Thai restaurant Kiln has been named the UK’s best restaurant in the 2018 Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards, which were held at The Hurlingham Club in London (11 June).
The stripped back and affordable Soho restaurant is owned by Ben Chapman and Brian Hannon and focuses on the cooking of the south-east Asian country’s Northern borderlands, where Thai culinary traditions intersect with those of Myanmar, Laos and China’s Yunnan province.
Chapman works with head chef Nick Molyviatis to develop Kiln’s small, high-impact plates of bracingly authentic Thai food and goes to great lengths to secure high quality produce with line-caught fish sourced from Cornwall and specialist Asian herbs grown specially for the restaurant in Dorset. The menu includes langoustines, kaffir lime and sweet mint; and clay pot baked glass noodles pork belly and brown crab meat.
The 50-cover Brewer Street restaurant has an open kitchen upstairs with a counter for walk-ins only, while the downstairs dining room does take bookings. The drinks list is focused on natural wines and unusual beers.
Recently opened Spanish restaurant Sabor, in Mayfair, was the highest new entry in this year’s list of the UK’s top 100 restaurants, ranking at number two (see below for the full run down). Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant A Wong placed third and Core by Clare Smyth, which opened last year, came in fourth. Smyth’s Notting Hill restaurant was also recognised for its front of house excellence, receiving The Service Award.
This year’s list again highlights the eclecticism of today’s restaurant scene with high-end venues rubbing shoulders with more affordable ones. The annual awards, which are now in their 11th year, are voted for top chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, critics and other food experts and gastronomes from across the UK.
Other big winners on the night included Raymond Blanc, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the enduring flawlessness of the Belmond le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford as well as his work on sustainability and the training of future restaurant industry talent.
Karam, Sunaina and Jyotin Sethi – the trio behind hit London restaurants Gymkhana, Trishna and the recently opened Brigadiers, among others – were named Restaurateurs of the Year.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho of the aforementioned Sabor also won the coveted Chefs’ Chef Of The Year award while Tom Brown celebrated a double win, being named both Chef to Watch and seeing his debut restaurant Cornerstone, in Hackney Wick, named One to Watch.
2016 and 2017 winner The Sportsman, in Seasalter, Kent, was named Gastropub of the Year, while Bloomsbury’s Noble Rot and Soho’s Temper were given awards for the quality of their wine and cocktail offerings respectively.
The awards in full:
Estrella Damm National Restaurant of the Year: Kiln, Soho
Chef to Watch, sponsored by Woods Foodservice: Tom Brown
Chefs’ Chef of the Year, sponsored by Ritter Fresh: Nieves Barragán Mohacho
One to Watch, sponsored by Schweppes: Cornerstone, Hackney Wick
The Service Award, sponsored by Liberty Wines and Champagne Devaux: Core by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill
Gastropub of the Year, sponsored by Estrella Damm: The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent
Restaurateur of the Year, sponsored by Harvey and Brockless: JKS Restaurants
Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Lavazza: Raymond Blanc
Sustainable Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Aubrey Allen: ODE true food, Devon
Wine List of the Year: Noble Rot, Bloomsbury
Cocktail List of the Year, sponsored by Seedlip: Temper, Soho
OpenTable Diners’ Choice ‘Fit for Foodies’ Award: The Chef’s Table, Chester
Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland, sponsored by Hildon: Wine & Brine, Moira
Best Restaurant in Wales, sponsored by Hildon: Ynyshir, Machynlleth
Best Restaurant in Scotland, sponsored by Hildon: Ondine, Edinburgh
For information on attending the 2019 event, please contact Stevie Robinson on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01293 845508.