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Time Out Eating and Drinking Awards


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Am I alone in finding this a bit odd in terms of being an overview of London's dining scene?

Best Pub

Best Bar

Best Gastropub

Best Family Restaurant

Best Chinese

Best Local Restaurant

Best Cheap Eats

Best Design

Best New Restaurant

Best Vegetarian

I compare it to Time Out NYs latest food issue that thrilled me and meant I ate 4 meals a day for the duration of my stay. I mean, Wagamama is in the top 50 here...

I always disagree with Time Out's food coverage (I was very surprised to see they hadn't managed to squeeze a prize for Song Que in, but then I noticed they'd popped an advert for them on the Chinese nominations page) but this spread has really perplexed me. I find it almost completely useless and really random. Why Chinese and not Italian? Why not do local by area? Why not devote more than 9 pages to it? (when you take away one page that is a horrible montage and three pages of advertising)

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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  • 2 years later...

This year's list.

http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/features/1823.html

Winners in bold, the runner's up below. Odd categories, some odd choices. Hope Yakitoria get a bit of business out of their mention. It deserves to to better.

Best Bar: Lost Society, 697 Wandsworth Rd, SW8 3JF

Annex 3, 6 Little Portland Street

Donovan Bar, Brown's Hotel, Albemarle Street

Gilgamesh, Camden Stables Market

Hawksmoor, 157 Commercial Street

Best Cheap Eat: The Table (Café), 83 Southwark St, SE1 0HX

fish! kitchen (Fish & chips), 58 Coombe Road,

Hummus Bros (Budget), 88 Wardour Street

Imli (Indian), 167-168 Wardour Street

Masa (Afghani), 24-26 Headstone Drive

Best Design: Yakitoria, 25 Sheldon Square, W2 6EY

Canteen (British), 2 Crispin Place

China Tang (Chinese), The Dorchester, Park Lane

Ladurée, Harrods, entrance on Hans Road,

The Table (Café), 83 Southwark Street

Best Gastropub: Marquess Tavern, 32 Canonbury St, N1 2TB

Charles Lamb, 16 Elia Street

Inn at Kew Gardens, 292 Sandycombe Road

Phoenix, 14 Palace Street

The Queen’s Pub and Dining Room, 26 Broadway Parade

Best Family Restaurant: Benihana , 100 Avenue Rd, NW3 3HF

Frankie’s Italian Bar & Grill, 224 Piccadilly

Inn the Park (British), St James's Park

Jo Shmo’s (North American), 33 High Street

Marco Polo (Italian), 6-7 Riverside Quarter

Best Local Restaurant: Sam’s Brasserie, 11 Barley Mow Passage, W4 4PH

Dylan’s (Mod Euro), 21 Station Parade, Cockfosters Road

Inside (Mod Euro), 19 Greenwich South Street

The Island (Mod Euro)123 College Road

Upstairs 89B Acre Lane

Best New Restaurant: Arbutus, 63-64 Frith St, W1D 3JW

Ambassador (Mod Euro) - 55 Exmouth Market

Bar Shu (Chinese) - 28 Frith Street

La Collina (Italian) - 17 Princess Road

Papillon (French) - 96 Draycott Avenue

Best Pâtisserie: Macaron, 22 The Pavement, SW4 0HY

Hummingbird, 133 Portobello Road

Ladurée, Harrods

The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly

Yauatcha, 15 Broadwick Street

Best Steak Restaurant: Gaucho Piccadilly, 25 Swallow St, W1B 4QR

Hawksmoor (North American), 157 Commercial Street

Notting Grill (British), Clarendon Road

Santa Maria del Buen Ayre (Argentinian), 50 Broadway Market, Hackney

Top Floor at Smiths (British), Smiths of Smithfield, 67-77 Charterhouse Street

Best Wine Bar: Vinoteca, 7 St John St, EC1M 4AA

Cellar Gascon, 59 West Smithfield

Green & Blue, 38 Lordship Lane

Vivat Bacchus, 47 Farringdon Street

Wine Wharf, Stoney Street, Borough Market

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yes, the list of categories - as I said two years ago! - always a bit random. feels like a selection of zagat "top tens" rather than a meaningful survey of the scene.

interest the press coverage (think it was evening standard) of the TO awards was bitching on about how there were not mich stars among the winners. well if you look at the selection you'll realise thats a self-fulfilling prophecy - there isn't a single category (with exception of Best New - wheres noisette?) where a mich star restaurant would qualify for consideration.

seems a bit wierd of the awards to disenfranchise the entire haute end of the london market!

still think the guide itself is the bees knees tho

ta

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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I never understand how the participants change from year to year.

for example: a restaurant is best - cheap eats/steak/wine/goat shagging whatever.

next year there is no mention, does this mean that:

a) they have slipped

b) the competition has eclipsed them so soon?

the results strike me as a bit random at times. ok, entirely random and often without any discernable basis ;)

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I never understand how the participants change from year to year.

I'd suggest that Time Out reviews are always heavily slanted towards new places because that's what the readers want to know about. It's a local listings magazine after all.

As a marketing tactic, the awards are a means of showing the world that TO is making discoveries and uncovering gems that you could know about first for a mere £3 cover charge. After all, if the design, kid-friendly, local and wine bar gongs were won by Hakkasan, Locanda Locatelli, Chez Bruce and Cork & Bottle respectively every year (as they probably should), who'd bother buying the magazine? Similarly, if the Booker gave the prize to Wuthering Heights every year (as it probably should) it would only serve to bore the readers and irritate the booksellers.

Perhaps it's best to consider TO as London's New and/or Most Improved awards, albeit with a tilt towards ethnic and prejudice against stars and tablecloths. (Again, I guess that comes down to the readership demographic.)

Edited by naebody (log)
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I never understand how the participants change from year to year.

I'd suggest that Time Out reviews are always heavily slanted towards new places because that's what the readers want to know about. It's a local listings magazine after all.

As a marketing tactic, the awards are a means of showing the world that TO is making discoveries and uncovering gems that you could know about first for a mere £3 cover charge. After all, if the design, kid-friendly, local and wine bar gongs were won by Hakkasan, Locanda Locatelli, Chez Bruce and Cork & Bottle respectively every year (as they probably should), who'd bother buying the magazine? Similarly, if the Booker gave the prize to Wuthering Heights every year (as it probably should) it would only serve to bore the readers and irritate the booksellers.

Perhaps it's best to consider TO as London's New and/or Most Improved awards, albeit with a tilt towards ethnic and prejudice against stars and tablecloths. (Again, I guess that comes down to the readership demographic.)

Of course I understand that is the way it functions, but it is not the way it 'claims' it functions. an important difference for me.

the booker corollary is invalid, because as a general rule a single piece of literature is more a single serving than a restaurant. As a result it is implicitly about new releases.

I would probably argue, though I probably should think some more about this, is that the awards are not marketed as a best of new releases because that is not what the market demands. The long lifespan of a successful restaurant effectively makes this redundant when the proposition is presented this way.

Say, I am looking for the best Chinese, I probably want the name Hakkasan to be somewhere in the frame as you suggest. that it is unlikely to be represented in this years awards, just says to me that this awards do not do what it says on the tin - and as such has limited use for me.

It's not the end of the world, and most locals probably understand this inflection in the way the awards are presented - but it is still based around what they, the publishers need, and not what the customers might expect or need.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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And there we have the essential, unspoken problem about Time Outs the world over: the presumption that progress equals improvement, and the new is automatically superior to the old.

I think it was Voltaire who said, "better is the enemy of good". (Sadly, he has also been passed over by the Booker judges so far. But he was certainly an invalid.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Best Wine Bar: Vinoteca, 7 St John St, EC1M 4AA

Cellar Gascon, 59 West Smithfield

Green & Blue, 38 Lordship Lane

Vivat Bacchus, 47 Farringdon Street

Wine Wharf, Stoney Street, Borough Market

The wine bar list looks pretty solid to me. I might give the "best title" to Wine Wharf but all in all pretty solid choices.

Stephen Bonner

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tried Imli for the first time recently. The food is actually better than the tag-line 'Indian food tapas-style' would suggest, though not so great that I'll be hurrying back. We began with papads which had a distinct air of Phileas Fogg poppadoms, with three fairly average chutneys. We then had: spiced potato cakes, bulgar bean salad, vegetable brochette on a spicy mushroom risotto, aubergine masala and matar paneer. On reflection the bulgar bean salad and the risotto were both excellent and all of the rest of the dishes were good, so I'm not quite sure why I fell so so-so about this place. It may be the relentless conceptual quality of everything there, from the tapas shtick, the modish decor, the silly-looking plates and the even sillier looking wine glasses. In the end this is just a pretty decent Indian restaurant with a few frills.

Other places I've tried recently for the first time include Paolina, a Thai cafe on King's Cross Road, and Mawar, a Malaysian basement joint on Edgware Road. Both are basic, cheap and pretty decent. Mawar is especially good because it's a really atmospheric, if scruffy, place with a popular cafeteria style section and a slightly more expensive restaurant area. Portions are generous and dishes with chilli much to be recommended. Both these places are BYO.

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