It has been a bumper year for restaurants since the 2022 Michelin ceremony. Over the last 12 months restaurants have opened with increasing speed and vigour, while established favourites have undergone renovations and diners have returned with abounding joy. The aftereffects of Covid may still be felt, but around the country, the calibre of cooking has never been better. 

Two-starred additions

Tonight's Michelin star revelation ceremony for the UK and Ireland was evidence of that. While there were no new additions to the group of venues to hold the coveted three stars, new venues to join the much-desired ranks of two-starred restaurants included Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal and The Ledbury in London, as well as Dede in Baltimore, Ireland.

The honour is well deserved for both London venues, with neither exactly a surprise inclusion in the UK and Ireland's two-starred list: Alex Dilling's brand of thoughtful modern British cooking had him tipped for two, while Brett Graham's beautifully reimagined and relocated Ledbury – which was one of the first major casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic's closures – was expected to rejoin the list at the first time of asking.

One-starred additions

Gaining their first Michelin star ever were London restaurants Luca, the sister venue to The Clove Club in Shoreditch, Theo Clench's Cycene in Blue Mountain School in Shoreditch, the excellent Restaurant St Bart's, also in Clerkenwell, and Japanese restaurant Taku on Albemarle Street.

And outside of the capital, new one-starred restaurants included Solstice by Kenny Atkinson and House of Tides, both in Newcastle upon Tyne, The Timberyard in Edinburgh,  The Samling in Ambleside, The Tudor Pass in Egham, , Sō–Lō in Aughton, Àclèaf in Plymouth, Ben Wilkinson at The Pass, in Horsham, Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Lumière in Cheltenham, Restaurant Twenty-Two in Cambridge, Heft in Newton in Cartmel, Store in Stoke Holy Cross, Pentonbridge Inn in Penton and Heron in Leith.

Closing up the list were another star for Nathan Outlaw, as Outlaw's New Road in Port Isaac bagged one; the excellent Terre in Castlemartyre, County Cork, and the sustainability-focused Grace & Savour at Hampton Manor in Hampton in Arden.

Green machines

Of course the Michelin Guide isn't only about its main prize – in recent years its Green Stars have been given to restaurants that have pushed the boundaries in terms of sustainability. Four new Green Stars were awarded this year: to Chantelle Nicholson's Apricity, Crocadon in St Mellion, Culture in Falmouth and former Portland head chef Merlin Labron-Johnson's Osip in Bruton.

Go Bib or go home

Last but not least are the Bib Gourmands – the award given to restaurants offering great food at a more accessible price point. The full list is too numerous to mention, but among the London standout additions were Hām in Highgate, as well as Plaza Khao Gaeng, Evernight and The Pelican. There were 20 new additions out of 116 total Bib Gourmand restaurants.

The conclusions

This could have been the first year the Michelin Guide had downgraded the number of stars a restaurant on the list is awarded since the pandemic in the UK and Ireland – something that caused quite a stir at the awards for the Michelin Guide's France edition, when big-name chefs like Guy Savoy and Christopher Coutanceau lost stars at the 2023 awards.

Happily, aside from St James's restaurant Seven Park Place, The Woodspeen pub and one or two others that had closed or undergone major changes, it wasn't to be – this was an awards ceremony that largely kept the restaurateurs and chefs happy – no notable omissions and nothing to argue with the new additions. And London gained five new starred venues and one deserved re-entry to boot. Our advice? Book now before the phone lines are ringing off the hook.

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