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Gourmet Britain Awards 2012

Gourmet Britain Awards 2012

Sunday 29th April 2012

Because of The Olympics, we decided this year to base most of our awards around London. However, for some categories, this simply wasn't possible, as businesses elsewhere shone out like beacons, and couldn't be ignored.

Best Restaurant: Winner - Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Hotel, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA –

“As well as the excellent food and service on offer at this restaurant, what also impressed us greatly was the commercial risk of basing the whole menu on 'date- stamped' dishes from Britain's culinary past – and all at a price that's reachable for most, even if only for a special occasion!

A must visit restaurant - truly impressive.”

Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Winner - Vanilla Black, 17-18 Tooks Court, Farringdon, London, EC4A 1LB –

“After it's successful move from York, this excellent restaurant explores new flavours and converts them into excellent dishes, presented to the highest standards.

Dishes such as 'Brie Ice Cream & Victoria Plum Chutney' (served as a starter) and 'Field Mushroom Mousse & Pernod Pancakes' (a main) set the style, and would interest any carnivore.

Friendly, professional service matches the quality of the food”

Best Ethnic Restaurant: Winner -Moti Mahal, 45 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5AA –

“An excellent North Indian restaurant taking its menu inspirations from the Grand Trunk Road, stretching from Bengal to Pakistan's North-West Frontier.

Their Tiffin Box Lunch Menu, with 5 choices, offers an excellent introduction to their excellent dishes”

Best Café/Budget Restaurant: Winner - Bistro Savoir Faire,42 New Oxford Street, London, WC1A 1EP –

“This excellent family-run bistro has been feeding it's loyal followers with home- cooked dishes, made from natural ingredients, since 1995 – we feel it's about time time they had more than a pat on the back.

Prices are very modest for the definite quality on offer.”

Best Gastro Pub: Winner - The Nut Tree Inn, Main Street, Murcott, Oxfordshire, OX5 2RE –

“This village pub, still fully operational as a 'local', not only serves excellent food, but backs this up with service (including a friendly unpompus sommelier – who takes as much pleasure helping you choose a glass as a bottle of wine).

Lunch is a particular bargain. We wish this was our local.”

Best Hotel: Winner - Milestone Hotel; 1 Kensington Court, London, W8 5DL -

“This excellent hotel, belonging to a small group, sets the highest standards – making a real effort to make children as welcome as their parents. Whilst some rooms are in the luxury price bracket, more modest accommodation buys you into similar service levels.”

Best B & B or Restaurant with Rooms: Winner – Auberge; Ipswich Road, Yaxley, Suffolk, IP23 8BZ –

“A very comfortable place to stay. This good restaurant with rooms, run by the Stenhouse family, backs the ideal base for exploring the surrounding countryside and returning for a good meal of largely local produce afterwards.

Little unexpected touches make this place a real winner.

Chef/co-proprietor boasts that 'if he isn't there, the kitchen ain't open'.

Best Independently-Owned Shop: Winner – Emmetts, Peasenhall, Nr. Darsham, Suffolk, IP17 2HJ –

“Not just a treasure trove of a local shop, with a café/restaurant attached – serving items from their deli plus cakes and tapas – but producers of some of Britain's finest bacon & hams.

Their sweet-pickled hams held the Queen Mothers Royal Warrant – while their streaky sweet-cured bacon and excellent hams are Gourmet Britain favourites. Indeed, they wouldn't have been out of place winning our artisan producer's category.”

Best Artisan Producer: Winner - Ouse Valley Foods, Unit 2, Ashgrove Farm, Piltdown, East Sussex, TN22 3XN –

“Producers of a vast selection top-quality seasonal Jellies, Fruit Curds, Chutneys & Jams. Their level of consistency is impressive, winning them National Awards for individual products over the years – while their enthusiasm for developing new interesting flavours remains undimmed.

Their products are also beautifully presented – some even having suspended elements with the jar – so making excellent presents, almost too good to eat”

Best Mail/Home Delivery: Winner - Waitrose, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 8YA -

“This excellent supermarket, delivers a high standard of of food & wine over much of the British mainland, and has also impressed us by making real inroads into persuading potential customers that it can also be competitive on the price front.

It's the nearest a delivery service can be to a Rolls Royce, blending high quality products, with online recipes from Delia Smith & Heston Blumenthal – plus products endorsed by the latter – while their Essential Waitrose range of products guarantees to match Tesco on the price front.”