Review of 2015 in Michelin Stars
2015’s Michelin Starred restaurants started with a weekend in London at the Clove Club and Dinner. The former is a up-and-coming restaurant in Shoreditch that has been making waves for the last couple of years. It was voted the 55th best restaurant in the world in 2015 by the well known San Pellegrino list. The cooking is unique to their own modern styling and I was impressed with their 3 courses for £35 at lunch. The highlight was suckling pig with delicate Indian Spices.
Against the modest surroundings of the Clove Club, Dinner’s is set in the opulent surrounding of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking Hyde Park. It is a Heston Blumenthal venue with Ashley-Palmer Watts as the Head Chef, the food is inspired by old English dishes. The cooking is precicse and excellent based on my experience, the lunch menu at £38 for 3 courses we supplemented with the famous Meat Fruit and Tipsy cake that were both highlights. A very good meal in a stunning venue.
A 7th visit to Sat Bains also occurred in the first half of the year, and remains a restaurant I won’t tire of visiting. On this occasion scallop with ponzu and pigs trotter was a strong addition to the favourites of Muesli and Loch Duart salmon. Another revisit to Hedone proved equally good. The philosophy at this Chiswick restaurant is a focus on the highest quality and freshest ingredients. This was evident in a simple scallop dish, the biggest, sweetest scallop you could desire with some dressed bitter salad leaves. Hedone is at the top of its game and competing to win a second Michelin star.
The Hand and Flowers is a restaurant where reservations can be over a year is advance, though I understand their policy is soon to change. The food here is “posh pub food” taken to the nth degree where you can order a steak if you so desire . A peach, tea and herb soufflé showed that there certainly was world class cooking to be found here, however the other courses didn’t match those heights for me.
A trip arose to Cornwall in September for a stag-do and the first part of my best man duties. A stop-off in Bristol saw a visit to Casamia whose stock has continued to grow over the last couple of years. The style here reminded me of Sat Bains a little, clean and modern with few ingredients per dish. They bought new textures to the classic beetroot and goats cheese flavours. Tragically joint owner and head chef Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias passed away later in the year at the age of just 32. I understand the show will go on under the sole stewardship of brother Peter, perhaps at new premises.
Deeper into the South West bought about a second visit to Nathan Outlaw’s flagship restaurant. The location has changed from Rock to Port Isaac and with it comes a beautiful view out to sea. The food matched the striking setting, if you are looking for a seafood experience this really is the place to come. Porthilly sauce is one of the best things you can eat, on this occasion working beautifully with cod. A destination restaurant.
Closer to home John’s House near Loughborough earned its first Michelin Star in 2015 and is an excellent addition to the dining scene in the East Midlands. I didn’t feel it quite had the identity of more established restaurants at this level but showed talent and ambition nonetheless. Equally pleasant, but equally not groundbreaking, was a visit to the 1 star Indian restaurant in Mayfair, Tamarind. Starters were very good and bought a refinement to the cuisine, whilst mains were simply slightly better versions than the good curries you can get in Nottingham.
The conclusion was the big one, the most well known and acclaimed restaurant in the country. The Fat Duck is the Heston Blumenthal creation that won 3 Michelin stars and famous for its innovative cooking. I journeyed to Bray with excitement and proceed to enjoy an excellent meal. Whilst there were some truly stand-out dishes the whole experience wasn’t quite able to live up to my high expectations.