I am sure you have all heard, El Bulli unsurprisingly retains the top spot, and The Fat Duck is still the 2nd best in the world. Meanwhile Gordon Ramsay was dumped out of the world’s top 50, I wonder if it had anything to do with his pre-packaged meals? Per se at sixth only…. and are you kidding me, Hakkasan is still in the mix? Not if eBay has anything to say about that.
You buy now, ‘for a good cause’.
The restaurants in the top 50 list have put up meals for you to bid on eBay – it’s all for charity of course, though ironically enough, it’s run in conjunction with Action against Hunger. As of writing prices are up to the £200 mark…. winning bidders scoffing down with wasteful abandon, while the charity tries to fight hunger – such is the nature of the world we live in – at least its for a good cause. The auctions run till mid May, so if you’re feeling charitable, link here .
I read an amazing story related to the Top 50 ceremony of late. You’ll all remember THEgirl from the ‘A girl has to eat’ blog right? If you surf to her blog and read about her wishlist, it’s one of her fantasies to attend the Top 50 ceremony. Yup, you guessed it, she got the invite. You have got to read it, it’s such an inspired story and just goes to show the importance of blogs/internet these days. Awesome stuff.
Ah the excitement. And speaking of the Top 50 (full list here), this year, we only have four British representatives in the Top 50 list.
2. Fat Duck =
14. St John (up 2)
34. Nobu London (down 4)
36. Hakkasan (down 17)
Unsurprisingly, The Fat Duck remains No.2, St John come are up two spots to 14 and both Nobu and Hakkasan drown to the thirties. Not half bad, given the notorious reputation British food carries. As a LondonEater, I think the British food scene has come up leaps and bounds in the last few years, lots of great places have sprung, but a lot of them are out of reach of many a food lover – not everybody has the capacity to spend sixty quid for a meal, there just isn’t enough competitively priced places serving great food. It’s abit like the England team, prolific prima donnas commanding huge wages – but on the international stage, it’s no masterclass. Who am I to judge right? I must say I still am a huge Nobu fan, though I’d prefer Berkerley over the original for the wood fire oven – ohh.. the wagyu tataki cooked in it is to die for, and the truffle cabbage with the smokiness, is awesome.
Hakkasan, not so much. I think the epic 17 spot freefall to 36 is rightly justified, heck I don’t even think they belong there. They took away the lobster tall roll wrapped in cucumber. They don’t do whole scallops in claypots anymore, and when they replaced the melon crème brulee with red beans, that was the last straw for me. Since the Yauster sold his stake in Hakkasan and concentrated his efforts on Sake no Hana, it’s never really been the same. Frankly, I think Hakkasan reached a high in 2007, and now their just riding their reputation, food just isn’t exciting anymore but prices remain as high as ever, £15 pounds for s&s pork which tastes just about as good as the average Chinatown restaurant, not good enough.
St John is coming up. I hear great things about it, the bloggerati seem to like it alot but I’ll reserve judgment on both St John and the Fat duck till I actually eat there.
Gordon, I still love you man.
Look. I have to come to Mr. Ramsay’s defense. There has been so much media around his ‘gourmet’ food factory which allegedly pumps out cheap fishcakes and then sells it on to the unsuspecting Foxtrot Oscar clientele for a nice profit. Do I think that food should be cooked on site and upon order? Yes of course. But if food tastes great, does it matter where it is cooked? Well, if it’s up to scratch, I don’t mind. Let’s not fool ourselves here, GR is no longer a chef, GR does not cook for a living, GR is a brand, GR is a celebrity and above all, GR both the man and the empire is a global luxury brand. He’s been on so many TV shows both here and stateside, the only time he ever decides anything properly food related is when he’s on TV. Back to my original point, I come to his defense because we need more Gordon Ramsays. Quality inevitably suffers as his business grows, but he’s done so much to raise the profile of British food – that must mean something right? Having said that, I think GR dropping out of the Top 50 (he’s not even in the Top 100) is like a changing of the guards, the top man in British food scene has got to be Heston. He’s dedicated, he still cooks at the Fat Duck ( I think ) and I really need to go there.
The best of the rest.
The Top 50 restaurants…. has a secondary list to the Top 100 (full list here), so it ain’t over yet!
52. Marcus Wareing
58. Le Gavroche
71. The River Café
Only one of GR Holding’s restaurants made it to this list – and I’m not talking about his former protégé Marcus Wareing who just missed out on the Top 50. Maze just sneaks in at 91, but frankly I was underwhelmed when I visited Jason Atherton last year. Definitely not world breaking stuff. Marcus, for his custard pudding alone, he deserves his place among luminaries. I had a pretty nice visit at the River Café too, and Hibiscus really rocked when I went there, am a big fan of Claude Bosi’s intense flavours, and yeah, this after-list of British based restaurants is kinda about right; My visits to the above restaurants were favourable, but not the best.
Never been to Zuma or Le Gavroche, so I will need to check them out.
Alright, so what do you think? Do you think that some British institutions were unfairly missed off? Will you be booking a place in any of the top restaurants and please tell me what you think, is the best British Top 100 of the lot.