Not wishing to fall out of relevance completely, this year’s Michelin Guide announcement for the UK and Ireland followed in the Oscars tradition by making an absolute meal of one of its awards, and the twists and turns in the story couldn’t be more befitting of the brand. Faced with a dilemma, Michelin completely avoided announcing one of its precious stars.
The Square, Mayfair, once the home of newly-starred chef Phil Howard, was dropped from the Michelin Guide in 2017 following Howard’s departure. He had held two stars there for just under two decades, before the restaurant was purchased by the Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation. The restaurant has since closed for refurbishment as of August 2017, and remains closed, according to the official website (though it is slated for reopening in October 2017.) It is also currently lacking a chef, after Yu Sugimoto had to return to Japan for family reasons.
So far, so Michelin. But upon completion of this year’s starry-eyed ceremony, something caught the eye...
An announcement? Conspicuously absent. A chef? Conspicuously absent. An open restaurant... conspicuously absent. When approached for comment by Eater London editor Adam Coghlan, Michelin representatives were thrown into confusion; the, ahem, wheels and tyres had, momentarily, come off a hitherto extremely well-oiled event.
It was then confirmed that The Square is indeed in the guide, and does indeed have one star. The announcement was allegedly left out owing to its current closure and lack of chef — which of course begs the question — why it was given a star at all.
In sum: previously-starred chef whose previous restaurant lost stars when he left gains a star, which is not announced because there is no chef and, for the time being, no restaurant either. Michelin, you’re in a spin.