The Good Food Guide (GFG) has revealed its top places to dine in the UK, along with its award winners. For the first time in five years, the guide, published by Waitrose, has announced a new 'number one restaurant'. And it's not just grand dining-rooms across the UK being celebrated, more quirky finds include an eatery housed in a former strip-club and a tiny 12 seater restaurant run by the guide's 'Chef to Watch'.
New number one The restaurant awarded the top spot in The Good Food Guide 2018 is Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall. It has also achieved a perfect score of ten for the second year running. The Port Isaac seafood restaurant has been crowned number one in the UK for being 'the whole package', with its relaxed dining room, a menu carefully crafted around the freshest Cornish seafood, along with perfect service which 'just happens in the most discreet and attentive way'. Outlaw takes the title of Britain's best restaurant from L'Enclume in Cumbria after their four years at the summit. However, Simon Rogan's L'Enclume still retains a perfect ten score for its 'fiercely seasonal ingredients' and 'knockout dishes'.
Speaking about the newly crowned number one restaurant, Waitrose Good Food Guide Editor, Elizabeth Carter said, “Nathan Outlaw's food is characterised by the absolute freshness of ingredients and a clear sense of purpose. He has done an enormous amount to educate and encourage the public appetite for fish, driven by his supply of impeccably fine ingredients, and a special talent for creating unique and thrilling fish dishes. Moreover, nobody seems to leave Nathan Outlaw's staff – they just go and work in another one of his restaurants. They obviously think he's a pretty good boss as well as a fine chef.”
Outlaw says, “We've always been proud to have a place in the listings, but to hear that Restaurant Nathan Outlaw has made it to No 1 is phenomenal. I'd say the award has come due to the hard work and dedication of our team who have now been working together for a decade. It just goes to show that if you stay true to yourself, get your head down, look after your customers and use the very best ingredients available to you, you'll make it to the top.”
Dining discoveries Alongside the finest dining establishments, the GFG also champions more unusual eateries that you may not find in more traditional restaurant guides. In addition to anonymous inspections, the GFG's research list is based on the huge volume of feedback received from readers and this helps uncover new foodie finds every year.
This year's edition features four new entries housed under railway arches: Umezushi in Manchester; Hart's Bakery in Bristol; and Bala Baya and El Pastor, both in London.
Also new to the GFG this year is Vice and Virtue, a Leeds' restaurant located in a former strip club. With its Art Deco style interior, this venue is now poles apart from its previous life - it now serves up three tasting menus, with dishes including 'perfect' lobster ravioli and organic apple strudel.
And in Devon you'll find Ode & Co in a posh holiday park above the sea on the Teign Estuary. Run by husband and wife team Tim and Clare Bouget, this eatery has a real focus on local ingredients, with their pizzas cooked in a recycled oven and made with organic Devon flour, topped with local cheese. The GFG has celebrated fine food in a holiday park before. The Marram Grass Cafe found on a caravan site in Anglesey, was featured two years ago.
Says Elizabeth Carter, Waitrose Good Food Guide Editor, “Once again the readers of theguide have pointed our experts towards some brilliant eating in unexpected places. Whether it's fine-dining in a former strip-club, sushi under a railway arch or a fish supper in a shipping container, we find and celebrate culinary flair in all its forms. With this year's new entries including an 'ecological canteen' constructed from renewables in a holiday park, and a former town library playing host to one of Devon's best new openings, The Good Food Guide continues in its mission to uncover great cooking whatever the venue, wherever the talent. We think that eating out should be fun – and that's something these restaurants deliver in spades.”