Top Ten Restaurants of Twenty Eleven

I was again asked by the nice people at TopTable to come up with a list of my top restaurants for 2011. However, this year’s list posed a dilemma. Rather than featuring ten restaurants as was the case for the 2010 list, I could only table a list of my top five for TopTable! With so many great dining options in London, how does one whittle down to a list of only five best eats?

So I decided to list my top ten restaurants on my blog anyway. Reliving some great memories along the way, and taking into consideration not just food but price, the overall experience, etc, here are the restaurants that I have come up with. Restaurants one to five were also featured on TopTable in December 2011.

1) Dinner

Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner is setting the London dining scene alight with its modern take on British cuisine. The superlative cooking in the sumptuous surrounds of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel makes Dinner a restaurant that’s hard to beat. There’s something for everyone and that meat fruit is to die for.

2) Roganic

Roganic is the brainchild of Simon Rogan, and if it is anything to go, then Rogan’s original L’Enclume Restaurant must surely be a gastronomic paradise as well. Roganic is innovative, inspired and creative. It’s hard to believe that its head chef, Ben Spalding, is only 25 years old.

3) Texture

In the last few years Texture has truly come into its own. Head Chef Agnar Sverrisson’s food is sleek, stylish and cool, no doubt attributable to his Icelandic roots. Texture also boasts one of the best champagne collections in London – perfect if champagne is your poison.

4) José

The food at José is truly fantastic. The no-booking policy and the fact that the restaurant is virtually standing-room only can be a tad annoying. But when José Pizarro works his culinary magic to extract every ounce of flavour from the simplest of ingredients, this can make for a truly joyous experience. So simple, but so good.

5) Nopi

A heady blend of Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean influences, Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi takes the finest culinary aspects from each of these regions to produce something truly exotic and delicious. If there was one restaurant that could make a meat eater turn vegetarian, then Nopi would be it. The desserts are also to-die-for.

6) French Laundry at Harrods

If this restaurant wasn’t just a pop-up, it would have featured higher on the list. This was a once in a lifetime experience. The highlight dish of oysters and pearls was exquisite. This was a cultured dining experience and getting to meet Thomas Keller himself was a dream.

7) Street Kitchen

Simple but so good. Behind this mobile eatery are two of the best chefs in London. The cooking is great, and their philosophy of reliable sourcing goes a long way in bringing the best and freshest of ingredients to produce the most wonderful of meals.

8 ) Spuntino

This has to be THE coolest restaurant in London at the moment. The food could be more refined, but you wouldn’t necessarily turn down a chance to eat at Spuntino with its easy, chilled out vibe. If you go, the cakes are a must.

9) The Greenhouse

The champagne house of Laurent-Perrier and one Michelin star restaurant The Greenhouse joined forces in November 2011 to come up with a festive champagne pairing menu. Antonin Bonnet cooked an incredibly elegant and technically flawless meal for us. The champagnes were a perfect match.

10) Chutney Mary

I was mightily impressed with the technique on show during my visit. Not only was the cooking solid, the spicing was spot-on. Married with excellent produce, and you have a winner. What a wonderful, wonderful place to go to for refined Indian cooking.


la vie

And for my top meal outside of the UK, this accolade goes to la vie in Osnabrück, Germany. In November 2011, la vie received its much deserved third Michelin star for its wonderful, innovative cuisine. Congrats to Chef Thomas for this wonderful achievement – your skrei tartare was to-die-for.

Finally, if you want to also check out my list of top ten UK restaurants of 2010, click here. It featured on TopTable in December 2010.