Yesterday evening, Michelin included two new three-Michelin-starred restaurants in its 2021 guide to Great Britain and Ireland: Core by Clare Smyth and Hélène Darroze at the Connaught — both restaurants were moved up from the two-star category in a year that also saw three one-star restaurants promoted to two-star status, plus the inclusion of seven new one-Michelin-starred venues in the capital.
What was not announced, but which was included — per tradition — as a footnote late last night, were those restaurants that were either demoted or deleted from the guide. There had been a suspicion that in the year of the pandemic, with its myriad challenges for the hospitality industry, demotions or deletions would have been scrapped. Michelin itself had after all talked up its new role this year as a “supporter” of the industry.
Still, it is an index which is fundamentally and existentially reliant on being the arbiter of (a version, its version) good and bad and by extension success and failure. And so, after a clutch of both unsurprising promotions and extremely surprising inclusions, the guide left room for a small number of low-key demotions and deletions.
In all there were three demotions for restaurants that remain open, and six deletions because those restaurants had closed.
In the two-star category, Kyoto-inspired, Mayfair restaurant Umu was the only venue to change status in the top two categories — in the 2021 guide demoted to one star.
Those that were removed from the guide’s one-star rankings included Henrik Ritzen’s Scandinavian fine dining restaurant Aquavit in St. James’s, which had held a star since 2017 and Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House, the more casual, industrial three-floor restaurant the Gordon Ramsay alumnus opened with chef lieutenant Paul Hood on Soho’s Poland Street in 2013. It had held its Michelin star since that year.
Elsewhere, six restaurants with one Michelin star closed in 2020/2021 and have therefore been deleted from the guide: Brett Graham’s The Ledbury, in Notting Hill; The Greenhouse, in Park Lane; Simon Rogan’s Marylebone flagship Roganic, Alyn Williams at the Westbury Hotel on Conduit Street in Mayfair; Aggi Sverrisson’s Texture, also in Marylebone; and The Square, helmed most recently by chef Clement Leroy, also in Mayfair.
On Michelin’s also-ran — often very good restaurant — list of Bib Gourmands, just one restaurant was removed: Blixen, the all-day brasserie in Spitalfields, which a representative at Michelin said had permanently closed.