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Seven North West Restaurants In Times Top 100

The French wins again. But not one new addition for the North West from last year? Not one? Really?

Written by . Published on October 20th 2014.

Seven North West Restaurants In Times Top 100

WE'RE on the end of a food awards offensive.

What's so painfully boring about this list is that these seven North West restaurants are EXACTLY the same seven North West restaurants as last year. Nothing new for us to chew on.

If it isn't the AA lot, it's the Waitrose Good Food Guiders, or the Manchester Food and Drink Awards, or the Food and Travel Magazine Awards, or one of many others. So it's easy to get lost in all those ratings and rosettes, bibs and badges, commemorative plates and gold star stickers.

But when it comes to Manchester, all seem to agree on one thing: The French by Simon Rogan at the Midland Hotel is the dog's danglies (except Michelin, but what do they know, eh?).

And so we come to the latest round of plaudits, and unsurprisingly The French is the only Manchester restaurant - as it was last year - to make the cut in the annual Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants in the UK.

Simon RoganSimon Rogan has a chat with a root

It's a hat-trick year for Rogan, who sees his Michelin-starred Lake District restaurant, L'Enclume, and newly starred London restaurant, Fera at Claridge's, also feature in this Top 100.

The Sunday Times Top 100, compiled in association with Harden's restaurant guides, features seven restaurants - as it did last year - from the North West. Here they are:


Oxton, Merseyside

Freemasons at Wiswell

Wiswell, Lancashire

Holbeck Ghyll

Windermere, Cumbria


Cartmel, Cumbria


Langho, Lancashire

Simon Radley, Chester Grosvenor


The French, Midland Hotel


What's so painfully boring about this list is that these seven North West restaurants are EXACTLY the same seven North West restaurants as last year - see here.

Aside from a few jump-ups and drop-downs in terms of overall rankings (published in full on Sunday 19 October), there's absolutely nothing new for us to chew on in the North West. Not one new addition.

And for that very reason I'm going to stop writing about this list. We've nothing new to say about it. It's lazy.

Actually, one last thing, perhaps someone should let them know little 'ole Sticky Walnut in Hoole bagged AA Restaurant of the Year 2014/15 for the whole of England last month. Sticky that up your Top 100.

Jonathan Schofield wrote about the omissions in The Good Food Guide last month - here. He also revealed our list of top Manchester restaurants which is really how our readers should view things. 

The full Top 100, including rankings and overall score, will be revealed in The Sunday Times 100 Top Restaurants on October 19.

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

AnonymousOctober 17th 2014.

Looks about right to me, maybe Manchester House can feel hard done by and possibly Aumbrey & Hearth of the Ram but can't see any other glaring ommissions.

Mick ProctorOctober 17th 2014.

Indian Tiffin Room ?

AnonymousOctober 17th 2014.

Hardens are clowns. Gary Usher, very amusingly, nailed them a few months back.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Richard HardenOctober 17th 2014.

For the record, he 'nailed' nothing. But don't let the facts bother you.

AnonymousOctober 17th 2014.

Oh, he really did. You must have a very thin skin to still be upset by it now.

rinkydinkOctober 17th 2014.

Do you like the array of restaurants Manchester has to offer? If yes, why bother about a stupid list?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
David BlakeOctober 17th 2014.

You're right, Rink.

EdwardOctober 17th 2014.

Indeed. Liberate oneself and experience the free will of all people.

David HarrisOctober 17th 2014.

This list looks spot on to me , y would sticky walnut be in the top 100 restaurants , who is this guy who wrote this no idea of the restaurant scene in the uk , aa is all about money I suggest you eat out more ...

Richard HardenOctober 17th 2014.

As a regular follower of your writings, I'm disappointed by the silly tone of this piece. It's not 'lazy' to do a major (uniquely so) research exercise from scratch each and every year: if the North West scene is not yet vibrant enough to generate new top 100 restaurant every year, whose fault is that? Our 'lazy' research process, incidentally, is the one that gives a list of top Manchester restaurants (to be revised in the new guide in a few weeks) very similar to the one you ourselves came up with a few weeks ago – far more representative of the educated local view, in fact, than any of the other publications you have recently reviewed. Perhaps it therefore has something going for it? Oh, and thanks for the Sticky Walnut tip… but we've been writing them up favourably for years.

10 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 17th 2014.

Harden's Guide is a guide to London restaurants primarily, right???

David BlakeOctober 17th 2014.

The region's restaurant stock has come on considerably in the last year (represented beautifully by Walnut's recent national win), this should have been fairly represented.

Richard HardenOctober 17th 2014.

Yes, but unless you're really really suggesting SW is a top 100 restaurant, it difficult to see how it can be "fairly represented"… in a list of the top 100 restaurants in the UK!

AnonymousOctober 17th 2014.

I only ask as this renowned and trusted restaurant guide seems a tad dated when it comes to Manchester restaurants. It still lists the likes of Grado (which shut in 2011), Ithaca (which shut in 2010) and The Modern (which shut in 2011) to name but a few. Comical.

David HarrisOctober 17th 2014.

Sticky walnut is a brasserie come on David get with it !?? What number would u put it at ?

AnonymousOctober 17th 2014.

Freemasons is a pub. What's your point? Great food is great food.

David HarrisOctober 17th 2014.

Freemasons is a different class to sticky walnut ......

David HarrisOctober 17th 2014.

Just because a restaurant like sw has a massive following through twitter and pr does not make the food great

AnonymousOctober 17th 2014.

Good job no-one said that having a 'massive' Twitter following makes the food great then, isn't it.

David HarrisOctober 17th 2014.

Do u think sw should be in top 100 maybe we both agree on that ?

David HarrisOctober 17th 2014.

This guy who wrote this what is your background in food it would be interesting to see I suggest you go and study and learn about uk restaurants , then in a few years u will release you knew very little

EvoOctober 17th 2014.

This is a lazy article to be fair, lacking any solid base for the criticism you direct at Harden's other than pointing out one place that, in your opinion, should have been included. That's what I would expect from reading the rants at the bottom of the page, not the article at the top. For all you know, Harden's could have base and justification for each selection in the list and any argument you give against that should at least have substance.

Manci DoodleOctober 24th 2014.

The painfully boring thing is your failure to grasp how mediocre Manchester's food offering is. Richard Harden's pot shot is about right. The only reason I can be bothered to contribute to this repetitive debate is that I finally got round to a meal at Manchester House yesterday. Clever but not Michelin standard food in a dreadful environment. The critics outside of this town are right to be underwhelmed.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 24th 2014.

The food is excellent. The surroundings less so.

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