Its menu famously offers diners a choice of quail jelly and nitro-poached cocktails, roast foie gras and whisky wine gums. But the Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, has slipped from number five on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list to number 13 – the first time since 2004 that it has been outside the top 10.
Heston Blumenthal, chef at the Fat Duck, was absent from Monday’s award ceremony at London’s Guildhall because of commitments in Australia, but if consolation were needed, it came with the performance of his first London venture, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – which was the highest new entry at number nine.
The top three – Noma in Copenhagen, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona and Mugaritz in San Sebastián – were unchanged from their positions last year, although the mercurial Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz, which serves “edible stones” and hazelnut stew, had been widely tipped to rise.
In the lower echelons of the list, compiled by Restaurant magazine, some of London’s stalwarts found disappointment. Le Gavroche, Hibiscus and Hakkasan all fell.
The influential St John, where chef Fergus Henderson championed the now-popular “nose-to-tail” cuts of meat, dropped from the list altogether, from its previously comfortable perch at number 41.
Australian Brett Graham, whose chic Ledbury restaurant in Notting Hill was last year number 34, was the highest climber to number 14. Monday was particularly busy for the chef, who also catered for a party at 10 Downing Street for the “Food is Great” campaign to promote the British hospitality industry, worth about £46bn to the UK each year.
London is increasingly talked about as one of the most exciting places in the world to eat, with high-profile restaurateurs such as New York’s Danny Meyer tipped to open here this year.
Ferran Adria, the Spanish chef who for many years topped the ‘50 Best’ until he closed his restaurant El Bulli in 2011, also announced this week that he wants to open a cocktail and tapas bar in London, tentatively called 41 Degrees.