Restaurants thrilled with Bib Gourmands after tough two years of trading

11 February 2022 by
Restaurants thrilled with Bib Gourmands after tough two years of trading

Chefs and owners of restaurants awarded Bib Gourmands in the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2022 have said they hope the accolade will help attract new customers after a difficult trading period.

Today (11 February) 16 venues received Bib Gourmands, which recognise both quality and value of food and are awarded to those offering three courses for under £30.

Angus Davies, landlord of the Hollist Arms in Lodsworth, West Sussex, told The Caterer he was surprised "to even be on Michelin's radar".

"[Michelin] posted on their Twitter account that they'd been here, which was a bit of a surprise," he said.

"It's been the toughest two years hospitality has ever known. I started the pub in October 2020 so had one month's trading, one month closed, then a few weeks trading until it was another lockdown.

"Christmas this year people were told not to go out, but hopefully things will get back to normal. Winning something like this is going to help attract new staff and customers in the community."

Imad Alarnab, a chef and Syrian refugee who opened his restaurant Imad's Syrian Kitchen in London in 2020, said the award made him "beyond happy".

"The last few months have been so challenging due to the staff shortage and it was really affecting me - to get this award made me forget about all the stress and made it so worth it," he said.

"This brings so much joy to all the team and me; I forgot about all the work behind it and I am so grateful - this just made my year, not only my day!"

Indian restaurant Pahli Hill in London's Fitzrovia opened in 2020 and had to close shortly afterwards due to the pandemic.

Head chef Avinash Shashidhara (pictured) said he was "very pleased" with the award after opening the restaurant "in the hardest of times".

"I'm so very proud of the team; for their hard work and support, and I look forward to welcoming both new guests who might discover us and old ones that have continued to support us since we have opened," said Shashidhara.

Raz Helalat, owner of Brighton's Burnt Orange, which opened last summer, said the award had come "out of the blue" and the team were "bouncing off the walls".

He said: "What an amazing thing for them after going through so much. We opened in June right on the cusp of lockdown and the pingdemic. There were such shortages of staff, on one team we lost half our chefs, so it's been a bit of a rollercoaster.

"December was incredibly tough for everyone thinking we might be going into another lockdown. But it feels like all the pain of the last six months has been worthwhile."

South East Asian-inspired restaurant Ka Pao opened in early 2020 and was one of two Glasgow restaurants to receive a Bib Gourmand, after being recommended in the guide last year.

A spokesperson for Ka Pao said the team was "quite humbled" by the award, adding: "It's such a great reward for the team's focus and dedication over the past year, we're very proud of all of them."

In Ireland, Everett's in Waterford was one of three new venues to receive a Bib Gourmand. The restaurant was opened in 2018 by chef Peter Everett and his partner Keith Noonan.

Noonan said the whole team was "thrilled" with the awards, adding: "We have had wonderful local support since opening our restaurant and are hugely thankful. We're very proud of our city and have excellent suppliers in the surrounding county, so are in a really lucky position."

Michelin will reveal the full list of new starred restaurants via a virtual announcement on 15-16 February. We asked chefs, restaurateurs and food critics for their predictions on who might win a star, which can be viewed here.

In total there were five Bib Gourmands awarded to restaurants in London, six across the rest of England, two in Scotland and three in the Republic of Ireland. There were no new additions for Wales or Northern Ireland.

To see the full list of new Bib Gourmands click here.

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