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London’s 2020 Michelin Bib Gourmands Are Kind of Predictable

Offshoots of Michelin magnets take the headlines

Best restaurants in Soho: Berenjak Marcus Cobden/JKS

The Michelin Guide is announcing this year’s Bib Gourmands, in anticipation of London’s new Michelin-starred restaurants on Monday, next week.

This year, three London restaurants have been awarded Michelin Bib Gourmands:

Michelin parlance defines the Bib Gourmand-winning restaurant as one that delivers “good quality, good value cooking.” It also stipulates that the restaurant will offer “£28 or under for three (yes, three!) courses.”

Although, in the purview of Michelin itself, Bib Gourmands are second-tier awards to Michelin stars — it has often been the case that more interesting cooking, by clever and dynamic operators, have fallen into this category; it tends to avoid the constraints and orthodoxies of the starred index (often fine, mostly French, nearly always expensive). The Bib category has often been characterised by Michelin’s apparent lack of courage to award a star. Notable recipients in recent years include Kiln, in Soho, Brawn, on Columbia Road, St John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields, Westerns Laundry in Highbury, and Morito, on Exmouth Market. Outstanding restaurants, which are guilty only of not subscribing to the traditional strictures set out by the guide.

This year’s Bibs are defined by two phenomena: the quality of being known to inspectors and fresh pasta, a London-centric restaurant zeitgeist: Berenjak’s owners, JKS Restaurants, is the most-starred restaurant group in the U.K., with a total of six Michelin stars across five restaurants. Two Lights is owned by The Clove Club, a restaurant awarded a star in 2014 and a fair shout for a second next week. Luca, the group’s third restaurant, is an outsider for its first star in this year’s guide.

Bancone, on the other hand, is the most refined and fancy of London’s modern crop of fresh pasta restaurants, an obvious trend that has swept the capital in the last three years. Obvious because pasta’s principal ingredients are cheap; and obvious because there are few foods, in the mainstream, that have such a clear domestic frame of reference. Pasta is one of the easiest things for restaurant goers to compare against their own cooking and therefore when, as is often the case, it is better, justifying the the cost of going out to eat it is easier. This, in turn, makes it a comparatively low-risk option for restaurants.

Those who lost Bib Gourmands in London this year are: Indian Essence in Bromley, Barrica, on Goodge Street, Picture in Marylebone and Fitzrovia (deleted, but whose owners had recently stated that it would close, anyway), Copita, the tapas bar on Soho’s D’Arblay Street, Polpetto, which closed, Magnus Reid’s Legs in Hackney, which also closed, Adam Handling’s The Frog in Hoxton (whose other Frog is tipped for a star), Comptoir Gascon, on the edge of Smithfield Market in Farringdon, Corbin and King’s Bellanger in Islington, which closed, and Bistro Union in Clapham.

Last year, four London restaurants received new Bibs: Sorella, Robin Gill’s Clapham Italian restaurant, a reinvention of The Manor; Farang, Seb Holmes’ Thai-inspired Highbury restaurant; Petit Pois, the French bistro on Hoxton Square; and Kudu, the South African neighbourhood restaurant in Peckham that has since announced it will open a second restaurant next door.

Stay tuned for more analysis, and how this might feed into Monday’s Michelin star announcement.


A full list of London restaurants with Bib Gourmands:

Barbary

Salt Yard

Hereford Road

Kateh

Bao Soho

Berenjak*

Brasserie Zédel

Hoppers

Kiln

Kricket

Palomar

Bancone*

Cinnamon Bazaar

Petit Pois

Popolo

Two Lights*

L’Amorosa

Primeur

Trullo

Morito

Farang

Westerns Laundry

Plaquemine Lock

Sorella

Upstairs (at Trinity)

Provender

José

Kudu

Padella

Brawn

Smokestak

Blixen

Gunpowder

St John Bread and Wine

Café Spice Namaste

Polpetto

11 Berwick Street, , England W1F 0PL 020 7439 8627 Visit Website

Salt Yard

54 Goodge Street, , England W1T 4NA 020 7637 0657 Visit Website

Cinnamon Bazaar

28 Maiden Lane, , England WC2E 7JS 020 7395 1400 Visit Website

Morito

32 Exmouth Market, , England EC1R 4QE 020 7278 7007 Visit Website

The Clove Club

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

Farang

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

Luca

88 Saint John Street, , England EC1M 4EH 020 3859 3000 Visit Website

Westerns Laundry

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

Kricket

12 Denman Street, , W1D 7HH Visit Website

Legs

120 Morning Lane London E9 6LH, London, 440203 441 8765 Visit Website

Copita

27 D'Arblay Street, , England W1F 8EP 020 7287 7797 Visit Website

Hereford Road

Hereford Road, , England

Brasserie Zédel

20 Sherwood Street, , England W1F 7ED 020 7734 4888 Visit Website

José

104 Bermondsey Street, , England SE1 3UB Visit Website

Kiln

58 Brewer Street, , England W1F 9TL Visit Website

Kateh

5 Warwick Place, , England W9 2PX 020 7289 3393 Visit Website

Trullo

Saint Paul's Road, , England N1 2LH 020 7226 2733 Visit Website

Palomar

34 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DN Visit Website

Bistro Union

40 Abbeville Road, , England SW4 9NG 020 7042 6400 Visit Website

Kudu

119 Queen's Road, , England SE15 2EZ 020 3950 0226 Visit Website

Brawn

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

Provender

17 High Street Wanstead London, E11 2AA, London, 44 020 8530 3050 Visit Website

Hoppers

77 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QE Visit Website

Popolo

26 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3DU Visit Website

Comptoir Gascon

63 Charterhouse Street, , England EC1M 6HJ 020 7608 0851 Visit Website

Bellanger

9 Islington Green, , England N1 2XH 020 7226 2555 Visit Website

Trinity

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

BAO Soho

53 Lexington Street, , England W1F 9AS Visit Website

Primeur

116 Petherton Road, , England N5 2RT 020 7226 5271 Visit Website

Bancone

39 William IV Street, , England WC2N 4DD 020 7240 8786 Visit Website

The Manor

148 Clapham Manor Street, , England SW4 6BX 020 7720 4662 Visit Website

Gunpowder

11 White's Row, , England E1 7NF 020 7426 0542 Visit Website

Two Lights

28-30 Kingsland Road, , England E2 8AA 020 3976 0076 Visit Website

SMOKESTAK

35 Sclater Street, , England E1 6LB 020 3873 1733 Visit Website

St John Bread and Wine

94-96 Commercial Street, , England E1 6LZ 020 7251 0848 Visit Website

Sorella

148 Clapham Manor Street, , England SW4 6BX 020 7720 4662 Visit Website

Plaquemine Lock

139 Graham Street, , England N1 8LB 020 7688 1488 Visit Website

Padella

6 Southwark Street, , England SE1 1TQ Visit Website

Berenjak

27 Romilly Street, , England W1D 5AL Visit Website

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