Trends And Innovation On Show In Winners Of 60secondreviews Restaurants Awards
Over 200 restaurants in London and South East were reviewed on video by the team at 60secondreviews in the last 12 months, and now they have named their ten best of the year.
With each venue filmed the reviews have given their audiences a true taste of the dining experience.
"We wanted to provide some credible voices as a start point for people eating out in London and the South East, so assembled a crack team of reviewers with vast experience so we could be unbiased and insightful in our reviews," says founder Euan MacDonald.
One of the team is Andy Lynes, regular contributor to the Metro and The Times. "It's been a fascinating 12 months for new openings - the rise of the tavern (the English equivalent of the bistro) has given us Merchant's, Berners Street, and Newman Street Taverns: all really worth visiting. We've also seen quirky spaces opening such as Mayfields or 40 Maltby St where the kitchen skills are simply excellent, and we hope to encourage people who love their food to support them."
To spread the message of these new names 60secondreivews decided to give 10 awards: 9 to their best new openings of the last year, and 1 award to an established name still doing great things.
"We're not just about the food in our reviews, but the whole experience," says MacDonald, "so we came up with categories that reflect that: an award for the best dining space; new idea; clever dish; even a magic moment that you just won't get at any other restaurant."
In total 35 restaurants from the 200 made the shortlist which was deliberated and argued over by the five judges - often pitching small restaurant operations against larger names with established backing, with surprising results.
The Categories, winners, and judges citations are as follows:
Magic Moment: Keeper's House (Piccadilly) for opening up the Royal Academy Piazza to diners - something that had never been done before.
"The restaurant that got the keys to the castle - or rather the Royal Academy piazza - to gave us access to piece of London like we'd never experienced before - either side of inventive drinks, terrific wines, and wonderful plates of food." Euan MacDonald
So hip it works: BoneDaddies (Soho) for having tattoos, rock music, pop art, but also tremendous food.
"Fine dining flavours in a casual, relaxed environment. With an edge that's perfectly suited to Soho." Andy Lynes
Wish I'd Thought of That: Grain Store (Kings Cross) for their vegetable based cocktails.
"It's a brave man that opens a veggie-focused restaurant in burger-obsessed London, but Bruno Loubet has nailed it. Each plate is a joyous kaleidoscope of colours and flavours with cutting edge cocktails to match. Pass the aubergine miso purée, please." Patrick Mcguigan
Shouldn't Work But It Does: Dishoom (Shoreditch) for their Indian breakfast.
"All hail to the bacon naan! A neat spin on a traditional breakfast that shouldn't work but really, really does." Rosie Birkett
Best Dish: Boulestin (St James') for their Sauternes Custard with Prunes.
"A magic trick of a dish that makes you grin from ear to ear. It's a stand out on a menu that takes French classics and consistently brings flavour, class and comfort to the fore." Euan Macdonald
Worth The Hangover: Smokehouse (Islington) for their craft beers and cocktails.
"A brilliant bar with an amazing range of craft beers, and some of the best, unique dude food to soak it up with." Andy Lynes
Fell In Love With The Room: Brasserie Chavot (Mayfair) for their muted red leather, marble, and chandelier- strewn classy décor.
"Glamorous, chic and romantic, a piece of Paris in London." Rosie Birkett
Neighbourhood Restaurant to Teach the Big Boys: Toasted (Dulwich) for a wonderful all round experience in a category that caused the most debate.
"If every neighbourhood had a restaurant like Toasted, the world would be a better place. Stunning wines, inventive food and smiley staff. I want to move to East Dulwich!" Patrick Mcguigan
Oldie But Goodie: The Ritz (Piccadilly) service and kitchen skills that are still second to none, and dishes among the chintz that contended for the best of the year.
"The standard of the food proves The Ritz is not trading on its name. Serious old school skills in the kitchen and front of house. Unlike anywhere else in the capital." Andy Lynes
Took Our Breath Away: Berner's Tavern (Fitzrovia) won against a shortlist of 5 for the restaurant of the year, against Clove Club; Donostia; Mayfields; and Toasted. The Judges believe Berner's Tavern could be the restaurant to define this decade.
"A landmark restaurant with a stunning interior and food and service that embodies everything that's great about London dining now." Andy Lynes