them as Michelin Starred or best in breed within their category.

Edited by ravelda (log)

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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Surely Michelin demonstrated that they weren't only looking at haute places when they started giving pubs, Indian restaurants and Chinese restaurants Michelin stars? I think it is simply a natural progression that fits in with the popular dining styles of the day (though given that there are no Fish and Chip restaurants with a star I may be wrong :laugh: )

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

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Surely Michelin is either an authority, in which case if it says x deserves/doesn't deserve stars then it does/doesn't; or, on the other hand it is not an authority, in which case it hardly matters to whom they give/don't give their stars.

Most of the recent comments here seem to be saying Michelin is an authority except when it isn't, and that is does matter who gets stars except when they don't :wacko: .

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I hear what you are saying Matthew, and in theory I would agree that this is the Michelin's espoused criteria for Michelin stars, however I only need to look at LCS where it is often commented that it is the front of house that holds it back from the third star that makes me question this.

As Andy reminded us recently, Derek Bulmer participated in an eGullet Q&A a couple of years ago where he said:

What about front of house in the awarding of Michelin Stars?

At the one and two star level it is solely about the food on the plate and we make a particular point of stating in the guide “beware of comparing the star given to an expensive <de luxe> establishment to that of a simple restaurant where you can appreciate fine cooking at a reasonable price - The knives and forks will reflect the comfort or style of the restaurant. Our definition of three stars remains inclusive of the words “fine wines, faultless service, elegant surroundings.” which indicates that at this level we look for all round excellence.

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Thanks for that Stephen, as I said, I understand that this is the espoused practice by Michelin, but in my view this is not always reflected in practice. In addition, whilst I think the food at Wild Honey and arbutus (an others in the list who, IMHO don't deserve a star, I don't want these two to be singled out as scape goats) is generally very good, I would not class it as "fine cooking at a reasonable price". Sure, some of the dishes are excellent, some very below par, and whilst the prices are acceptable, I could list a handful of paces offering the same and better quality for similar prices.

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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Similar in a stylistic sense, i.e. utilising cheaper cuts with skill to create good bistro food - Great Queen Street and Magdalen would be the first two that come to mind for me, and I at least think they are on a par with Magdalen ahead in my mind. Also Hereford road. Then in the same price bracket there are plenty offering more refined cooking with premium produce. I know you have a personal connection with Demetre and Smith Matt, and don't get me wrong, I am not knocking what they do - quite the opposite, I think their two restaurants are great additions to the London dining scene, however I question why they have been signalled out above the rest and still maintain that I don't believe they deserve a star.

I am certainly not the first to make this point and I'm pretty certain that I wont be the last. At the end of the day Michelin have deemed them worthy and that is that, nothing I nor anyone else says will change that fact.

Edited by ravelda (log)

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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If Michelin use the same criteria from country to country, (Bulmer leads us to believe this is the case) why is it only in the UK restaurants in the "bistro" category, at this kind of price point, are receiving stars?

Perhaps France is yet to create a bistro culture. :laugh:

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It'll catch on there soon Scott, mark my words.

As for "complicated", I doubt that Anthony Demetre would describe the food he cooks at Arbutus as just as "complicated" as the food he cooked at Putney Bridge.

In fact, in an interview a while back, he said: "Because the food is a lot simpler than at Putney Bridge, we're up to speed in the kitchen and we can serve three courses easily within the hour."

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I posted this before, but it got whisked off to the France forum:

The problem with introducing "bistro food" (or whatever you want to call it) as a "category", is that it is essentially simplified (edited from "dumbed down uncomplicated" to avoid causing offence) French food.

So you will have two restaurants, both grounded in French technique, both with a star, but vastly different in quality of innovation/ingredient/technique (eg arbutus v tom aikens). The fact that one is cheaper than the other should make no difference - as far as michelin are concerned, that is what the bib gourmand is there for.

This is different from having chinese or indian as a category - the best in those category really are the best of that kind of cuisine, and there is no dumbing down involved. In fact, they can be quite sophisticated - Hakkasan, Rasoi, Nobu etc

I suppose bistros are not to blame - perhaps this all started when gastropubs were awarded a star.

So yes, you can create a new category and defend a star on the basis that the restaurant is the best in it, but the more new categories you create, the further you get from the quality people expect from a starred restaurant.

Of course, "chippies" will never be such a category, which shows that the line has to be drawn somewhere, but I find it difficult to view categories like "bistro" (and therefore the restaurants therein) as true "michelin" restaurants.

I for one applaud the current trend in London dining. But for those who use michelin as their benchmark, and who perhaps aren't used to the London scene, will find the level of sophistication they find at Arbutus/Wild Honey quite a shock.

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