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Michelin 2011 – guess who?

by Ross Bruniges on January 13th, 2011

Next week the Michelin guide hands out their 2011 awards for the 100th time. After reading a very well written piece on the meaning of Michelin stars to a restaurant and their customers at Elizabeth on Food and seeing the chefs predictions over on Richard Vines Bloomberg column and remembering I have eaten at and therefore have a valid opinion on them I thought I could note down a few thoughts.

Moving up

There seemed numerous calls for The Square to make it to 3 star and I have to totally agree. Not only is the food amazing but the service is superb. On a day when I was randomly walking around London dressed in my standard jeans, t-shirt and trainers (yellow trainer at that) I was welcomed in for an early lunch (I decided on-route I deserved a treat) as if I were wearing a suit the same as all the other clientele; I was even given the same table as my first visit (though I am guessing this was a fluke).

Tuna Seared with Acacia Honey and Black Pepper with a Salad of Walnut and Celery, Walnut Mayonnaise and Puffed Wild Rice from Pied à Terre

There were also number of calls for Pied à Terre to receive such an accolade, a place I marked down for my birthday dinner in 2009. The tasting menu certainly left my mouth feeling pleased and the dining room was relaxed but I do believe that The Square is a rather superior, at least it was for me. I wouldn’t put the two on a level but I guess when the ceiling is set at 3 there is room for movement amongst all who reside there. After seeing David Moore’s iron fist on numerous episodes of The Restaurant I am sure that he has got the place as consistent a dining experience as you can find.

Anjou pigeon, chargrilled, sweetcorn, BACON popcorn, red wine essence from Texture

I was very pleased to see Texture gain a star last year and while I’ve not been back since my meal there in 2009 the service (who for some reason thought I was in the food industry) was very welcoming and the food extremely impressive and artfully presented. Anywhere that serves bacon popcorn is onto a winner if you ask me. Having now eaten in a few 2 starred places I would class my meal there on the same level and I’d tip them for a bump up.

New arrivals

The notable names I saw pop up a few times included Trinity, Odettes, Galvin La Chapelle, La Petite Maison and recent favourite of mine Viajante.

I have mixed memories about Trinity with it being the last proper meal my Dad ate before being taken into hospital. The Sunday lunch meal was great and while the food was clearly bringing in visitors from afar it still had the feel of a nice local restaurant. The same can be said for Odettes which seems to now be causing a bit of buzz (probably off the back of a Jay Rayner review in the Guardian) though being open for a while. I think both are deserving of 1 star though hope that doesn’t cause their restaurant vibe to change too much as for me that was a large part of their charm.

Braised pig's cheek, ox tongue, parsnip chips and Swiss chard from Odettes

Viajante I am sure if a shoe in for listing as the cooking is inventive, skilled and unique, you’re not going to find a similar meal in London. The question is how much higher can it go once that first star is received? I would say 2 would be in their grasp in a few years if the creativity can continue and I hope it does.

Had a great meal at La Petite Maison a while back with their trademark roast black leg chicken with foie gras being the star of the show and their sharing concept makes it stand out from restaurants serving similar food. It’s a great place to go and for that reason probably deserving of a star but looking at their current menu nothing much has changed in the past few years. Why after all these years open would they suddenly get rewarded? Thinking back to that chicken has got me feeling really hungry I must admit…

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