Tuesday, 14 December 2010

My top 10 restaurants of 2010

When Toptable recently asked me to provide them with a list of my top 10 favourite restaurants of 2010, I thought it would be fairly short easy exercise. In fact it took me bloody ages and involved much furious scribbling (mainly in crayon) fevered bad tempered arguments (with myself) and even some howling.
It was a surprisingly traumatic experience.

As dawn broke, I awoke on the kitchen floor... naked and clutching a screwed up piece of paper containing the following list.

These may not be the best, or the most achingly hip or the newest kids on the block - but I liked them, and they all provided a frigging amazing food experience. I'd visit any of them again in a heartbeat.

So, here it is, my top 10 of 2010.
Spot on? or don't know my arse from my elbow? let me know what you think...

Oh, and if you follow this link - you'll find a load of other lovely and talented food bloggers listing their favourites as well.

Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James Street, Soho, London, W1F 9DE

Fabulously eccentric and glamorous, BBR is in a league of its own when it comes to sheer bonkers opulence, even the toilets are incredible. A unique menu of Edwardian nursery food, Russian dishes and international classics. It’s the craziest menu I’ve ever seen. What’s even crazier is, it works beautifully.

The Restaurant at St Paul's
St Paul's Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD

If you ever take visitors to lunch in London and want them to experience somewhere really British and the beautiful ingredients this island has to offer...take them here, and feel your heart swell with pride. The honey ice and gingerbread sandwich is a must.

The Gurnard's Head
Treen, St Ives, TR26 3DE

Perfect in every way. Beautifully cooked, locally sourced food, an incredible rugged location, a superb (and bargainous) wine list, cheery and friendly staff. It’s basically everything you want a British pub/restaurant to be.

157 Commercial Street, Aldgate, E1 6BJ or 11 Langley Street, London WC2H 9JG

Superb cocktails and top quality steaks. An innovative and eccentric British approach to breakfast/brunch and the best burger in London. Hawksmoor is one of my favourite restaurants anywhere. The new Covent Garden site and the kimchi burger have to be experienced.

The Seahorse Restaurant
5 South Embankment, Dartmouth, TQ6 9BH

Incredibly fresh seafood cooked brilliantly right on the Dartmouth quayside. It has the slick, lived in look of a restaurant that’s been around for years, but is relatively new. Almost worth making the trip to Devon for alone. A real treat.

Great Queen Street
32 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AA

Rustic seasonal food with a real British slant in a bustling Covent Garden restaurant. The emphasis is on shared platters. GQSt is consistently excellent. In particular the whole 7 hour roast shoulder of lamb and the rib of beef for two have to be experienced.

Polpo and Polpetto
41 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SB or upstairs at The French House, 49 Dean Street, London, W1D 5BG

Polpo and its newer, smaller Soho sibling Polpetto offer Venetian ‘baccaro’ style small plates in stylishly shabby and lively settings. The menus are fascinating in the kind of way where you want to order everything. We did.

Patriot Square, London, E2 9NF

Incredibly interesting experimental food cooked by El Bulli trained Chef Nuno Mendez on the site of the former Bethnal Green town hall. The set menu has to be one of the best fine dining lunch bargains in London.

Chilli Cool
15 Leigh Street, London, WC1H 9EW

Incredible Szechuan food, heavy on the chillies with a real offal slant. Tendons, tripe and intestine all featuring on the menu, Chilli Cool is one of London’s ‘must do’ dining experiences. It’s also ridiculously cheap.The sea spicy aubergine is frigging amazing.

Lido Restaurant
Lido Spa, Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2BJ

Eating Middle Eastern and Spanish inspired food whilst overlooking the renovated Victorian swimming baths is a unique experience. Ex Moro chef Freddy Bird serves up a stunning menu featuring a wood fired oven. The set lunch menu is a complete bargain. A must visit if in Bristol.


Anonymous said...

Bob Bob Ricard is my absolute favourite! That place is incredible, makes me feel spoilt and like a lady.

Unknown said...

Some favourites, some I've wanted to try for a while, & others to add to the list... great job Dan!

Food Urchin said...

I was going to have a crack at this myself but I wasn't sure that I had done enough 'eating out' to give a qualified opinion.

Great list, have only been to two, so yes I definitely need to get out more in 2011.

PDH said...

I've not lived down here long enough to even has a crack at a top ten just yet but loving the ideas of where to go tho! They were refurbing St Pauls when I tried to go was vey gutted not had a chance to get back since.

Robert Giorgione said...

Interesting list Dan, but I completely disagree with you on all of them, except Great Queen Street. Then again, everyone has their own taste. My list will be up on www.robertgiorgione.com soon
Best wishes

Greedy Diva said...

Excellent list - and good to see some overlap with mine. Would love to try to The Gurnard's Head.

Anonymous said...

The gurnards head is my local and I agree, but is it right to miss out The led bury or Bistro Bruno.?!

Anonymous said...

Lido better than Flinty Red? Shurely shome mistake?

Dan said...

VintageMacaroon - Totally agree about BBR, love it.

Kanga_Rue - Thanks very much :)

Food Urchin - Thanks mate. Funnily enough, I haven't visited any of the restaurants I planned on eating at in Dec 2009.

Pavel - Really love St Pauls for lunch. Be interesting to read what you think when you've had a chance to visit.

Robert Giorgione - Life would be boring if we all agreed about everything. I look forward to reading your list when you publish it.

Greedy Diva - Thanks Carly. Def some overlap there. I also commend you on your choices, great list!

Annonymous (1) - Afraid it is right to miss out The Ledbury and Bistro Bruno Loubet as I didn't visit them in 2010 so can hardly include them as a favourite. Hopefully next year.

Annonymous (2) - Still haven't visited Flinty Red, so again - can't add it to my top 10 favourites of 2010. Here's hoping I get to visit in 2011.

Unknown said...

Always hard to narrow it to ten but I like these and it is great that you have included a few outside London.

Dan said...

Gourmet Chick - Agreed, it is hard to narrow it down. I've had some great meals outside London, especially now I live in the South West.