Less than a month since the world’s greatest chefs descended upon London’s Guildhall for what has become the Oscars of the restaurant world, The World’s 50 Best, it was the turn of Britain’s finest to take centre stage.
And for the fourth year we were delighted to judge the Sustainable Restaurant Award at the National Restaurant Awards at the Hurlingham club. This award has turned into something of a tug of war, with the rope being pulled mighty hard in north London and the New Forest. Neither Bruno Loubet nor James Golding is prepared to let go of this great accolade. While Bruno wows customers with his dazzling veg-centric menu at Grain Store, at the back of Kings Cross station, James relies on home-grown meat and veg at The Pig near Brockenhurst.
What both chefs share in spades, is a passion for plating up food with near perfect provenance – and much more besides.
The Pig was the first winner of the first Sustainable Restaurant award in 2012, but had to relinquish the crown to Grain Store just months after it opened with a bang in 2013. The Pig oinked and last year won back the title.
Last night saw Grain Store triumph again. As in past years, we invited all of the Top 100 restaurants, voted for by the NRA academy, to put their sustainability to the test. Grain Store came out on top by achieving the highest score.
Grain Store continues to set the bar very high – almost all of the meat served is organic and/or free range, adheres to a strict sustainability policy when it comes to fish and has an extensive selection of organic, biodynamic and natural wine list. Its energy consumption is kept in check by state of the art technology that monitors and controls its performance and half of the profits from sales of filtered water go to local charities chosen by the staff. That’s a pretty punchy cocktail.
So big congratulations to Bruno and his team at Grain Store.
SRA Members had a terrific night out at the NRAs. In particular, it was a fantastic occasion for Barrafina Adelaide Street – named Britain’s best restaurant. The Spanish restaurant near Trafalgar Square, headed up by chef Nieves Barrag?n Mohacho, also won the title of Best New London Restaurant earlier in the month.
Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles picked up the prize for Best Restaurant in Scotland and Gymkhana was named Best Indian Restaurant. Rick Stein, he of the 40-year-old Cornish restaurant empire, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.