National Restaurant Awards 2013
National Restaurant Awards: Hand & Flowers takes 2013 title
The Hand & Flowers, Tom Kerridge's pub-restaurant in Marlow, has been voted the UK's best restaurant at the 2013 National Restaurant Awards, snatching top spot from The Ledbury, which held the title for three years.
A jubilant Kerridge and his wife Beth took to the stage at The Brewery in Chiswell Street, London, to collect their award from guest of honour Joan Roca of Spain's El Celler de Can Roca - the world's best restaurant.
Now in their sixth year, Restaurant magazine's National Restaurant Awards recognise and celebrate the 100 best places to eat out in the UK, as voted for by 150 industry experts. (Scroll down for the full list).
Brett Graham's The Ledbury (2) slipped by just one place on the list this year after three successive years at the helm. And Jason Atherton's Mayfair establishment Pollen Street Social also moved down by one to take up third spot. Atherton's latest London venture, Social Eating House also features on this year's list, at number 33.
Meanwhile Simon Rogan's Cartmel restaurant L'Enclume, which recently scored another 10 out 10 in the 2014 Good Food Guide, moved up by seven places to number four. And The Clove Club, Isaac McHale's new crowd-funded Shoreditch restaurant, came in at number five and was also this year's Highest New Entry - an award sponsored by BigHospitality.
Proper Pub Food
But The Hand & Flowers ultimately stole the show, capping what has been a remarkable year for Kerridge. The chef, who has shot to fame as the presenter of new BBC series Proper Pub Food, also collected the Gastropub of the Year award for the second year running.
In the past month alone, Kerridge picked up the Chefs' Chef of the Year accolade at the AA Hospitality Awards and saw his venue retain its two Michelin stars in the 2014 Michelin Guide and it is the only pub in the UK to hold such a status.
It was a great night for other food-led pubs as well, with The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent (7) also in the top 10, and that venue's head chef Stephen Harris winning the coveted Chef's Chef of the Year award for his revival of artisan cooking techniques at his out-of-the-way pub.
A number of other special awards were also given out on the night; to The Kitchin (Best in Scotland), The Hardwick (Best in Wales), and Shu (Best in Northern Ireland). Meanwhile 10 Greek Street was hailed as having the Best Wine List, and Aiden Byrne's new restaurant, Manchester House, was highlighted as this year's One to Watch.
The Sustainable Restaurant of the Year Awards, given in conjunction with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), went to Bruno Loubet's recently-opened vegetable-focused restaurant Grain Store, which also came just inside the top 10 on the night.
For restaurants to make it onto the top 100 list, they must be voted for by members of the National Restaurant Awards Academy. Made up of 150 restaurateurs, chefs, food critics and journalists across 12 regions, the rules state that members of the voting panel can vote for up to five restaurants in their own region with two remaining votes for restaurants outside their region.
Nobody is allowed to vote for their own restaurant or restaurants they have a commercial interest or formal involvement with and voters must have eaten in the restaurants they have nominated within the last 12 months. For more information, visit www.nationalrestaurantawards.co.uk.
The evening's guest of honour, Roca, was also in appearance at the Restaurant Show, being interviewed by Restaurant magazine's editor, William Drew.