Whatever some chefs may say to the contrary, there is no guide that matters more than the Michelin Guide and no higher accolade than the awarding of new Michelin stars. A Michelin star isn’t just an honour, it’s a boost to business at a time when many restaurants are sorely in need of it. This week, the Michelin Guide 2023 announced its results for Great Britain and Ireland, handing out three new two star awards, 20 one star awards, and four green stars in total. London scored well, with two of its top-flight restaurants picking up two stars apiece, four a one star, and one a green star. Here’s our guide to the new constellation of stars shining bright in the capital.
Michelin-starred London restaurants
Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal
It will have come as a surprise to precisely nobody that Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal won two new Michelin stars on its investiture into the Guide Rouge. Dilling has held stars previously in his roles at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught and The Greenhouse, but these stars are all his. London-born Dilling is a man of epicurean tastes. His classically French tasting menu, £175, venerates foie gras, Scottish lobster, truffles, and caviar, in dishes so precisely crafted they might be 3D-printed. Pâté de Campagne, his signature, sounds rustic but, Dilling-style, involves gold-dusted foie gras, boudin, and crisps of lardo-lacquered sourdough. The treasure box of a dining room is discreet enough for a proposal or anniversary celebration.
Hotel Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, Mayfair London W1B 4DY
Brett Graham’s The Ledbury has won back the brace of stars it held before its temporary closure in the lockdown of 2020. The Notting Hill restaurant came back in 2022, with a beguiling new look in marble and mycelium. Graham, who farms his own venison, pigs, beef, and poultry, is known as a produce perfectionist; he even grows his own mushrooms at The Ledbury. The £195 impossibly complex tasting menu, composed by head chef Tom Spenceley, might involve six-year-old Jersey beef (Graham’s own), white asparagus, XO morel and koshu sauce, or forced Yorkshire rhubarb, stem ginger, and green tea millefeuille.
127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2AQ
Cycene, old English for kitchen, is a uniquely immersive experience within James and Christie Brown’s shapeshifting retail and cultural space Blue Mountain School in Shoreditch. It’s hard not to fall for the soothing simplicity of the setting, the bespoke ceramics, and the oak-panelled dining room lit by candlelight. Theo Clench’s thoughtful cooking is fully in tune. The turbot with two sauces, one lettuce, one bone caramel, is an instant classic, and the oyster, poached for an hour and served with caviar, is unforgettable. Sign up to the newsletter to be among the first to hear when the booking window opens for their £175 tasting menu. June reservations, booking from May 1 at noon.
9 Chance Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7JB
A well-deserved new Michelin star for a lovely restaurant. Since opening in 2015, The Clove Club’s Italian sorella has quietly established itself as one of London’s finest Italians, focusing on provenance, the best beef, the best olive oil, the best ricotta. Find classics reimagined such as vitello tonnato with crisp artichokes, celery, capers, and preserved lemon, and sheep ricotta tortelli, with smoked broccoli, cime de rapa, chilli and garlic. The parmesan fries have a cult following. Food aside, you need to know about Luca’s secret garden – heavenly – and the three gorgeous private dining rooms. One of few new Michelin-y places to offer à la carte.
88 St John Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4EH
Bravo, St Barts, straight in with one star just six months after opening. This ‘British tasting menu experience’ hails from the same stable as the endearingly eccentric Nest in Hackney. St Barts is a more ambitious proposition with a £140 menu that takes guests on a gustatory journey around the British Isles, taking in Welsh wagyu, Exmoor caviar, Scottish scallops, Wiltshire truffles, and Hackney honey. Note, a shorter £60 menu is available at lunch. It’s a captivating place to spend time, seated at handmade tables hewn from fallen London plane trees, looking out through floor-to-ceiling windows at the Church of St Bartholomew the Great, London’s oldest church.
63 Bartholomew Close, Clerkenwell, London EC1A 7BG
Dwell not on the cost of eating at Taku in Mayfair, which blasts off from £130 per person and rockets to £380 for the prestige menu (caviar, truffles, and ‘hidden courses’ are promised). There’s no dining experience more personal, more privileged than that experienced at the counter for an omakase menu prepared by a sushi master such as Takuya Watanabe. The Michelin inspectors know Watanabe well from Jin Paris and praise the ‘purity and elegance’ of his sushi. At his 16-seater English oak counter in Mayfair, he shows pristine seafood from Cornwall and Scotland at its simplest and best.
36 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4JE
It would have been an injustice had Apricity in Mayfair not won a Michelin Green Star. Forward-thinking Chantelle Nicholson, its chef patron, is a force for good on London’s restaurant scene. She doesn’t just practise zero waste, champion regenerative agriculture, and serve pickled sprout Martinis at a bar clad of waste timber; she addresses the issue of what sustainability really means for her people. To that end, she’s scrapped tipping, introduced a five-day week, and adopted an 11pm curfew so staff can get home safely. The food has to be good to earn the star too; current highlights include fermented onion tempura, cashew cheese, and winter leaves; butter-poached Cornish pollock, jigged squid and sambal butter.
68 Duke Street, Mayfair, London W1K 6JU