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A Tiny Thai Grill Restaurant in Soho Is Named U.K.’s ‘Best’

Kiln is given the top spot in the National Restaurant Awards; Nieves Barragan-Mohacho is named chef of the year

Ben Chapman outside his Soho restaurant, Kiln
Ola Smit/Eater London

Ben Chapman’s specialist northern Thai barbecue restaurant — Kiln, on Brewer Street in Soho — has been named the “best restaurant in the U.K.,” according to Restaurant Magazine’s annual index. Nieves Barragan Mohacho picked up a brace, taking chef of the year, while her new Spanish restaurant Sabor was awarded second place in the overall index.

Other restaurants in the capital in the top 10 included, Eater London’s chef of the year 2017 A. Wong in third; high-end newcomer Core by Clare Smyth in fourth; and James Lowe’s Shoreditch restaurant Lyle’s in seventh. Claude Bosi’s temple to Michelin — Bibendum in Chelsea — which was awarded two Michelin stars at the first time of asking last year, was named in eleventh place.

Other notable London inclusions in the top 100, were BratTomos Parry’s hit grill restaurant in Shoreditch (in which Kiln’s Chapman is a partner) at number 14; and Indian Accent at 22. Victor Garvey’s affordable tapas restaurant — Rambla on Dean Street — made it in at 77, while there was just enough space to give Ikoyi in St. James’s a spot at number 100. Chapman’s other restaurant Smoking Goat (which opened in Shoreditch last autumn) only managed to make it in at number 68; and Nuala, the modern Irish restaurant, which opened on Old Street roundabout just before Christmas, was placed at number 51.

53 of the 100 restaurants in the index are located in London.

Ben Chapman (and his business partner, Brian Hannon) said in a joint statement that they were humbled by the recognition:

Trying to open a tiny place in Soho that serves rural Thai food whilst growing and sourcing the ingredients in Cornwall is probably a fairly demented approach to opening a restaurant. We don’t know if this brilliant award makes it more or less so, but we’re certainly humbled by the recognition. There are days where I silently wonder whether anyone notices or likes the fact that chef Nick has spent a year trying to use wild monkfish liver to thicken a curry rather than buying coconut cream, but what’s lovely about this award, is that it acknowledges people do. Acutely with Kiln, we owe so much to the enduring enthusiasm of our regulars, who whenever they eat with us embrace the spirit of what we’re trying to do. Without them, we’d have closed 6 months in.

Among those listed in the one’s-to-watch section were ex-Outlaw’s at the Capital chef Tom Brown’s Cornerstone, which recently opened in Hackney Wick. Noble Rot won wine list of the year. Restaurateur of the year was given to siblings Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants.

The index belongs to the William Reed group and is a kind of regional affiliate of the World’s 50 Best, whose 51 to 100 “best restaurants in the world” are announced later today. This list is decided by “150 industry experts” who “have voted for their best restaurant experiences over the past 12 months across the British Isles, taking into consideration not only the food, but the staff, atmosphere, music, design and price.” Restaurant Magazine says “The academy of voters is made up of chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and critics and other food experts and gastronomes.”

It will be interesting to note how many, if any, of the restaurants that have registered in this list will be recognised by the much more high-profile 50 Best index, which comes out next week.

Despite the high ranking of Sabor and Core, critics of the list have already pointed to a broader lack of female representation. It is of course not the first time William Reed-as-event-organisers have faced questions over equity and diversity. But, Restaurant Magazine’s editor, Stefan Chomka, has said that he would consider having an open and informal discussion with members of the newly formed Women of Food. So let’s see where that takes the list next year.

Here’s the full list of U.K. restaurants awarded last night:

  1. Kiln, Soho
  2. Sabor, Mayfair
  3. A Wong, Victoria
  4. Core by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill
  5. L’Enclume, Cumbria
  6. Moor Hall, Lancashire
  7. Lyle’s, Shoreditch
  8. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham
  9. The Sportsman, Kent
  10. Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall
  11. Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Chelsea
  12. The Coach, Marlow
  13. Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall
  14. Brat, Shoreditch
  15. Padella, London Bridge
  16. The Quality Chop House, Clerkenwell
  17. The Ledbury, Notting Hill
  18. Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire
  19. Wreckfish, Liverpool
  20. The Black Swan at Oldstead
  21. The River Café, Hammersmith
  22. Indian Accent, Mayfair
  23. Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Padstow
  24. El Pastor, London Bridge
  25. Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Oxford
  26. Ondine, Edinburgh
  27. Casamia, Bristol
  28. Ynyshir, Powys
  29. Som Saa, Shoreditch
  30. House of Tides, Newcastle
  31. The Clove Club, Shoreditch
  32. The Fat Duck, Bray
  33. Chez Bruce, Wandsworth
  34. Elystan Street, Chelsea
  35. The Crown at Burchetts Green, Maidenhead
  36. Trinity, Clapham
  37. The Little Fish Market, Hove
  38. The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny
  39. Quo Vadis, Soho
  40. The Seahorse, Dartmouth
  41. Barrafina, Covent Garden
  42. Lorne, Victoria
  43. The Waterside Inn, Bray
  44. Brawn, Bethnal Green
  45. The Raby Hunt, Darlington
  46. Hispi, Didsbury
  47. Hoppers, Soho
  48. Midsummer House, Cambridge
  49. Noble Rot, Bloomsbury
  50. Gymkhana, Mayfair
  51. Nuala, Old Street
  52. Hedone, Chiswick
  53. Alchemilla, Nottingham
  54. Kricket, Soho
  55. Pollen St Social, Mayfair
  56. Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo
  57. Root, Bristol
  58. St John Bread & Wine, Shoreditch
  59. The Star Inn Harome, Yorkshire
  60. Farang, Highbury
  61. Holborn Dining Room, Holborn
  62. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow
  63. Wilson’s, Bristol
  64. 40 Maltby Street, London Bridge
  65. Black Axe Mangal, Islington
  66. Carter’s of Moseley, Birmingham
  67. The Palomar, Chinatown
  68. Smoking Goat, Shoreditch
  69. The Beehive, Berkshire
  70. The Hardwick, Abergavenny
  71. Timberyard, Edinburgh
  72. Xu, Chinatown
  73. The Dairy, Clapham
  74. Le Gavroche, Mayfair
  75. Paco Tapas, Bristol
  76. The Parkers Arms, Clitheroe
  77. Rambla, Soho
  78. Wine & Brine, County Armagh
  79. Frog by Adam Handling, Covent Garden
  80. Where The Light Gets In, Stockport
  81. Bonhams, Mayfair
  82. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Edinburgh
  83. Fraiche, Oxton
  84. Restaurant Story, London Bridge
  85. Sardine, Hoxton
  86. The Ritz, Picadilly
  87. Kitchen Table, Fitzrovia
  88. Inver, Argyll & Bute
  89. Lima, Fitzrovia
  90. The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury
  91. Frenchie, Covent Garden
  92. The Elephant, Torquay
  93. Barbary, Covent Garden
  94. Neo Bistro, Mayfair
  95. Mark Greenaway, Edinburgh
  96. Morston Hall Hotel, Norfolk
  97. Northcote Manor, Langho
  98. Westerns Laundry, Highbury
  99. Perilla, Newington Green
  100. Ikoyi, Piccadilly


2151 Salvio Street, , CA 94520 (925) 309-7774 Visit Website

Chez Bruce

2 Bellevue Road, , England SW17 7EG 020 8672 0114 Visit Website

A. Wong

70 Wilton Road, , England SW1V 1DE 020 7828 8931 Visit Website


15 Micawber Street, , England N1 7TB 020 7490 0144 Visit Website


43 Drury Lane, , England WC2B 5AJ Visit Website

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, , England SE1 3PG 020 8076 9517 Visit Website

El Pastor

6-7A Stoney Street, , England SE1 9AA Visit Website


72 Highbury Park, , England N5 2XE 020 7226 1609 Visit Website

Black Axe Mangal

156 Canonbury Road, , England N1 2UP Visit Website


35-37 Heddon Street, , England W1B 4BR 020 3319 8130 Visit Website

Elystan Street

43 Elystan Street, , England SW3 3NT 020 7628 5005 Visit Website

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

81 Fulham Road, , England SW3 6RD 020 7581 5817 Visit Website


64 Dean Street, , England W1D 4QG 020 7734 8428 Visit Website

The Clove Club

380 Old Street, , England EC1V 9LT 020 7729 6496 Visit Website

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Road, , England W11 2AQ 020 7792 9090 Visit Website

som saa

43A Commercial Street, , England E1 6BD 020 7324 7790 Visit Website

The Dairy

15 The Pavement, , England SW4 0HY 020 7622 4165 Visit Website


34 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DN Visit Website


4 The Polygon, , England SW4 0JG 020 7622 1199 Visit Website


77 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QE Visit Website

Holborn Dining Room

252 High Holborn, , England WC1V 7EN 020 3747 8633 Visit Website


70-74 City Road , , EC1 Visit Website

Core by Clare Smyth

92 Kensington Park Road, , England W11 2PN 020 3937 5086 Visit Website


301-303 Chiswick High Road, London , W4 4HH Visit Website

The River Café

Rainville Road, , England W6 9HA 020 7386 4200 Visit Website


101 New Bond Street, , England W1S 1SR 020 7447 7447 Visit Website


4 Redchurch Street, , England E1 6JL Visit Website

The Coach

26-28 Ray Street, , England EC1R 3DJ 020 3954 1595 Visit Website


3 Prince Edward Road, London, Greater London E9 5LX +44 20 8986 3922 Visit Website


1 Saint James's Market, , England SW1Y 4AH 020 3583 4660 Visit Website


199 Tooley Street, , England SE1 2JX 020 7183 2117 Visit Website


53 Foy Lane, , NSW 2000 (02) 8099 8799 Visit Website

Quo Vadis

26-29 Dean Street, , England W1D 3LL 020 7437 9585 Visit Website

Noble Rot

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, Greater London WC1N 3NB +44 20 7242 8963 Visit Website


12 Denman Street, , W1D 7HH 020 7734 5612 Visit Website

Le Gavroche

43 Upper Brook Street, , England W1K 7QR 020 7408 0881 Visit Website

The Quality Chop House

88-94 Farringdon Road, , England EC1R 3EA 020 7278 1452 Visit Website

Frog by Adam Handling

34-38 Southampton St, London, Greater London WC2E 7HG


49 Columbia Road, , England E2 7RG 020 7729 5692 Visit Website

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ Visit Website

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, , England N5 1PB 020 7700 3700 Visit Website


6 Southwark Street, , England SE1 1TQ Visit Website


81 Fulham Rd, London, Greater London SW3 6RD +44 20 7590 1189 Visit Website


30 Rupert Street, , England W1D 6DL 020 3319 8147 Visit Website


76 Wilton Rd, London, Greater London SW1V 1DE +44 20 3327 0210 Visit Website

Kitchen Table

70 Charlotte Street, , England W1T 4QG Visit Website

Neo Bistro

11 Woodstock Street, , England W1C 2AE 020 7499 9427 Visit Website


5 Rue du Nil, , IDF 75002 01 40 39 96 19 Visit Website

Indian Accent

Lodhi Road, CGO Complex, DL 110003 098711 17968 Visit Website


42 Albemarle Street, , England W1S 4JH 020 3011 5900 Visit Website