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Favorite Meals of 2012 (UK)


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1. Gilles Goujon (Auberge du Vieux Puits)

2. The Ledbury (July meal particularly memorable from 4 visits)

3. Le Chateaubriand

4. Le Cinq

5. Nathan Outlaw

6. Hand and Flowers

7. Le Champignon Sauvage

8. Sushi Tetsu

9. Medlar

10.Dabbous (tempted not to include it but the good dishes were very good)

Other favourite meals: Hawksmoor (multiple times), Bandol (Berlin), Sushi of Shiori, Pitt Cue, Roka, Trullo, Zucca, Porcao (Rio), Tayyabs, Moro, Nobu, Paul Ainsworth (though patchy), Gero (Rio).

Notable disappointments: Olympe (Rio), Vau (Berlin), The Seafood Restaurant (Padstow), Zuka (Rio).

"London 2012 - Year of the Hamburger" Award: Hawksmoor. Ahead of Goodman, Burger & Lobster and honourable mention for Byron which is impressively good for a chain. MeatLiquor gets a "could try harder" for letting quality slip.

"London 2012 - Also Year of Ramen" Award: Tonkotsu. Ahead of Shoryu and Bone Daddies.

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Thanks for keeping up the honourable tradition. For me, in no particular order:

1) Malga Panna (Trento, Italy)

2) Koffman's (London)

3) The Kitchin (Edinburgh)

4) One O One (London)

5) Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)

6) The Ledbury (London)

7) Medlar (London)

8) The Peat inn (St Andrews, Fife)

9) Locanda Margon (Trento, Italy)

10) Consorzio (Turin, Italy)

At La Reserva 12 (Malaga) I had the freshest fish and fantastic Iberico and Manchego, a truly memorable experience that can probably be replicated in many other simple places in Spain, but for me it just happened to be there.

In Berlin I, too, had the disappointment of the year at Facil. Are Berlin starred restaurants overrated?

For me much restaurant action takes place in December, so this list is provisional: places that still have a chance to enter the top 10 are Helene Darroze, Apsleys, Cinnamon Club, Koffman's (ah no he's already there), Arbutus.

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As always really difficult and will need some serious thought but for me the stand out meals this year were the Ledbury, Sat Bains, Hawksmoor, Rubens (Franschhoek) and (of course) Dabbous.

I'll give it some more serious thought, check my diary and come back with a more considered (and longer) list.


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In no particular order

Al Pont De Ferr (Milan) Sat out on the canalside. Some interesting ideas and tasty food.

The Ledbury. A number of very good meals. My favourite.

Sra Bua (Bangkok) A refined take on Thai food.

The Ritz. Perfect family celebration venue. Good food, Grand room, horrific wine prices.

Fraiche. Menu black and regular tasting both very good.

Alyn Williams. One of the first of the year and a spur of the moment trip to London. The truffle egg dish was excellent but all was enjoyable.

Cracco (Milan). Fantastic food. A bit lacking in atmosphere and pricey but good.

The Square. A very greedy lunch.

Hedone. Looking forward to returning here some time next year. There seemed to be more kitchen staff than on my first visit. Should get better and better.

The Nut Tree. Perfect summer day in the garden (not many of those), good beer, innexpensive wine and very good food.

There may have been a couple of others worth a mention but these will do for now.


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Here is my Top 10, with the Top 5 being truly outstanding:

1. Michel Bras (Laguoile, France)

2. Oud Sluis (Sluis, Netherlands)

3. Troisgros (Roanne, France)

4. Ledbury

5. In de Wulf (Dranouter, Belgium)

6. Gordon Ramsay RHR

7. Brindillas (Mendoza - ex Sant Pau chef)

8. Sushi Tetsu

9. Dinner by Heston

10. Sushi of Shiori

Disappointments: Louis XV (Monaco)

And I am generally loving London's mid end places: Zucca, Trullo, Jose, Hawksmoor, Bone Daddies have all been great places to eat this year

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I think Andy Hayler's report and photos on GRRHR from a few weeks ago spoke volumes Putty Man. It appears to have more to do with Clare Smyth pushing things forward than any Ramsey heritage. Fair play to her. As AH highlights, the presentation really seems to have gone up a notch.

I've never been excited about going there in the past, but I have a real yearning now...

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1. Au Pied Du Cochon, Montreal - I couldn't think about foie for weeks after dinner here with 6 good friends. The best "down and dirty" over-indulgence of all time.

2. Empellon Cocina, New York - Alex Stupak is a genius. It's Mexican, but like never before.

3. WD-50, New York - After my stage through the month of April, Wylie was kind enough to invite me to have a specially crafted tasting of new and classics (this was just before they changed the menu and format, and I had actually worked on helping develop some of the dishes, so it was great to see the other side of the process).

4. Momofuku Ssam, New York - Probably my favourite restaurant in the world, I went here for lunch and dinner a lot in the month and a bit I lived in NYC, it's the sort of food that cooks love to eat when they head out.

5. Acadia, Toronto - Super refined yet edgy modern food, the restaurant hasn't skipped a beat since Matt Blondin headed to Momofuku TO.

6. The Black Hoof, Toronto - The original Toronto hipster Charcuterie heaven, I went with three friends and ate the menu. Foie with nutella, chicken liver pate with hot caramelised onions and sourdough, horse tartare ... so good.

7. Momofuku Ko, New York - Luckily scored a same day reservation for one back in April. I loved the refined simplicity. And that egg, Jesus Christ.

Couldn't get to ten sadly, lack of funds being a major factor, but those meals I remember very fondly, and will continue to think about for some time to come.


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Nice to see Ramsay in this list. Was GR@RHR last month and, it pains me to this, it was outstanding.

I went with my sister a few years ago, and it was flawless, if a little boring. Glad to hear it's finally catching up to the rest of the fine dining world.

Ramsay himself however, seems to have jumped the shark long ago.


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No particular order but all very, very, very good

The Pointe, Harare - Plastic chairs and a cheap table cloth and a security fence topped with broken bottles. The Portuguese fare was very simple but very well executed. One of the few places I encountered that serves beef as rare as you order it. The crumbed mushrooms were brilliant, avoiding the usual pitfall of greasy soggy sadness. 2M, from over the border, was the best beer I had in country. If only the supermarkets there (and, shit, here) stocked more beer from Mozambique.

Attica, Melbourne - Second visit and exceptional, maybe even moreso, as the first time round. I think this is the best restaurant in Melbourne. It's up there, easily, with Australia's best restaurants (of which Sydney's Marque would have to be near the very top--there's a reason these two are in that San Pellegrino Top 100 list). I think that reviews and publicity overstate the foraging thing. Yes, there's a bit of that, but this isn't Rene Redzepi's kitchen. Mostly the dishes are just well executed, with the odd element here or there coming from a laneway or the beach or wherever.

Cutler & Co, Melbourne - Another of Melbourne's great restaurants. This one, sadly, doesn't make the Top 100, altho' if the list had a more SE Asian/Oceanic focus then I expect it would. If you're down here for a weekend, say, I'd probably go for this and Attica. Two very different restaurants serving very different food--Cutler's fare is well-presented but rather simple--but both equally good, in my books.

The Royal Mail Hotel, rural Victoria - Yes, that one that Anthony Bourdain visited in No Reservations. Not as good as Attica or Cutler but still a very nice meal. The dishes range from the rather elaborate, involving all sorts of fun modernist techniques, to the surprisingly 'basic': a very fresh piece of fish poached to perfection, for instance, with not much else. Not every dish was a winner but, still, a great meal. And Bourdain wasn't making things up: it's so odd to find a restaurant like that in a town like Dunkeld.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org


I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Disappointing to see comparitively few UK/Ireland restaurants in this UK/Ireland thread.

Alderley Restaurant, Alderley Edge

Aumbry, Prestwich

Fraiche, Oxton

Ledbury, London

L'Enclume, Cartmel

Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Oxfordshire

Middle Kingdom, Manchester

Northcote, Langho

Tanroagan, Douglas

Waterside Inn, Bray

John Hartley

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Here's my top 5 with a couple of 'mentions':

1. The Ledbury - my first visit here and was well worth the wait and lived up to the hype.

2. Sat Bains - I've been here a few times and it never disappoints. Occasionally something I don't like turns up but even with those you recognise the skill and expertise and realise it is just a matter of taste. Service always excellent.

3. Gordon Ramsay RHR - I know it is not fashionable to like it (or him!) but turns out top quality food.

4. Galvin at Windows - ok the view is amazing and that helps but each time I have been there the food is top draw.

5. Dubbous - forget the hype the food is actually very good!

For plain simple steak Hawksmoor never disappoints but can't make the top 5 as it is only grilled meat :wink:

In terms of overseas Rubens in South Africa gets this year's award.


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Disappointing to see comparitively few UK/Ireland restaurants in this UK/Ireland thread.

Quite right too! My all UK list then (again in no special order):

1) Drover's inn (Memus, Angus)

2) Koffman's (London)

3) The Kitchin (Edinburgh)

4) One O One (London)

5) Apsleys (London)

6) The Ledbury (London)

7) Medlar (London)

8) The Peat inn (St Andrews, Fife)

9) Martin Wishart (Edinburgh)

10) Helene Darroze (London)

The weakest of the 10 was at Darroze, it was not a uniformly good meal even though it had pinnacles. I also tried Alyn Williams this year but wasn't so impressed as others. Drover's Inn is just a humble Scottish pub, but with the quality and freshness of ingredients, cooked perfectly, that I enjoyed on my visit(s), for me it merits to be in the list of favourite meals together with the more illustrious colleagues.

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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.

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Dustbuddy - interesting to see another mentin for Gilles Goujon. Not a place that usually gets much attention on-line but well worth its 3* status and strikes a nice balance between the old and new.

My UK only list would be:

1. The Ledbury

2. Nathan Outlaw

3. Hand and Flowers

4. Le Champignon Sauvage

5. Sushi Tetsu

6. Dabbous

7. Castle Terrace

8. Sushi of Shiori

9. Yorke Arms

10. Paul Ainsworth @ No.6

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Disappointing to see comparitively few UK/Ireland restaurants in this UK/

Agree on the ones with no UK restaurants at all, but I find it very interesting seeing the relative ranking of UK and non-UK places in the list. Helps give a little perspective.

Sadly, not eaten in the UK since New Year's Day and that was at my sisters so may not count. But if I stretched the point to include just before Christmas I think the Ledbury would be close to the top of my list. Manressa near San Francisco would be up there, as would The Four in Hand in Sydney (an Irish chef so relevant to the board), Cumulus & Co in Melbourne and Robuchon in Macau (which had great food but in an odd room) and TBLS in HK which became a regular haunt.

For those that miss Shane Osbourne from his days at Pied à Terre I am glad to report he is delivering some superb food in HK - London's loss is our gain despite it being an odd format Alan Yau restaurant. I think if he tames the venue he could be a contender for my list next year.

Overall though not a great year for good food, in total we ate at over a hundred different places and many of the better meals were mid-priced simple places, a good curry, seafood on the beach, interesting Mexican, great dim sum. Could this be because we didn't get to Europe and thus missed out on where the action really is?

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Hi All

Its been a while, but heres my 10 in no particular order-Martin Wisharts and Galvins probably top 2, closely followed by Pollen St and Darozze

1.Galvin at Windows

2.Martin Wishart-Had the lunch menu but the execution was the best of the year, absolutly perfect

3.Pollen Street

4.Helene Darozze

5.Nobu-Park Lane and Berkley St on a par with each other



8.Medlar- Food great-Service amazing



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