Michelin Stars Showcase Restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland That, Alone, Are Worth the Trip

A record number of U.K. and Ireland restaurants were awarded Michelin stars at a ceremony in London tonight, including the ultimate accolade of three stars for the Lecture Room & Library at Sketch, a French spot in Mayfair co-owned by Paris-based chef Pierre Gagnaire. 

A total of 187 establishments feature in the guide for 2020, including four new two stars and 23 one stars.

Sketch becomes one of only five establishments in the U.K. to hold three stars. The flagship Lecture Room is known for quirky and creative dishes such as hand-collected Scottish scallops with pear, celeriac, and shiso, served with tumeric butter and quinoa. The Grand Dessert features seven miniature plates in two servings. The seven-course tasting menu costs £120 ($148), with a vegetarian  option.

The decor at Sketch, a London town house with a total of four restaurants and bars, is even more unusual than the food, with huge egg-shaped loos a particular favorite on Instagram. Sketch is co-owned by Gagnaire, who holds three Michelin stars at his eponymous restaurant in Paris, and by the restaurateur Mourad Mazouz, with establishments in Paris and London.

Three restaurants were promoted from to two stars from one: La Dame de Pic, in London; the Dining Room at Whatley Manor, in Malmesbury, England; and the Greenhouse, in Dublin. Four restaurants in London gained their first stars: Endo at the Rotunda; Dysart Petersham; Da Terra; and Mãos.

“Despite the obvious challenges being faced by the industry here in the U.K., we are thrilled that this has been such a stellar year, and we have seen many first ventures opening and rapidly rising to success,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the guides. 

On the downside, three London restaurants lost their stars due to quality: Benares, Galvin at Windows, and Yauatcha Soho. While The Araki lost its three stars after chef Mitsuhiro Araki returned to Japan.

The awards were announced in London Monday at the Hurlingham Club in a ceremony attended by leading chefs from across the U.K. 

There had been widespread speculation that two other London restaurants might be promoted to three stars: Claude Bosi at Bibendum; and Core by Clare Smyth. Both remained on two. Sketch won its first star in 2005 and the second in 2012.

The other three stars are Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, both in London; and the Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn, both in the village of Bray. 

Three stars are given for “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey,” Michelin says. “Our highest award is given for the superlative cooking of chefs at the peak of their profession.” Two stars represent “excellent cooking, worth a detour.” One star is for “high-quality cooking, worth a stop.”

The French tiremaker produced its first guide in 1900. It was free of charge until 1920 and was intended for chauffeurs. The volume contained practical information, including street maps and tips on repairing tires.

Click here for Michelin’s report featuring a full list of awards.

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