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Michelin Guide UK 2020: our predictions

Michelin Guide UK 2020: our predictions

by Great British Chefs 04 September 2019

On 7 October, the Michelin Guide for the UK and Ireland will be announced, bestowing new stars on what it deems the best restaurants in the UK. Take a look at our predictions to see who we think is in with a chance.

The movements, thoughts and decisions of the shadowy Michelin inspectors are always a bit of a mystery to those working in the restaurant industry. Every year, many of us question some of the decisions they make; why certain restaurants did or didn’t get a star, whether it really is just about the food, or if there are certain cuisines and styles of service they prefer over others.

That makes predicting which restaurants will receive a star pretty tough. There are always a few that are pretty much guaranteed to get one, but nothing is ever certain until the results are announced. The results for 2020 will be announced on 7 October 2019, but until then we can only make educated guesses as to which restaurants will move up the ranks or gain a new star. Here’s which ones we think deserve Michelin’s recognition.

Predicted new 3 Michelin star restaurants

There were no new three-star restaurants announced for last year’s Michelin Guide, which still baffles us a bit. We have no idea what the majority of the UK’s two-starred restaurants have to do to get the top accolade – in our eyes, they’re among the best restaurants in the world. If Michelin does decide to add a few more restaurants to its three-star roster, however, we think Restaurant Sat Bains, Midsummer House, Bibendum, L’Enclume and The Ledbury are in with the best chance. And despite only gaining their second stars last year, the likes of Moor Hall and Core are clearly working at a three-star level; although they may have to wait a few years before Michelin makes it official.

Predicted new 2 Michelin star restaurants

This is always a tough one to guess, as there are so many one-star restaurants in the UK pushing for that second star – which ones actually make the leap is down to the unknown decision-making of the Michelin inspectors. Our best guesses are as follows:

Endo at The Rotunda, London

This is a bit of a punt, as getting a table at this sixteen-seat restaurant is all but impossible, but it looks all but certain that this temple to fine Japanese dining will gain at least one star. The past few years have seen Clare Smyth and Claude Bosi leapfrog the first star and go straight into the guide with two, and given Michelin’s penchant for world-class sushi, it wouldn’t surprise us if chef Endo Kazutoshi managed to do the same.

The Clove Club, London

Isaac Mchale’s modern British restaurant in Shoreditch has been the darling of The World’s 50 Best for a while now, and no matter what you think about the awards, it’s clear there is some fabulous cooking going on. Could this be the year The Clove Club makes it into the two-star club?

Ynyshir, Powys

We tipped Gareth Ward’s Ynyshir to gain a second star last year, and were pretty surprised when it didn’t make the cut. The remote Welsh restaurant serves a succession of bold, in-your-face bitesize courses that celebrate Gareth’s amazing aged meats, Japanese-inspired dressings and the very finest ingredients. The dining space and rooms have been updated since last year’s Michelin announcement – could that be enough to convince the inspectors that Ynyshir is home to some of the most groundbreaking food in the UK right now?

Predicted new 1 Michelin star restaurants

This is where things get a little easier in terms of predicting – with so many new restaurants opening over the past twelve months and more established ones really hitting their stride, there are plenty of places for the Michelin inspectors to bestow their stars upon.

Adam Reid at The French, Manchester

After his success on Great British Menu, Adam Reid has proved himself to be a top-notch chef. Much has been written about Manchester’s lack of a Michelin-starred restaurant (not that it actually matters to most Mancunians); if anyone is going to change that this year, it’s either Adam Reid at The French or Mana (see below).

Alchemilla, Nottingham

Ex-Sat Bains chef Alex Bond has come into his own at his own restaurant on the edge of Nottingham city centre. Serving dishes that are distinctly more plant-focused than the average fine dining restaurant, this may be Alex’s year – especially as he was named Chef to Watch by the 2019 Good Food Guide.

Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall

Tom Adams’ little farmhouse in the South West is a bit of a foodie mecca, and it would be no surprise if it wins a Michelin star for its simple menus which celebrate the very best ingredients the UK has to offer.

Cornerstone, London

Many were surprised when Tom Brown’s solo debut Cornerstone didn’t make the Guide last year, but since then his food has just got better and better. The casual dining room surrounds an open kitchen which sends out fish-focused small plates that are both perfectly cooked and incredibly imaginative. While Tom’s brown shrimp crumpets and octopus charcuterie sets Instagram alight, the consistently great cooking makes Cornerstone one of the most likely restaurants to gain a star this year.

Da Terra, London

This modern, sort-of-Latin-American restaurant has been quietly delighting diners since it opened at the beginning of 2019. With Paulo Airaudo and Rafael Cagali – two incredibly good chefs who have worked at the likes of The Fat Duck and Aulis – at the helm, they certainly know what it takes to make it into the Guide.

Edinbane Lodge, Isle of Skye

Local chef Calum Montgomery currently mans the pass at Edinbane Lodge, serving plates of food which celebrate the incredible ingredients of Skye. This little island has been home to all sorts of Michelin-starred restaurants over the years, and the quality of the food at Edinbane Lodge could certainly continue that tradition.

Frog by Adam Handling, London

Adam Handling is a prolific restaurateur, knowing exactly what people want from his various sites across London. His flagship restaurant Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden, however, is where you’ll find the best examples of his playful, internationally inspired cooking. We see no reason why he doesn’t deserve a star this year.

Inver, Argyll & Bute

Pam Brunton’s restaurant on the shores of Loch Fyne serves dishes made from hyper-local Scottish ingredients with some incredible views to match. While the presentation of the dishes is perhaps a little more casual and rustic than what Michelin usually go for, if the inspectors really do only focus on the food then Pam’s incredible dishes will have certainly caught their attention.

Jöro, Sheffield

Luke French’s food is some of the most exciting in the UK, with small plates focused on innovative combinations which showcase some seriously accomplished cooking. It’s certainly more casual than the usual Michelin fodder, but we think it might make the cut.

Kutir, London

He’s done it twice before, but chef Rohit Ghai’s latest restaurant is his own and all-but-guaranteed to give him a hat-trick of Michelin stars. The beautiful Indian cuisine on offer elevates simple regional dishes, inspired by the hunting lodges of India. Located in a little townhouse with top-level service, we’d be very surprised if Kutir doesn’t get a star.

Le Cochon Aveugle, York

York has a seriously enviable food scene at the moment thanks to restaurants like Le Cochon Aveugle – a restaurant serving regularly changing small plates rooted in classical French technique. Chef Josh Overington is obviously an incredible talent, and we think it’s highly likely Michelin will grant him his first star.

Mana, Manchester

The tasting menu at Mana has been championed by a good few national critics, and along with Adam Reid at The French (see above) it's quite possible that it will be responsible for giving Manchester its first Michelin-starred restaurant in years. Focusing on British produce served in a distinct, beautiful and contemporary way, Mana certainly proves that there's an appetite for this sort of dining in the city.

Mãos, London

Nuno Mendes has returned to his supper club roots with Mãos, a sixteen-seater restaurant shrouded in mystery. The tasting menu is influenced by European cooking but showcases Nuno’s inimitable style, taking inspiration from all over the world. As long as the inspectors were able to secure a seat at the restaurant, we’re convinced a star will be heading Nuno’s way very soon.

Mere, London

Monica Galetti opened Mere back in 2017, but it seems to have really hit its stride in the past year. After rocketing into the top ten at the National Restaurant Awards, Monica and her sommelier husband David have ensured their relaxed, contemporary restaurant offers some of the finest dishes in London. Full of classical French influences, there are also nods to South Pacific cookery, which sets it apart from other restaurants in the capital.

Palé Hall, Gwynedd

A classic country house hotel setup, Palé Hall’s restaurant matches the beautiful rooms and grounds. Chef Gareth Stevenson worked with Michael Caines to create the menu, which focuses on north Welsh produce above all else.

Pensons, Worcestershire

After chef Lee Westcott left The Typing Room in London he headed to Pensons, a remote countryside restaurant at The Netherwood Estate on the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border. Showcasing ingredients grown on the estate in some seriously beautiful dishes, we’d be surprised if Lee doesn’t receive a Michelin star in the next few years.

Restaurant Hjem, Northumberland

This minimalist restaurant in the far northern reaches of England sees local produce cooked by a Swedish chef, with plenty of New Nordic cookery on show. It’s only been open since May, which may mean it misses out on a star this year, but restaurants have done it in less and it has had nothing but rave reviews thanks to its clean, crisp, modern menu.

Roux at Parliament Square, London

This stalwart of the London food scene has been going for years, but head chef Steve Groves has really refined and pushed the menu recently – and we hope he gets some well-deserved recognition for it. The dishes are distinctly classical and French, but with plenty of modern touches, and service is old-fashioned but unstuffy.

The Angel at Hetton, Yorkshire

Michael Wignall’s gastropub in the heart of the North Yorkshire Dales has been open for about a year now, and while it was billed as a more relaxed, casual food offering than Michael’s two-starred cuisine previously, it’s still complex, accomplished and groundbreaking. The chef has huge plans for the site, including opening an additional restaurant called Cove which focuses on fine dining, but a look at The Angel’s Instagram feed proves this isn’t your average pub grub.

The Laughing Heart, London

Tom Anglesea’s cooking has gained a cult following at The Laughing Heart, which serves up fun, playful dishes which draw inspiration from all over the world. After winning Great British Menu earlier this year, a Michelin star could be the next step.

The Parkers Arms, Lancashire

You couldn’t ask for a better example of a high-end gastropub than The Parkers Arms. Nestled in a little village in the beautiful Lancastrian countryside, the menu is a celebration of local produce cooked with serious passion by chef Stosie Madi (who covers the kitchen almost entirely by herself). While it’s certainly not the type of place to chase Michelin stars, the cooking is exceptional.

The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye

Why The Three Chimneys doesn’t already have a Michelin star we’ll never know. Chef Scott Davies’ cooking is world-class, taking Skye’s enviable produce and distilling it into Nordic-influenced plates of food you simply can’t find anywhere else. Along with Edinbane Lodge mentioned above, could the little Scottish island gain two new starred restaurants this year?

The Wilderness, Birmingham

Michelin-starred restaurants such as The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds prove you can be a bit rock and roll yet still serve incredible, boundary-pushing plates of food. The Wilderness, which serves dishes with names like ‘Oh Bollocks’ and ‘Big Mac’, is such a restaurant, and one of the most exciting places to eat in Birmingham.

Thompson’s, Isle of Wight

Robert Thompson has won Michelin stars in the past, and this year we think it’s high time he returned to the Guide with his own restaurant on the Isle of Wight. The relaxed dining room is always full of locals, and the food on offer is familiar yet creative.

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