Yet another glut-filled year draws to a close and so it’s time to take our customary count of the best food orgies of the year.
Best dining experience non-UK 2013 (fine dining and casual)
- De Librije (Zwolle, Netherlands): More than deserves its three Michelin stars. De Librije proves that the Netherlands has some serious dining credentials and Librije would match any restaurant in the world (at least the ones I’ve tried so far) in terms of balancing flavours & textures and in terms of executing dishes to perfection.
- Mizlala (Tel Aviv, Israel): From the chef behind the brilliant Catit comes yet another superb dining establishment. This time a bit less formal than Catit, but the food is still to die for.
- Librije’s zusje (Zwolle, Netherlands): There is not much between Librije’s zusje and Librije (they share the same chef patron after all). The food is lush and the atmosphere created in the dining courtyard & restaurant are just spectacular.
- Restaurant Reube (Maastricht, Netherlands): If you’re looking for uber satisfying ‘Bourgondisch’ Flemish cooking, look no further, Reube is it.
Best fine dining experience UK 2013
- Hedone (London, UK): When I die I want to go to Hedone valhalla. This is dining at it’s very best. I predict that over the coming years Hedone will start to accumulate more Michelin stars (currently has one star). Of this I have very little doubt.
- Alyn Williams at the Westbury (London, UK): Alyn Williams is quickly starting to rival the Ledbury for accolades in terms of the best restaurant in the UK and to top it all off Alyn Williams seemed like such a nice guy when we met him.
- Michael Wignall at the Latymer (Surrey, UK): Tucked away in the stunning surroundings of Pennyhill Park resort in Surrey you’ll find one of the very best restaurants in the UK. To us the surprising thing about Wignall’s cooking is how inventive his dishes were (aside from the fact that they deliver on taste, which is to be expected from a 2 Michelin star restaurant).
- Five Fields (London, UK): One of the greatest success stories this year. The restaurant opened it’s doors this year (largely unnoticed by food crazed Londoners) and is now already considered by many to be one of London’s very best restaurants.
- L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (London, UK): They may have lost their second star, but based on our visit to La Cuisine on the 1st floor of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, I would expect them to soon regain it. The food was simply stunning. And when food is designed and executed so impeccably well you’ll want to make a detour to this particular restaurant.
- HKK (London, UK): I’ve always been sceptical of the idea of Chinese fine dining…until I set foot in HKK. The food is divine, the attention to detail mesmerising and the service spot on. My current favourite place to have elaborate and lush weekend Chinese lunch (although I still like Yauatcha and Hutong a lot).
Best casual dining UK 2013
- The Grain Store (London, UK): Bruno Loubet may have started a new trend in London with the Grain Store. Why focus so much on the protein and treat vegetables as an after-thought? However, I seriously doubt that many can cook vegetables as well as Bruno can and even-though he puts vegetables on equal footing with proteins the integrity of whole dish is always his primary focus. The result is food magic….make note to self…time to go back to Bistrot Loubet to see which one I prefer…
- Androuet (London, UK): Androuet offers some of the best French Winebar cooking in London. We discovered them this year and can’t wait to try out some more of their dishes.
- The Corner Room (London, UK): You just want to cuddle the brilliant Nuno Mendes; he’s created two of London’s very best restaurants, is a magician in the kitchen, has such a lovely personality and he’s got a fluffy beard. What more can you ask for. The Corner Room offers, without doubt, the best value for money dining experience in London. If you would pay 2x the price it would still be good value.
- Morito (London, UK): I’m ashamed to say that I tried Morito for the first time only this year…shame on me. The food is soooo good. Perfect for a lazy weekend lunch…just make sure you go there on an empty stomach.
- Upstairs at the Ten Bells (London, UK): Those looking for pub with fine dining credentials need not look any further. Upstairs at the Ten Bells is one of London’s best kept culinary secrets. The food is setting might be stripped down and simple, but the food is anything but that…it’s simply stunning.
- Zucca (London, UK): Zucca is probably my favourite restaurant for weekend Lunch. The quality of ingredients is stunning and the dishes always make me over-eat copious amounts…and I never ever regret it! Haha, Zucca…I want more!…nom nom nom.
- Bocca di Lupo (London, UK): Bocca di Lupo will never disappoint you…I’m pretty sure they make the staff recite this verb every day before work. Whatever Bocca does, turns to food-gold.
- Copita (London, UK): Only discovered Copita this year, but now that we have, I’m sure we’ll be going over and over again. The food is so authentic and darn tasty, Copita is our Spanish tapas find of 2013.
Biggest disappointments 2013
- Oblix (London, UK): How is it possible that the same people who created the brilliant Roka restaurants, created this disappointing place???!!! How how how…the world doesn’t make sense anymore.
Best dishes of 2013 (of restaurants not listed above)
- Quality Chophouse (London, UK): Lamb Ribs…I didn’t know they were this tasty…drooollllll. Quality Chophouse knows how to cook meat and the lamb ribs are the prime example of this. If they are on the menu, go for them and you won’t regret it.
- The Social Eating House (London, UK): Octopus carpaccio, orange grenobloise, black olive oil…OMG
- Hutong at the Shard (London, UK): Peking duck…so moist, so succulent…oh mama come to papa (mind you, HKK does a fantastic Peking duck as well)
- Monty’s Deli at Maltby Market (London, UK) :What they do in NYC, Monty can do just as well on Maltby Str. In fact he does it so well, that his pastramis tend to be sold out within a few hours of opening each weekend. So if you want some, make sure you get there early.
- Hawksmoor Sevendials (London, UK): The steaks are brilliant at Hawksmoor; by now everyone knows this. However, the massive bones with marrow & onions and the burgers are so under-appreciated by the masses. I keep coming back for them…I’m an addict, have been so for years…there, I admit it, I’m a gluttony slut.