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AA gives top marks to six regional restaurants

19 January 2006
AA gives top marks to six regional restaurants

It has been a good year for diners outside the capital, with all six of the AA's new four-rosette ratings going to restaurants in the regions.

The number of counties with at least one four-AA-rosette restaurant has soared from eight to 13 over the past 12 months.

"The regions are flexing their culinary muscles more and more and establishing a local customer base that will support that level of cooking," said Peter Birnie, AA chief hotel and restaurant inspector.

This view was echoed by Sat Bains, who scooped four rosettes for his Nottingham restaurant, which reopened last May after he bought the boutique hotel that housed it.

"In the past few years, food has become very prevalent in people's lives," Bains said. "A year ago people would travel to the capital to eat well. Now they can eat as well in the regions as in London."

Restaurant Michael Deane in Belfast - already the city's only Michelin-star holder - became the only four-rosette restaurant in Northern Ireland.

Other four-rosette winners were the Burlington Restaurant in North Yorkshire and Michelin-star holders Midsummer House in Cambridge and Fischer's in Derbyshire.

Pat McDonald's Paris restaurant also won the top number of rosettes. The restaurateur said he also hoped to win Birmingham another Michelin star.

London dominated the three-rosette awards, which included two of last year's newcomers - Gordon Ramsay's Maze restaurant and the Ledbury, owned by Nigel Platts-Martin and Philip Howard.

"It comes as no surprise that Brett Graham] has done so well," Howard said. "He is an unusually talented chef with a phenomenal palate and a very gifted pair of hands."

The Ledbury was also voted Tatler's Best Restaurant earlier this week. Another Platts-Martin restaurant, La Trompette, retained its three rosettes under new head chef James Bennington.

New rosette winners

Four rosettes

  • Burlington Restaurant, Devonshire Arms hotel, Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire(Michael Wignall)
  • Fischers, Baslow Hall, Derbyshire, (Max Fischer/Rupert Rowley)
  • Midsummer House, Cambridge (Daniel Clifford)
  • Paris, Mailbox, Birmingham, West Midlands (Pat McDonald/Richard Turner)
  • Restaurant Michael Deane, Belfast (Michael Deane)
  • Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (Sat Bains)

Three rosettes

  • Jaan, Swisshotel Howard, London (Paul Peters)
  • La Trompette, Chiswick, London (James Bennington)
  • Maze, London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square (Jason Atherton)
  • Morgan M, Islington, London (Morgan Meunier)
  • The Ledbury, Notting Hill, London (Brett Graham)
  • The Orchid, Corbyn Head hotel, Torquay (Daniel Kay/Marc Evans)
  • The Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmoss, Irish Republic (Raymond McArdle)

By Angela Frewin

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