2019’s Michelin stars
It's the accolade that all chefs want – so who's reached for the stars in Somerset and surrounding counties this year?
Hot off the press (or should that be out of the oven?) are this year’s Michelin Guide star ratings. If you’re in search of a fancy-pants dinner (er, always), don’t book anything until you’ve had a peek at our round-up, showing which restaurants in Somerset and surrounding counties have (1 Michelin) stars in their eyes.
Olive Tree, Bath, Somerset (NEW)
In the basement of the elegant, eclectically styled Queensberry Hotel, the winner of Bath’s one and only Michelin star, Chris Cleghorn cooks up Modern British in the Olive Tree restaurant. Thoughtful as well as talented, no one’s left out: amongst his ‘fives’ and ‘sevens’ multi-course tasting menus there are vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free ‘sevens’ too.
The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset
No fancy surroundings – this is a homely Somerset boozer run by brother and sister duo Josh and Holly Eggelton – but the food’s been Michelin star standard since 2011.
Bulrush, Cotham, Bristol (NEW)
Just your average neighbourhood restaurant. Not. Sit downstairs near the kitchen where chef/proprietor George prepares seasonal organic and foraged menus, often using pickled and preserved ingredients. Put me down for the nine-course tasting menu on Fridays and Saturday eves.
This tiny family-run restaurant with just nine tables is housed on the ground floor of an old hospital along Bristol’s waterfront. Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias and his team serve up just one eclectic multi-course tasting menu and advise allowing around three and a half hours to enjoy it to the full – alrighty!
Paco Tapas, Bristol
Just along from Casamina is another arm of the Sanchez-Iglesias family’s empire. This is where Andalucian meets the West Country to create perfect tapas. I’ve got my eye on their vast, almost lobster-sized red Spanish prawns…
Wilks, Redland, Bristol
Owner James ‘Wilks’ Wilkins learned his craft under Gordon Ramsey, the Galvin brothers and triple Michelin starred Michel Bras in France and Japan before setting up on his own. It took just a year to be awarded a Michelin star in 2012. Expect classic flavours, traditional and modern techniques – and an exceptional Sunday roast.
The Bybrook, Castle Combe, nr Bath, Wilts
The Manor House is a five-star luxury country house hotel in the Cotswolds with Rob Potter, previously at Michelin starred Lucknam Park, in charge of The Bybrook restaurant since 2016. Walk off a gourmet lunch in the glorious grounds or picture postcard village – or maybe make a weekend of it?
The Dining Room at Whately Manor, Malmesbury, Wilts
Michelin’s Young European Chef of the Year 2018, Niall Keating, takes his inspiration from around the world including Korean, Japanese and French cuisine. £200 will get you the gastronomic tasting menu with matching wine.
The Park (at Lucknam Park Hotel), Colerne, nr Bath, Wilts
Stupendous 5-star country house hotel (it’s got a mile-long driveway) with a very posh dining room – no ripped jeans or trainers allowed in here – headed up by Hywel Jones. Michelin starred since 2006.
The Red Lion Free House, East Chisenbury, Wilts
Another pub, another county. This time it’s a thatched country pub run by two chefs, just 15 mins drive from Stonehenge. Prix Fixe Weds–Fri lunch/Thurs & Fri dinner is especially good value.
Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham, Gloucs
Down from 2 to 1 star this year, chef David Everitt-Matthias and front of house wife Helen have been running this place since 1987 – and David’s never missed a service, apparently. The decor may not be exceptional but the French food is.
Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon (NEW)
They lost their 2 star status with the departure of Michael Wignall but new Executive Chef, Chris Simpson’s decadent tasting and à la carte menus wins him his first 1 star. Nosh in a wood-panelled restaurant set within a luxury mock Tudor mansion overlooking the river Teign. With over 13,000 bottles in the wine cellar there’s sure to be something to tickle your fancy.
Lympstone Manor, Lympstone, nr Exmouth, Devon
Hurrah for the recognition of Michael Caines’ super-classy destination in south-east Devon. If you’re curious, try and nab yourself tickets for a dining event with the chef himself at the end of this month.
The Elephant, Torquay, Devon
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside. Especially if we’re tucking into food that’s as amazing to look at as it is to eat. This super relaxed (well-behaved kids and dogs both welcome) bistro overlooking Torquay harbour is run by one of the UK’s most decorated chefs Simon Hulstone and his wife Katy.
The Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon
These guys arrived on Exmoor’s food scene in 2005, won their Michelin star in 2006 and have retained it ever since. I’m no expert, but I reckon owner and chef Mark Dodson knows what he’s doing.
Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room, Ilfracombe, Devon
Unpretentious surroundings (underneath a B&B) and super-fresh seafood caught that day, cooked up by Thomas Carr, who trained under Cornwall’s Nathan Outlaw.
Have a gander at the full list of Michelin stars for 2019. PS – If you’re seeking for a more low-key, laid-back or frankly less spendy dinner, don’t forget we also review brilliant pubs, cafes and restaurants HERE!