Restaurant Nathan Outlaw tops the Good Food Guide 2019

The Staff Canteen

The restaurant awarded the top spot in The Good Food Guide for the second year running is Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall, achieving a perfect cooking score of ten for the third year in a row.

The Port Isaac seafood restaurant has been crowned number one thanks to Nathan’s ‘confident cooking’ and ‘knack for deploying first-rate seafood to its ultimate advantage’. 

Nathan Outlaw says the news is 'just mind-blowing' and he is 'grateful to each one of his fantastic team for their commitment and hard work'.

The Good Food Guide 2019 by Waitrose & Partners Editors' Awards

Chef of the Year has been awarded to Gareth Ward at his restaurant Ynyshir in Powys, which has climbed seven places (in the Top 50) since last year, from twelfth place to fifth. He’s commended in the Guide, with Elizabeth Carter saying: "I was as impressed by the sheer enthusiasm and skill as by the fiercely seasonal Welsh produce which Gareth Ward’s industrious kitchen bakes, pickles, ferments, cures and bottles. He delivers flavour in small punchy bites. Eighteen courses later, I predict you’ll be in complete agreement that this is one of our most brilliant, innovative chefs."

047 Gareth Ward (21 01 17).jpg.640x480 q80
Gareth Ward

Chef to Watch has been named as Alex Bond from Alchemilla in Nottingham. His artistry and skill creating delicious plant-based food captured the attention of inspectors. The Guide recognises that Alex, a protégé of Sat Bains, ‘is demonstrating enormous skill every day at Alchemilla’ with the chef ‘showing glimpses of magic from a restaurant gathering momentum’.

Restaurant of the Year goes to A. Wong in Victoria, London, a ‘game changing Chinese restaurant’ with dishes and flavours that have ‘redefined the notion of Chinese cooking in London... with a revelatory menu that’s an intelligent selection from different regions’.

Best New Entry, UK is The Moorcock in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, with a cooking score of 5. The traditional-looking country pub is located at the top of 250 acres of moorland and features its own organic kitchen garden, demonstrating ‘a masterclass in the new British cuisine with the focus on brilliant seasonal ingredients and in-vogue preservation techniques’.

Best New Entry, London is Tom Brown's Cornerstone in Hackney Wick, London. The seafood-focused venture is celebrated by the Guide as a ‘smash hit that is seriously on-the-up’.

Tom Brown
Tom Brown, Cornerstone

Best for Sustainability Angela’s in Margate, Kent. The restaurant’s formula of ‘impeccable sourcing, minimised waste and pared-back cooking has proved a triumph’. The kitchen team works with the local community to reduce the amount of waste they produce that might otherwise end up in landfill. 

He said: "My aim has always been to offer customers food cooked simply but with subtle layers of flavour and to make a visit to Restaurant Nathan Outlaw an experience to remember, for not only the food, but also for the professional and welcoming hospitality our Front of House team provide. 

"Restaurant Nathan Outlaw embodies everything I’d want in a restaurant as a customer, and it seems that other people like it that way too!"

Clare Smyth's restaurant Core is the Guide's highest ever new entry. She appears in the top 10 at No.3 and receives a perfect cooking score of 10, joining Restaurant Nathan Outlaw and Simon Rogan's L'Enclume. Another new entry to the top 10 is Ynyshir in Powys, whose chef Gareth Ward has been given the Editors' Award for Chef of the Year.

Absent from the Guide for two years, Clare, who previously headed the kitchens at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, is back with a smash hit and said: "We are absolutely blown away by the news. It is wonderful to receive this kind of endorsement from such a well respected and loved guide. It is so good to know that people appreciate what we have all been working so hard for at Core."

Clare Smyth MBE, Michelin Best Female Chef Award, Core by Clare Smyth,
Clare Smyth 

The Top 50 Restaurants in the Good Food Guide 2019 

1 Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall (10)
2 L’Enclume, Cumbria (10)
3 Core by Clare Smyth (10) New
4 Restaurant Sat Bains, Notts (9)
5 Ynyshir, Powys (9)
6 Claude Bosi at Bibendum, London (9)
7 Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London (9)
8 Casamia, Bristol (9)
9 Pollen Street Social, London (9)
10 The Fat Duck, Berkshire (8)
11 Moor Hall, Lancashire (8)
12 Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Tayside (8)
13 Adam Reid at The French, Manchester (8)
14 Bohemia, Jersey (8)
15 Le Champignon Sauvage, Glos (8)
16 Restaurant Story, London (8)
17 André Garrett at Cliveden, Berkshire (8)
18 The Ledbury, London (8)
19 Fraiche, Merseyside (8)
20 Roganic, London (8) New
21 Midsummer House, Cambridgeshire (8)
22 Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London (8)
23 The Peat Inn, Fife (8)
24 Marcus, London (8)
25 Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (8)
26 The Kitchin, Edinburgh (7)
27 Forest Side, Cumbria (7)
28 A. Wong, London (7) New
29 Orwells, Oxfordshire (7)
30 Sketch, Lecture Room & Library, London (7)
31 Hedone, London (7)
32 The Ritz, London (7)
33 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh (7)
34 The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye (7)
35 The Waterside Inn, Berkshire (7)
36 Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire (7) New
37 Restaurant James Sommerin, Glamorgan (7)
38 Whatley Manor, The Dining Room, Wiltshire (7)
39 Matt Worswick at the Latymer, Surrey (7) New
40 The Raby Hunt, Co Durham (7)
41 The Greenhouse, London (7)
42 The Sportsman, Kent (7)
43 Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (7)
44 Artichoke, Buckinghamshire (7)
45 Lake Road Kitchen, Cumbria (7) New
46 Adam’s, Birmingham (7)
47 Morston Hall, Norfolk (7) New
48 Le Gavroche, London (7)
49 The Whitebrook, Monmouthshire (7)
50 Hambleton Hall, Leicestershire and Rutland (7)

Rise of the veggie and vegan menu

As the number of people following vegan and vegetarian diets continues to soar, it seems only natural for restaurants to cater to their needs. For a number of years restaurants have featured vegetarian and vegan dishes on their standard menus, however this year, for the first time, The Good Food Guide will list restaurants that have a dedicated vegan menu.

There has been a rush of new vegetarian, vegan and plant-based openings this year, and although some are yet to hit the mark with their vegan offerings, this year’s guide highlights those worth a visit.

Elizabeth Carter says of the trend for vegan food hitting the mainstream, ‘As far back as 2014, The Good Food Guide noted that some of our top chefs were taking a more vegetable-focused approach, with meat playing a bit part. Chefs such as Alexis Gauthier, who is looking to transition to an entirely vegan menu by 2020, are paving the way. Following a plant-based diet is neither a trend nor a fad, but a lifestyle choice which is set to shift up a gear in the years to come.'

The chefs serving diners well include Tom Oldroyd who runs meat-free Mondays at his tiny self-named restaurant in Islington, and Alexis Gauthier (a vegan convert), who offers high-gloss modern French tasting menus in vegan and non-vegan versions at Gauthier Soho.

Gauthier comments, ‘2018 was a pivotal year because it was the first which allowed me to express my creativity through plants while growing my business. I see the demand growing by the day and there are services where our entire dining room is 100% vegan. I have never witnessed such a drastic change in dining habits and menus over the last 20 years as a London chef and restaurateur.’

Bristol’s Box-E, which runs ticketed vegan takeovers in its harbourside shipping container is another example of a fantastic restaurant drawing in vegan diners and The Olive Tree in Bath is also up there with its Vegan Seven menu.

Vegetarians are starting to get a lot more love, too. As to be expected, top-end restaurants have long offered good choice via dedicated tasting menus, yet now we see more affordable places coming in to the mix, offering imaginative multi-course meat-free menus. Among this year’s new entries, The Small Holding in Kent and Liverpool’s Röski stand out.

Waste not, want not

Waste is the subject that has been on everyone’s lips in 2018. From plastic packaging to food waste, it’s the talking point that - rightly - shows no sign of abating. Each industry has its own challenges when trying to reduce waste and there are some real trailblazers on the restaurant scene who are leading the pack in this area.

In Brighton, Douglas McMaster’s Silo, with its ‘reuse, reduce, share, repeat’ mission statement, claims to be the country’s first zero waste restaurant and others are starting to follow suit. At Spring in Somerset House, Skye Gyngell has developed a pre-theatre‘ Scratch Menu’ using kitchen scraps, vegetable trimmings, leftover cheese or yesterday’s bread to craft dishes from ingredients that might otherwise be wasted.

It’s a similar story at Angela’s in Margate, the Editors’ Award winner for Best for Sustainability, where what little isn’t used in the kitchens is turned into compost for a community gardening project.

More and more restaurants are showing a willingness to transform what might have once been described as ‘waste’ into lovely things to eat, a trend that The Good Food Guide predicts is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Tickets please!

A trend the GFG has seen increase in popularity this year is the concept of pre-payment. With online booking systems the norm nowadays and restaurants experiencing no-shows from would-be diners on a regular basis, could paying for your meal AFTER you’ve eaten become a thing of the past?

Paying for your meal up front, as you would with theatre or concert tickets seems sensible, particularly popular with some high-end eateries and those offering set menus, putting the responsibility of an empty table in the hands of the diner rather than the restaurant.

But will it soon become a custom of days gone by to pay after your meal? The Good Food Guide thinks not, but it’s certainly a notion that is on the rise.

Deciphering dining out

While the majority of restaurants are keen to ensure their diners are able to easily browse menus, providing exceptional service when the occasional need for assistance occurs, some eateries are still baffling us with incomprehensible menus.

 Elizabeth Carter, Editor of The Good Food Guide is no fan of ‘those pretentious lists of ingredients devoid of prepositions, participles or conjunctions that you have to ask waiting staff to explain, for “beef, sprouts, coffee” only invites puzzlement and a battalion of questions’.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th September 2018

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw tops the Good Food Guide 2019