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Ledbury, Notting Hill, Wins The Sunday Times Food List

8,000 Sunday Times readers judge food - with perhaps a Metropolitan leaning

Published on October 25th 2011.

Ledbury, Notting Hill, Wins The Sunday Times Food List

THE LEDBURY is the best restaurant for food in the UK according to 8,000 diners-out and members of the public. 

The North West has a thin offering of our wonderful but usual suspects. 

The Notting Hill establishment came top of The Sunday Times Food List, announced at a reception in London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, hosted by Harden’s and Rémy Martin. 

The Sunday Times Food List is based on food quality alone and The Ledbury, headed by young Australian Chef Brett Graham, gathered an average score of 9.81 out of ten. Customers hailed the cuisine as ‘genius’. As a bizarre aside the restaurant’s staff fought off looters and protected customers during this summer’s riots. 

Brett Graham said: "It's a huge honour to top the List, especially as it comes from such a broad base of customers."  

Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire came second in the Food List while last year’s winner, Gidleigh Park, was third.  

Gidleigh Park also walked off with the Rémy Martin X.O. Excellence Award for Best All Round Restaurant (considering not just food, but also service and ambience).  

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley won the Coeur de Cognac Award for Best Dessert, and Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental received the Rémy Martin V.S.O.P Best Newcomer Award. 

The top five were (with last year’s positions in brackets):

1 (4)  The Ledbury, Notting Hill, London
2 (6)  Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton, Oxon
3 (1)  Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon
4 (7)  Le Gavroche, Mayfair, London
5 (5)  Waterside Inn, Bray, Berks

Of the rest, half of the top 100 restaurants are outside London (last year it was only 40%), the number of Asian eateries in the List has fallen by half and there are 31 new entries on the list. 

Couple of points here.

The fact that over half the top 100 are outside London is still no cause for celebration. It's still woeful to have slightly more than 50% of the Sunday Times list located in the rest of the UK, where 80% of the population lives.

It does cast doubt on the demographic of those 8,000 voters. If that demographic is spread from John O'Groats to Land's End then it shows how many people must be piling into London in food and drink despair at their local scene.

Or perhaps - more likely - it shows how many people out of the 8,000 came from the London area. 

It would also be interesting to find out why the number of Asian restaurants has fallen by half. Are we bored by it now? Are other cuisines from other parts of the world proving more exciting?

The North West has a thin offering of our wonderful but usual suspects. Only one is in Greater Manchester and only one in Merseyside.

Our five are (with ranking in brackets): 

Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor (21), Northcote, Langho, Lancashire (30), Fishers at Baslow Hall, Baslow, Derbyshire (33),  Fraiche, Oxton, Wirral, Merseyside (46),  Ramsons, Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester (73).

The full Sunday Times Food List, listing the top 100 restaurants in Britain, will be published in the paper on October 30. 

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 25th 2011.

MANCHESTER Confidential, no?

Jonathan SchofieldOctober 25th 2011.

Anonymous - what on earth does that mean?

AnonymousOctober 25th 2011.

The demographic that counts is that top restaurants sell expensive food and so locate themselves near to wealthy areas. thats why london does so well - more well off people.

AnonymousOctober 25th 2011.

Jonathan - Means why don't you stick to articles about Manchester. If I wanted to know about how good restaurants in the south are, I would be on a Food and Drink website, not a lifestyle magazine website based in Manchester. Surely people come here to see what's going on in Manchester, not what's not going on.

AnonymousOctober 25th 2011.

Anonymous - don't be so insular. If Manchester is to improve then we have to compare ourselves to our competitors, not just naval gaze. There's a bigger world out there than the 5 mile radius you live in...

AnonymousOctober 25th 2011.

I sometimes leave Manchester. I sometimes go to London, because it's just over two hours away. There's a train to take you there and everything.

AnonymousOctober 26th 2011.

Insular? It's only a 2 hour trip to Paris, or an 8 hour trip to New York. Why not write about that on here? Where do you draw the line? Is this a website about Manchester or not? You could apply the logic of 'comparing ourselves to our competitiors' as you put it to every single article on here, but why would you do that? The other main article currently on here, 'the most consistent dish in Manchester'... why not suggest a dish found in London? It will have nothing to do with Manchester's food scene, but according to you, helps us to 'improve' (??)

RayOctober 28th 2011.

I have no problem with articles like this from time to time - a consistent series would dilute the Manc-centric rationale of this website, but considering this is in the "Food & Drink" section, it's useful to see what lies elsewhere.

I'm delighted to see the Ledbury voted top. It's a superb place, which I visit about 6 times a year. Great value lunches too. I wouldn't say that the list itself has any credence though - there are finer dining experiences than the Ledbury (not many though) and Le Manoir is just full of people taking their mum for a celebration birthday dinner. They will naturally be predisposed towards the place, but the fact remains that Manoir is nowhere near 2 stars, and is comfortably outdone by, for example, L'Enclume (or, if one compares trad, Gavroche or Waterside Inn).

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