Just one restaurant from the UK received an accolade at the inaugural World Restaurant Awards, with recipients hailing from 10 countries competing for awards such as ‘tweezer-free kitchen’ and ‘trolley of the year’.
London’s Noble Rot was the only UK restaurant to feature at the awards which were held last night (18 February) in Paris. Picking up a prize in the small plate category, the Bloomsbury-based eatery won the award for the best ‘red wine serving restaurant’, beating the likes of Le Baratin in Paris and Roscioli in Rome.
The main prize, that of Restaurant of the Year, went to South Africa’s Wolfgat, which is based in a 130-year-old cottage by the sea. The restaurant, which specialises in local seafood and foraged plants, also picked up the Off-Map Destination award.
In Europe, in the big plate section, France’s Le Clarence in Paris took home ‘Original Thinking,’ while La Mère Brazier in Lyon won the Enduring Classic’ award. In the small plate section, Alain Passard, chef and owner of three Michelin-starred L’Arpège in Paris, won the award for best Instagram account of year, and French-born Alain Ducasse of three Michelin-starred The Dorchester, won Tattoo-Free Chef of the Year.
Italy also did well, with Lido 84 overlooking Lake Garda in northern Italy winning ‘House Special’ for its cacio e pepe cooked inside a pig’s bladder, and Reffetorios, which raises awareness of food waste and hunger, taking home the award for ‘Ethical Thinking’.
Ireland was also successful, with Co. Cork vegetarian restaurant Paradiso’s long-standing partnership with Gortnanain farm picking up ‘Collaboration of the Year’ in recognition of nearly two decades of working together.
Fellow Co. Cork business and Irish fine dining institution, Ballymaloe House, picked up ‘Trolley of The Year’ with chef and founder of nearby Ballymaloe Cookery School, Darina Allen, dedicating the award to her mother-in-law, the late Myrtle Allen. Myrtle, who died aged 94 last year, was the former co-owner and head chef of Ballymaloe House, becoming the first female chef to receive a Michelin Star in 1975.
Other winners include Spain’s Mugaritz, which won the Forward Drinking Award for its cellar that holds around 1,600 wines and some 90 sakes; Los Angeles’ Vespertine which won Atmosphere of the Year; Tokyo’s Inua which picked up Arrival of the Year; São Paulo’s Mocotó which took home the No Reservations Required prize; Bangkok’s Bo.Lan which took home the Tweezer Free Kitchen award.
Lisa Abend’s ‘The Food Circus’ for Fool Magazine came out on top in the long-form journalism category, while the Refugee Food Festival held in Paris and across the world was the Event of the Year.
Andrea Petrini, chair of the judging panel, said: “We couldn’t have done this without the support of the fine women and men on the judging panel and the hardworking team of inspectors. They did us proud.”
The 100-strong judging panel was formed of restaurant journalists, influencers and chefs from 37 different countries.
Click here to view Noble Rot’s entry on Wine List Confidential, a guide to London’s best restaurants for wine lovers, published by the drinks business.