Both Core by Clare Smyth and Hélène Darroze at the Connaught have become London’s newest three-Michelin-starred restaurants. They join The Lecture Room and Library at Sketch, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester as the only other restaurants in the capital with the highest honour. When presented with the award, a visibly shocked Darroze, said: “putain.... I don’t what to say...”
Speaking about Core by Clare Smyth, which the chef opened in Notting Hill three years ago, Michelin’s international guide director Gwendal Poullennec said that Smyth was the “epitome of work ethic and talent ... the ultimate.”
“To have three new three-star restaurants is a historic moment for Michelin,” he added.
London also has three new two-Michelin-starred restaurant and seven new one-star establishments.
This year’s Michelin stars are under more intense scrutiny than normal, largely because many question whether or not they should be awarded at all — restaurant dining rooms in London and across the country are currently closed and have been closed for much of the past year. Poullennec, who has maintained that the stars and Michelin’s inspectors are “supporting” restaurants in their endeavours, said that “I have been heartened by the number of chefs who have called me to ask if we were going ahead with the guide.” To the restaurants and chefs, he said, “we are missing you.”
The guide’s new two-Michelin-starred venues in the capital are A. Wong in Pimlico, Rafael Cagali of Da Terra in Bethnal Green; and Tom Sellers of Restaurant Story in Bermondsey.
“We try to represent China as a whole .... and its three thousands years of gastronomic history,” chef Andrew Wong said.
Among the seven new one-star restaurants in London were: Muse, Pierre Koffmann-alumnus Tom Aikens’ restaurant in Belgravia, which opened in January 2020 and Behind, an 18-seater tasting menu restaurant by Andy Benyon in London Fields, which has only traded for 20 days having opened during lockdown last year, among the most surprising new entries to the Red Guide.
Chef Sameer Taneja accepted a new star for Indian restaurant Benares in Mayfair, while chefs Tom Brown and James Toth picked one up for seafood sharing plates spot Cornerstone in Hackney Wick. Elsewhere, Adolfo de Cecco’s Casa Fofo in Hackney, Daniel Humm, of Eleven Madison Park fame, and Dimitri Magi’s Davies and Brook at Claridge’s in Mayfair, and Victor Garvey’s SOLA in Soho were all awarded their first stars.
In a pre-recorded Zoom video, a surprised Tom Aikens’ said, “Wow, that’s amazing, I’m so happy.”
Among those that were demoted or removed, in the two-star category, Japanese restaurant Umu is now in the guide with just one Michelin star.
There was no change in the three-star rankings but those that were removed from the guide’s one-star rankings altogether included Henrik Ritzen’s Aquavit and Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House. Restaurants that have closed in the past year included The Ledbury, The Greenhouse, Roganic, Alyn Williams at the Westbury, Texture, and The Square.
As a reminder, Michelin’s group of anonymous inspectors award restaurants according to the following criteria: one star (“high quality cooking, worth a stop”), two stars (“excellent cooking, worth a detour”), or three stars (“exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”).
Here’s the full list of stars for London; new stars are denoted with an asterisk and those that have closed or been demoted have been given the strikethrough.
London Restaurants With Three Michelin Stars
“Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught*
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Sketch (The Lecture Room and Library)
London Restaurants With Two Michelin Stars
“Excellent cooking, worth a detour”
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
La Dame de Pic
London Restaurants With One Michelin Star
“High quality cooking, worth a stop”
Alyn Williams at The Westbury
Celeste at the Lanesborough
Davies and Brook*
Endo at the Rotunda
Galvin La Chapelle
The Goring (Dining Room)
Hakkasan Hanway Place
Pied a Terre
Pollen Street Social
Seven Park Place
The Square Texture
Umu *(down from two stars in 2020)