Last month, Opinionated About Dining released their list of the top 50 restaurants in Europe. Only seven establishments from the UK made the list, and only one of these made the top ten! (Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck came in at number eight).
To highlight the quality of the UK’s fine-dining in the face of such disappointing news, travel company Travelzoo has launched a map of the UK’s best fine-dining restaurants, showing where to go in Britain for an elegant night of exquisite food.
The map itself was created with the help of some of the best UK food bloggers, and includes some excellent options for meat-free fine dining – proving yet again that a night of luxury does not have to be all about fillet steak and foie gras. Below is a round up of five of the most exclusive fine-dining restaurants in the UK*, and some information on their meat-free menus:
Pied a Terre, Fitzrovia, London
This two-Michelin-star restaurant in the heart of London has chef Marcus Eaves at the helm, creating dishes that have been meticulously prepared and perfectly executed. The courses on the taster menu include delights like a salad of white asparagus with shaved parmesan, confit meyer lemon and black olive dressing. The atmosphere is sophisticated; the right blend of polite, professional and relaxing.A 10-course vegetarian tasting menu is available from £94 a head.
Manchester House, Manchester
Located in Tower 12, the Manchester House restaurant is not what it first appears to be. The façade of a city tower shouldn’t fool you – inside is Aiden Byrne’s restaurant, serving up luxurious dishes in a comfortable and fun atmosphere. A tasting menu is available for both lunch and dinner and includes a Hot and cold pea soup, pea mousse and lemon emulsion; Braised salsify with artichoke gnocchi and cavolo nero and an Apple and eucalyptus sorbet. A vegetarian 13-course taster menu is available from £95 a head.
The Ledbury, Notting Hill
Located in Notting Hill, The Ledbury received its second Michelin Star with Head Chef Brett Graham at the helm. Brett started his career is Australia in a simple fish restaurant at 15 years old, working up to a role at the Banc restaurant in Sydney where he won the Josephine Pignolet Award. Brett’s background in seafood runs through the vegetarian menu, with dishes like Sliced Turnips with Seaweed and Frozen Horseradish. Although the atmosphere is as professional as you would expect from a restaurant with two Michelin stars, there is a very welcoming and laid back vibe – whether you enjoy a visit at lunch or at dinner. The vegetarian tasting menu starts at £100 a head.
Diners who enjoy their wine as much as their food (most people I know, then) are in safe hands at Texture. Agnar Sverrisson and Xavier Rousset – Head Chef and Head Sommelier respectively – established Texture in 2007 but have a long history working alongside each other and have picked up many awards along the way. Sverrisson grew up in Iceland and as a result, the menu has an obvious Scandanavian influence, using ingredients like skyr, Iceland’s famous yoghurt-like export. The vegetarian tasting menu showcases a modern European style with dishes including New Season English Beetroots with goat’s cheese snow and pistachios. The taster menu starts at £72 a head (with five complementing wines available for £52).
Blue Elephant, Imperial Wharf, London
Using the freshest ingredients and exotic fusions, Head Chef Khun Noroor Somany Steppe has created a collection of authentic Thai vegetarian dishes for Blue Elephant’s tasting menu. Using a mix of traditional methods and innovative flavour combinations, the Blue Elephant has reached global success with 12 sister restaurants around the world. One of the most popular vegetarian dishes is the Doi Kham Eggplant Salad which was invented during Khun’s collaboration with the Royal Project, using vegetables and herbs from the farm at Doi Inthanon National Park – where I have actually been trekking! The dish basically consists of a purple eggplant salad with towhu, herbal spice and a hint of truffle oil. The vegetarian tasting menu is available from £38.00 per person.
Find out more: Travelzoo have launched a fine-dining map showing 200 of the best restaurants all over the UK, with recommendations from the UK’s best foodie bloggers. Click here to find out more.