While London is often billed as the culinary capital of the world, only four new restaurants received a Michelin star in the 2020 guide for the UK.
Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes will be celebrating this morning after his supper club-style venue, Maõs in Shoreditch, won its first star 18 months after opening.
Taking an unconventional approach, Mendes sits all his 16 guests together on a communal table in a stripped back dining room within a six-story townhouse.
The menu features 14 courses of progressive cooking influenced by the cuisines of Europe and Asia, such as beef fat aged lobster, fermented sweet potato flatbread, and inoculated wagyu skirt with preserved leaves.
“We opened Mãos with the intention of redefining what it means to visit a restaurant, removing barriers and taking cues from the humble dinner party.
“We are extremely grateful to all our guests, who make each evening their own, and also give our immense thanks to everyone who has supported us over the past couple of years,” said co-founder, James Brown.
Also popping open the Champagne will be Rafael Cagali and Paulo Airaudo, founders of Da Terra, which resides on the former site of Mendes’s Viajante at the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green.
Meaning ‘from the earth’ in Spanish, the tasting menu-focused Da Terra opened in February taking inspiration from the favours of Latin America, Italy and Spain.
“I am over the moon and couldn’t be prouder of our team. Everyone has been working very hard over the past few months and this is testament to their dedication and determination,” Cagali said of the win.
Other restaurants in the capital to scoop their first star this year were Endo at the Rotunda in White City and The Dysart Petersham in Richmond.
Notable emissions from the list this year that seem worthy of a star were Adam Handling’s flagship Frog restaurant in Covent Garden, Launceston Place in Kensington, headed up by the wildly talented Ben Murphy, Tom Brown’s Cornerstone in Hackney and Monica Galetti’s Mere in Fitzrovia.
The biggest shock of the awards ceremony last night was tiny Japanese restaurant The Araki in Mayfair’s spectacular fall from grace. Having held three stars, the nine-seater sushi counter didn’t even appear in the 2020 guide, following head chef Mitsuhiro Araki’s move back to Japan this year.
Other restaurants to have a bad night were dim sum specialist Yauatcha in Soho, Galvin at Windows, headed up by First Dates star Fred Sirieix and Atul Kochar’s Benares in Mayfair, all of which lost their Michelin stars last night.
In happier, albeit surprising news, the big winner of the night was the Lecture Room & Library at Sketch in Mayfair, which moved up from two stars to three.
Hotter favourites for the upgrade were Clare Smyth and Claude Bosi, both of whom currently have two stars at Core and Bibendum respectively.
Anne-Sophie Pic was also seeing stars as her first London venture, La Dame de Pic within the Four Seasons hotel in Tower Hill, moved up from one star to two. Three big name restaurants were removed from the 2020 guide due to their closure – Fera at Claridge’s, Hedone in Chiswick and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden.