Michelin Guide 2023: Alex Dilling and Brett Graham win two coveted stars
London has been somewhat overlooked this year as the 2023 UK and Ireland Michelin Guide was announced today. Out of 20 newly crowned one-starred restaurants only four were awarded in London, however Brett Graham of The Ledbury and Alex Dilling at the Café Royal were each awarded two stars.
Despite a lot of positive openings in the past 12 months and considerable build-up, London was awarded just four new one-Michelin-star restaurants. These were Cycene, headed by Theo Clench – which took over the formerly Michelin-starred site Maos – St Bart’s, the sister restaurant to the well-regarded Fenn and Nest; Taku the omakase Japanese restaurant in Mayfair from chef Takuya Watanabe; and Luca, the Italian sister restaurant of the already two-starred Clove Club.
It was a positive night for the south-west of England, though, which saw new Green Stars for Le Gavroche alumnus, London-born chef Dan Cox at his restaurant Crocadon, while Culture in Falmouth was rewarded for its sustainability. Elsewhere in the South West, Acleaf was awarded one Michelin star as was Gidleigh Park, which regained the star it lost in 2019.
It was a good night for London-based Chantelle Nicholson, whose latest restaurant Apricity followed in the footsteps of her last venture Tredwells, receiving a Michelin Green Star for its work on sustainability. Michelin noted of the Green Star winners: “while each of these restaurants has its own unique approach and initiatives, they all share a common ambition to put eco-responsibility at the heart of their operation.”
London fared well in the drinks awards on the night. Of the two nods, the sommelier award recipient was Tara Ozols, head sommelier at the one-starred SoLa in London’s Soho and, for the first time, an award recognising achievement in cocktails was presented to head bartender at Mayfair’s Park Chinois: Makis Kazakis.
Edinburgh also achieved in the awards. The Scottish capital had two newly crowned one-star restaurants: Timberyard and Heron, Michelin noting of the former: “[Timberyard] has found the ideal chef for its kitchen – the food is restrained yet perfectly balanced and satisfying”.
The two-star category only saw three new additions to the guide for the UK and Ireland, two of which were in London. Brett Graham returned to the guide, reclaiming two stars, an achievement he’d hoped to win back since re-opening The Ledbury in 2022. He closed the popular fine-dining Notting Hill restaurant at the start of the pandemic and, now reinstated as a two-star, the restaurant further solidifies the affluent W11 neighbourhood as one of the most exciting places to eat in the capital.
Elsewhere, Alex Dilling did as many expected and received a well-deserved gong for his eponymous restaurant; Alex Dilling at the Café Royal. The intimate 34-cover restaurant focuses on the highest of high-end luxury and offers a 10-course menu at £175 per person (for now). The guide said of the restaurant: “Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal goes straight into the Guide with two Michelin stars, thanks to the exceptionally accomplished cooking of this most talented of chefs.”
The ceremony was perhaps not as star-studded as many had hoped, and some close watchers of Michelin may feel a number of London restaurants were perhaps overlooked for a star, with only four of the previously announced 20 Bib Gourmands awarded in the capital.
The new additions to the London Green Star, Bib Gourmands and Michelin Stars can be found here
The full list of London one, two and three starred restaurants can be found here