The final shortlist for the Restaurant of the Year competition, organised by The Caterer and Seafish UK, has been unveiled following a judging session in central London this week.
The five restaurants, which pride themselves on their use and knowledge of fish and shellfish, were chosen from a longer list of 10 selected restaurants visited by a mystery shopper, a Seafish-appointed auditor, last month.
The top five shortlisted businesses are
- Gamba, Glasgow
- Hix Oyster & Fish House, Lyme Regis
- Outlaw's at the Capital, London
- Rocksalt, Folkestone
- The Jetty, Christchurch
The final five shortlisted restaurants will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in London on 24 June at Benares Restaurant, home of judge Atul Kochhar, at which the overall national winner will be announced.
All five shortlisted restaurants win an all-expenses-paid study trip to Brixham, Devon, later this year, courtesy of Seafish UK, to further hone their knowledge regarding the catching, processing, supply and transfer of seafood from the south west of England to other parts of the UK, and to meet a range of key industry players and experience some of the world's freshest and tastiest seafood.
The winner will receive a bespoke trophy for their restaurant and a seafood masterclass course at Billingsgate Seafood Training School. There will also be a range of other prizes, including vouchers to be redeemed against cookery equipment and signed copies of cookery books.
The judging panel is comprised of John Campbell, chef and managing director at the Woodspeen in Newbury; Atul Kochhar, chef and managing director of Benares Restaurant & Bar, London; consultant chef Alfred Prasad (previously with Tamarind Collection and Zaika, London); André Garrett, executive head chef at Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire; Will Smith, co-proprietor, Arbutus Restaurants, London; Xavier Rousset, wine consultant and co-founder of Texture and 28-50, London; and AA group area manager Giovanna Grossi.
Seafish UK is a non-departmental public body (NDPB) set up to improve efficiency and raise standards across the seafood industry, and is also the organiser of the National Fish & Chip Awards, launched in 1988. The awards have gone from strength to strength as more businesses develop fish and shellfish dishes on their menus.
The Restaurant of the Year 2015 was created to find restaurants demonstrating both excellent examples of the cooking and serving of fish and shellfish, as well as evidence of fish and shellfish knowledge among its staff, both front and back of house.