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London loses lustre in new Michelin Guide

London’s status as one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting dining out cities took a knock today with the publication of the 2008 Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland.

The new Guide failed to award any new three or two rosettes to any restaurant in the four countries: England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Only Tom Aikens and Claude Bosi of Hibiscus, which moved from Ludlow to London three months ago, have any cause for satisfaction at the award of two ‘rising stars’, a category introduced in 2005.

And both would have more cause to feel disgruntled – Aikens at the fact that he again missed out on his widely tipped second star and Bosi that his second star hadn’t travelled with him from the tiny gastronomic centre on the Welsh borders.

Bosi was making a brave face of it, saying that he hadn’t expected a star so quickly. ‘The Michelin Guide went to press two weeks after we opened. So we were very happy to be nominated a ‘rising two star,’ he told decanter.com.

The awards leave London lagging behind New York, Paris and Tokyo in the gastronomic hierarchy with only one three-starred restaurant (Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road) compared to three in New York, 10 Paris and eight in Tokyo.

The city also performs poorly at two star level with only five two-starred restaurants compared to six in New York, 13 in Paris and 25 in Tokyo.

The guide continues to recognise the performance of London’s ethnic restaurants, awarding a star to Quilon which makes it the fifth Indian restaurant in the city to hold a Michelin star.

Other gains include Wild Honey, which joins its sister restaurant Arbutus as a one starred restaurant and La Trompette which gives restaurateur Nigel Platts-Martin Michelin stars for all his five London restaurants – The Square (which has two stars), Chez Bruce, The Ledbury and The Glasshouse.

Oddly there is no star for Scott’s which won the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award at the Tatler Louis Roederer Restaurant Awards earlier this week.

Outside London the chef to watch is Nathan Outlaw at the Marina Hotel in Fowey in Cornwall which gained both one star and a ‘rising two’.

Outlaw was also ranked by the Good Food Guide as having the 12th best restaurant in the country. His previous restaurants The Black Pig and the St Ervan Manor in Padstow also had a Michelin star.

There are also two new one star awards in Dublin for Mint and Bon Appetit, bringing the city’s tally of one starred restaurants to five.

Casualties of this year’s guide, losing their only star, include Winteringham Fields which at one stage used to have two stars, The Orrery and The Savoy Grill.

Although 15 new restaurants have acquired a star this year, the 14 deletions and the relocation of Hibiscus which had two stars leave Britain and Ireland with a net loss of one Michelin star.

Written by Fiona Beckett

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