As Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant Magazine and our host for the evening, emphasised at the very start of the night the National Restaurant Awards aim to represent all aspects of the British culinary scene - the old, the new and the different. Winners are voted for by industry professionals - chefs, critics and restaurateurs alike - with the only stipulation on nominations being that the person voting must have dined that restaurant within the last twelve months. Such fluid criteria always results in a fascinating run down of restaurants, all of whom offer a unique and impressive dining experience whether it be with white tables cloths in the country’s capital or on driftwood decks along the shores of Cornwall.
In addition to the top 100 countdown, there are a number of key awards that recognise outstanding performance in certain areas. Paul Ainsworth's No.6 in Padstow was recognised for the superb service of its front of house staff, while Bruno Loubet's Grainstore won for most sustainable restaurant, an award backed by the Sustainable Restaurant Association and bound to be a source of pride for the chef given his dedication to ethical eating.
Nuno Mendes and his team scooped two awards across as many restaurants, with the Chiltern Firehouse being recognised for Best Cocktail List and his latest venture, Portuguese diner Tabernado do Marcado, being tipped as Restaurant Magazine’s One to Watch.