Restaurant openings defy economic downturn, says Harden's

30 August 2012 by
Restaurant openings defy economic downturn, says Harden's

Restaurant openings in the capital have increased by a quarter over the past year, despite the continued economic downturn, according to research released by Harden's London Restaurant Guide.

The guide found that in the past 12 months a total of 134 new establishments had opened in London, 25% more than in the previous year, which saw 107 new openings. The recession was also found to have had relatively little effect on closures with 74 last year, well within the normal range for the past seven years (64-87).

Co-editor Richard Harden said that, given the economic gloom, it was inexplicable that the restaurant sector continued to be so buoyant. "The 25% increase this year does represent a rebound from a particularly poor year last year," he added. "But it does seem to be a selective recession as there's no feeling of the momentum dying off."

The research for the 2013 Harden's guide also found that meal prices had increased by 3.5% in the past year, with the cost of an average dinner now standing at £46.55, up from £45.01 last year.

Heston Blumenthal's London restaurant Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge topped the Harden's survey for the best meal, up from fifth place last year and beating the Ledbury and Le Gavroche to second and third places respectively. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, which had topped the survey for the previous three years, dropped to fourth place.

Chez Bruce in Wandsworth has remained Londoners' favourite restaurant for the eighth year, with sister establishment La Trompette in Chiswick in second place, up from sixth last year.

The Wolseley has again topped the list for best business and best breakfast, while Clos Maggiore has remained London's most romantic restaurant and the Anchor & Hope has again been voted best pub.

Oxo Tower continues to be both the most over-priced restaurant and the one offering the most disappointing cooking in London, according to the Harden's survey, which questioned more than 7,500 regular restaurant-goers.

Top Gastronomic Experience
Dinner (5)
2 The Ledbury (3)
3 Le Gavroche (2)
4 Marcus Wareing (1)
5 Chez Bruce (4)
6 Pollen Street Social*
7 The Square (7)
8 Pied à Terre (8)
9 La Trompette (6)
10 L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (-)

Favourite Restaurant
Chez Bruce (1)
2 La Trompette (6)
3 J Sheekey (9)
4 Pollen Street Social*
5 Le Gavroche (7)
6 The Wolseley (2)
7 Le Caprice (3)
8 Galvin Bistrot de Luxe (4)
9 Trinity (10)
10 River Café (-)

Best for Business
The Wolseley (1)
2 The Square (3)
3 The Don (2)
4 Bleeding Heart (4)
5 Galvin La Chapelle (5)
6 Coq d'Argent (6)
7 The Delaunay*
8 L'Anima (7)
9 Scott's (9)
10 Galvin Bistrot de Luxe (8)

Best for Romance
Clos Maggiore (1)
2 La Poule au Pot (2)
3 Andrew Edmunds (3)
4 Bleeding Heart (4)
5 Galvin at Windows (6)
6 Chez Bruce (5)
7 Le Gavroche (8)
8 Le Caprice (7)
9 The Ledbury (9)
10 Galvin La Chapelle (-)

Best Breakfast/Brunch
The Wolseley (1)
2 The Delaunay*
3 Roast (2)
4 Cecconi's (4)
5 Riding House Café*
6 Smiths (Ground Floor) (3)
7 Caravan (7)
8 Automat (5)
9 The Modern Pantry (-)
10 Granger & Co*

Best Bar/Pub Food
The Anchor & Hope (1)
2 Harwood Arms (2)
3 Bull & Last (3)
4 The Anglesea Arms (7)
5 The Thomas Cubitt (8)
6 Canton Arms (4)
7 The Ladbroke Arms (-)
8 Princess Victoria (-)
9 The Orange (5)
10 The Havelock Tavern (-)

Most Disappointing Cooking
Oxo Tower (Restaurant) (2)
2 Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's (1)
3 Dinner (-)
4 The Ivy (3)
5 Les Deux Salons (6)

Most Overpriced Restaurant
Oxo Tower (Restaurant) (1)
2 The River Café (5)
3 Gordon Ramsay (3)
4 Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's (2)
5 Cut*

(* New openings)

By Kerstin Kühn

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