Michelin will reveal London’s new Michelin stars for 2022 next week, on 16 February. Being the first “Michelin star revelation” for two years in which the restaurant world feels even remotely “normal,” it won’t just be a bellwether for those awarded, but for how the guide is pitching itself for the coming years. Last year, it promised its stars would “support” restaurants, but it still took some away. Using the Michelin Guide’s new monthly additions; a wealth of previous experience, and because it’s Michelin, some really weird thinking, here’s what London diners might expect to see.
Note: This mysterious, mercurial, perplexingly influential index is notoriously difficult to predict, so while the below is based on rational analysis, it is by definition undermined by Michelin’s opaque criteria and its anonymous inspectors’s personal predilections, which do differ from year to year.
Notable “monthly additions” and potential one Michelin Stars
BiBi — Chef Chet Sharma’s link up with JKS Restaurant, the group behind Michelin-starred Gymkhana, Trishna, Kitchen Table, and Sabor has earned plaudits from all the right places, appearing to have astutely paired creativity and modern expressions of Indian culinary traditions and flavour profiles with some of the fine dining techniques associated with modern European gastronomy. It has been open for less than a year, but in recent guides such youth has not prevented the guide’s inspectors from handing out stars.
Sumi — Sushi master Endo Kazutoshi has opened this elegant, wood-panelled companion to his Michelin-starred counter in White City, Endo at the Rotunda, at 157 Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill, in 2021. Since, it has been praised for its flawless presentation of comparatively affordable high-quality sushi. Kazutoshi is one of the city’s most gifted sushi chefs and has previous with Michelin. A star for Sumi would surprise no one.
Evelyn’s Table — A restaurant which ticks almost all of Michelin’s boxes: “Intimate 12 seater counter dining experience.” A charming back-story, a family business, led by head chef Luke Selby and his two brothers, Nat and Theo, which according to its website serves “an evolving menu built on their formative experiences — a melded love of British produce, Japanese techniques with classic French training.”
France, Japan, and Britain? Oui, chefs.
Luke Selby’s CV is covered in Michelin stars, too: Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin-starred Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, three-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, one-starred (now-closed) Dabbous and Hide Above (one star), and three-star Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo.
Two Michelin stars
Kol — New entries at two star aren’t common but are much less infrequent than in year’s past. Yes, notable recent examples — like Bibendum and Core by Clare Smyth — have had deep connections and previous with Michelin, but chef Santiago Lastra’s Mexican-British expression of fine dining — on top of his history with Noma — fits the profile of a modern Michelin inclusion: balancing atypical in its locale with creativity, luxury, and location.
Endo at the Rotunda — Excellence at this level in London is scarce; luxury at this level is catnip for the inspectors. A safe bet for the gambling observer.
Ikoyi — Like Kol, the ingenuity of the chefs along with a narrative approach to reimagining a cuisine in a new context, is likely to charm the inspectors. Like Kol, there’s enough luxury and conventional hospitality here to satisfy the antediluvians in charge of distributing the stars. Presentation, too, is exquisite. Unlike Kol, Ikoyi already has a star, so its jump would be less daring for the guide.
The Clove Club — Will the Clove Club, finally, finally reached its desired status and become Shoreditch’s first ever two-Michelin-starred restaurant? After more than a year of stepping back, reconsidering its approach to fine dining, 2022 could be chef Isaac McHale’s year.
Others in contention: Hide Above; the Ritz; Mãos.
Three Michelin stars
The most capricious Michelin star category of them all. If understanding what restaurants need to do to earn one star is mildly confusing, understanding the gap between two-and-three stars can sometimes feel like grasping thin air. Last year, the promotion of Core by Clare Smyth and Hélène Darroze at the Connaught confirmed to expectation; the previous year’s promotion of Sketch... Less so.
Of London’s existing two-starred restaurants, Claude Bosi’s Bibendum — literally named for the Michelin man — feels the most likely candidate for a bump.
Has chef Marcus Wareing got anything left to lose? Has Gordon Ramsay’s turbo charge into the world of fast casual upset the Guide Lords of Fine Dining? Will anyone ever dare to expose the Alain Ducasse Scam and take a long hard look at the Dorchester’s three stars? Is posterity alone still enough to merit Le Gavroche’s inclusion at level two? Who, other than Michelin inspectors and the hosts of (RIP) podcast “The Kitchen Is On Fire,” goes to Céleste at the Lanesborough?
Wildcard new entries
Cafe Cecilia and Sessions Arts Club will be given either one star (or more likely, the less prestigious but always more interesting Bib Gourmand) in a bid for Michelin to stay relevant, get down with what’s hip, and to drown out the inevitable protestations from those disquieters who have, yet again, failed to ignore Michelin’s unignorable revelation.
Eater London’s “Most Michelin” prediction
The Ledbury, open for a month when the guide publishes its 2022 stars, will be back in with two having been taken out of the guide last year because it had closed. Michelin will not feel the need to justify its inclusion, instead accompanying the entry with five simple words familiar to users of the guide: “excellent cooking, worth a detour.”
Check back on Friday 11 February for all the news of the latest recipients of Michelin Bib Gourmands and for the main event, Michelin’s star revelation for the U.K. and Ireland, on Wednesday 16 February from 10 a.m. Eater London will be on hand for all breaking news and subsequent analysis.