There’s only about a dozen stools and no reservations for diners at the counter of Kiln in Soho, just named as the U.K.’s best restaurant. So expect what can be a wait at peak times to get a lot longer.
Kiln, known for guinea fowl jungle curry (£8.50/$11.35) or curried crab, left in its wake three-Michelin-starred establishments such as the Waterside Inn, where you might pay £57 for a starter of pan-fried escalopes of foie gras Grenoble style with caramelised slices of orange. Second place in the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards went to Sabor, a new tapas bar and grill in Mayfair opened by chef Nieves Barragán, formerly of Barrafina, which won in 2015.
Kiln founder Ben Chapman and his team serve a short menu based on Thai regional cuisine, with influences from Myanmar and Yunnan. Most dishes are cooked in an open kitchen using wood-burning ovens and grills.
The Chinese restaurant A Wong placed third. Fourth place was taken by a new entry, Core by Clare Smyth, a smart establishment in Notting Hill opened by the woman who previously held three Michelin stars at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Other new entries included Brat (14th), a Shoreditch grill created by Tomos Parry, who previously headed the kitchen at Kitty Fisher’s.
The Sportsman, the seaside pub that has headed the rankings for the past two years, dropped to ninth place.
The annual list is created by Restaurant, the magazine behind the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, which will be announced in Bilbao on June 19. It’s based on the views of 150 chefs, restaurateurs and food writers, who vote for their best dining experiences over the past 12 months, taking into consideration not only the food, but the staff, atmosphere, music, design and price. I am a voter.
There are other similar lists, including the Good Food Guide and the Harden’s 100, but there is always a stellar turnout of chefs for this list, which was announced at a ceremony in the Hurlingham Club, London. Other awards included Chefs’ Chef of the Year: Barragán, Sabor; Chef to Watch: Tom Brown, Cornerstone; One to Watch: Cornerstone; Wine List: Noble Rot; Restaurateur: Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants; Service: Core by Clare Smyth; Gastropub: The Sportsman; Lifetime Achievement: Raymond Blanc, Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons.