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AA Rosettes 2013 - National Nosh Awards

The national list for your delectable delight

Written by . Published on January 15th 2013.


AA Rosettes 2013 - National Nosh Awards

THE AA has announced the latest restaurants to be awarded four and three AA rosettes.

Just one restaurant, 21212 in Edinburgh, where ex-Juniper chef Paul Kitching leads the kitchen, has been awarded the prestigious accolade of four AA Rosettes while thirteen establishments are celebrating being awarded three AA Rosettes.

Kitching’s cooking is exciting, artful, complex, even confrontational stuff that defies easy classification.

Manchester misses Kitching. His creativity, eccentricity and genius down at Juniper in Altrincham enlivened any visit to one of the region's sleepier centres. We also miss his surname; the funniest in terms of his profession of any chef in the Uk. 

The main picture on this page shows Kitching leading his brigade in Edinburgh.

The rest that follows is the press release from the AA so errs on the side of gush and superlatives. 

21212

The name lays out the culinary concept of chef Paul Kitching’s much talked about Edinburgh venue: the menu format offers up to five courses – choose from two starters, two mains and two desserts with small, but perfectly formed, morsels in between.  As the unorthodox name suggests, Kitching’s cooking is exciting, artful, complex, even confrontational stuff that defies easy classification.  The venue is a splendid townhouse in a smart Edinburgh postcode with a high-ceilinged Georgian dining room done out with the original fancy plasterwork. 

The new three rosette restaurants range from Cartmel in Cumbria to Padstow in Cornwall with four restaurants coming from the North of England and just one in London. 

  • Rogan and Co, Cartmel , Cumbria
  • Freemasons Country Inn, Wiswell, Lancashire
  • Wynyard Hall, Billingham, Co Durham
  • 1851 Restaurant, Peckforton Castle , Peckforton, Cheshire
  • The Sir Charles Napier, Chinnor, Oxfordshire
  • Titchwell Manor, Titchwell, Norfolk
  • Dabbous, London
  • Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown, Devon
  • Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath
  • The Feathered Nest Inn, Nether Westcote, Gloucestershire
  • Marquis at Alkham, Dover , Kent
  • Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Padstow, Cornwall
  • Stoke Park, Stoke Poges , Buckinghamshire.

New Three Rosette Awards

Rogan and Co 

A short walk from Simon Rogan’s nerve-centre of L’Enclume, his second restaurant in picturesque Cartmel is in an old beamed house, full of nooks and crannies, by the riverside. A  recent refurbishment has worked to an autumnal palette of terracotta, browns and reds, with rapturous Lakeland views adorning the walls. Local farms (including Rogan’s own) and orchards supply many of the kitchen materials, and foraged items are nearly always a feature, as Louie Lawrence interprets the Rogan style with fidelity and flair. 

Freemasons Country Inn 

Funny handshakes and rolled-up trouser legs are not required to gain admission to this rustic country gastro-pub, although it might take you some time to track it down in the narrow back streets of the chocolate-box village of Wiswell . Inside are flagstoned floors, antique rugs and furniture, and huntin’ shootin’ fishin’-themed paintings on heritage-hued walls, while the kitchen works to an ethos that aims to satisfy rather than push the culinary envelope. Chef-patron Steven Smith knows his onions and has strong supply lines to local suppliers, having worked in some of the North’s top kitchens before going solo, and sends out inventive, technically accomplished dishes. 

Wynyard Hall 

If you’re expecting a modest little manor house, think again. Wynyard is halfway to Versailles in scale, a colossal Victorian pile that shouts opulence from the golden gates through which you enter to the gilded interiors, with their glass-fronted display cases, fabulous oil portraits and the jaw-droppingly lavish dining room, where some tables have sofa seating. In such surroundings, the food can struggle to make an impression, but Alan O’Kane is no shrinking violet, and cooks to a boldly original template. 

1851 Restaurant Peckforton Castle  - click here

The castle, we are asked to note, is not to be thought of as pastiche in any way. It is a real medieval fortress, constructed to withstand besieging hordes, that just happens to have been built for a Victorian peer of the realm. The date of its completion is celebrated in the name of the restaurant, just the place to repair to after a morning's consorting with Peckforton's resident birds of prey. This vaulted stone fastness feels as secure as a nuclear bomb-shelter, and was once the private quarters of its owner. Deep-pile carpets and thick napery add to the sense of stolidity, but the cooking by Chef Mark Ellis, is the only area where the modern world breaks in. 

Sir Charles Napier 

Deep in the Chilterns surrounded by beech woods, this unique pub restaurant is a captivating place, with the sort of décor that makes you feel immediately relaxed and at home.  There’s a lovely shady terrace for summer and huge log fires in winter.  The kitchen is led by the seasons and top drawer ingredients are brought together by Chris Godfrey with culinary good sense. 

Titchwell Manor 

Revamped in a contemporary boutique style, Titchwell Manor started out as a Victorian farmhouse, but now does business as a rather chic country hotel. It sits in a

lovely spot on North Norfolk’s sandy coast, near the Titchwell Marsh bird sanctuary, and has been run by the Snaith family for a quarter of a century, with Eric Snaith directing the action at the stoves for a decade. Of the two dining areas, it is the sage-green Conservatory overlooking the walled garden that serves as a stage for his inventive dinner-only, seven-course tasting menus, which showcase splendid local produce, particularly fish and seafood.

Dabbous 

One-time head chef of Texture, Ollie Dabbous’s first solo restaurant - just off Goodge Street - has hit the ground running. Set over two floors with a basement bar and small street-level dining room, it comes decked out in voguish utilitarian, industrial style; we’re talking pared-back, designer-distress. That amounts to concrete, bare brick, sheet metal, exposed piping, and closely-set wooden tables and dangling light bulbs. The cooking shows a light, fresh, modern approach, serving up fashionable smaller plates of highly innovative, well dressed food. It is fine-tuned cooking driven by top-notch seasonal produce, including lots of wild ingredients, clean flavours, interesting combinations and lovely textures and colours. But this is a chef who knows how far to push the envelope - there’s nothing over complicated here, with flavours given room to breathe.  It’s a popular place, so book well in advance. 

Lewtrenchard Manor 

The quintessentially English charm of this Jacobean manor hidden away in a secretive valley on the fringes of Dartmoor ’s elemental beauty is impossible to resist. Lewtrenchard is shot through with the patina of four centuries and comes with a full complement of oak panelling, magnificent plasterwork ceilings, stained glass windows, roaring log fires in walk-in fireplaces, and period furniture. Despite the rich banquet of ancient features, this is not a hushed, mind-the-antiques sort of place. Once you have walked up an appetite exploring the woodlands, streams and ponds of its immaculate grounds - perhaps humming Onward Christian Soldiers, as a nod to Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould who wrote the hymn when he lived here - the candlelit, panelled dining room overlooking the delightful colonnaded courtyard awaits. New chef John Hooker makes good use of regional supply lines (and the walled kitchen garden) to deliver bright modern dishes. If the exclusivity of the chef’s table concept appeals, the Purple Carrot private dining room provides an interactive experience with the chefs via a wall of split-screen TVs. 

Royal Crescent Hotel

The Royal Crescent Hotel is set in a number of houses in the famous Royal Crescent , and is one of the country's most interesting and historic places to stay. Bedrooms offer a range of suites and sizes, all have individual style and character, many have views across the city, and all are most comfortably appointed. Public rooms make the most of the character of the house and are styled in keeping with the elegance of the period. The hotel has a superb spa and range of leisure facilities, as well as a number of meeting rooms and private dining venues. The bar and restaurant led by accomplished Head Chef David Campbell, offer the very best of contemporary dining and are not to be missed. 

The Feathered Nest Inn

After new owners Tony and Amanda Timmer lavished an upmarket facelift on this 17th-century malthouse in a lovely Cotswold village between Stow-on-the-Wold and Burford, it has come storming onto the local foodie scene with all guns blazing. Inside, there is the stylish blend of ancient character and contemporary sharpness you’d expect of a switched-on modern pub, and the garden looking over rolling green-and-pleasant countryside is a delight. All of this is unquestionably lovely, but it is the kitchen’s high achieving efforts that have the punters beating a path to the relaxed dining areas. Menus nicely in tune with today’s sensibilities support local produce, and bristle with good, honest ideas.

Marquis at Alkham 

Set in a delightful Kent Downs village in the rolling hinterland between Dover and Folkestone, this former village boozer has been reinvented as an upscale restaurant with rooms. Views over the luscious Alkham Valley from the lovely garden terrace are part of the lure, and should you want to hole up and give the whole sybaritic contemporary cuisine and wine package a thorough workout, the chic designer bedrooms are straight from a glossy interiors magazine. A glass of bubbly from the nearby Chalksole Estate vineyard makes a fitting preamble to Charlie Lakin’s cooking, which hits the spot with its creative flair and emphasis on splendid Kentish produce, including a penchant for fashionably foraged ingredients. 

Paul Ainsworth at No 6 

Having represented the South West in the BBC’s Great British Menu (and reaching the final), Paul Ainsworth’s profile is on the rise. You might even say he’d put Padstow on the map, if it wasn’t already on it. But TV shows aside, this old Georgian townhouse restaurant hits all the right buttons, from its smart contemporary good looks to its relaxed vibe and classily modish food. Paul has worked with many of the great and the good in the capital and it shows in his slick and creative dishes, which reveal a classical soul and an inventive streak. 

Stoke Park

Stoke Park is a vision from another era, a snow-white 18th-century confection designed by George III’s architect James Wyatt. If the old pile looks familiar that’s perhaps due to its long career as a film set in movies ranging from Bond classics to Bridget Jones’s Diary. It became the UK ’s first country club back in Edwardian times and now trades as a full-dress hotel and country club with all of the expected golf, tennis, spa and gym diversions. Plenty to work up a keen appetite, then, for a session in Humphry’s restaurant, which plays its part with fancy wall coverings, huge windows and mirrors, and linen-swathed tables. Broadly modern British in its thinking, the cooking by Head Chef Chris Wheeler offers up-to-date ideas.

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