London’s finest chefs, street food vendors and restaurateurs were celebrated at Harden’s London Restaurant Awards last week, at one of the city’s most iconic hotels.
Representatives from the 52 nominated restaurants gathered in the Grand Ballroom of The Langham, in a celebration of London’s position as one of the world’s most exciting gastronomic cities.
Hosted this year by food and drink journalist and broadcaster Nigel Barden, the ceremony recognises the very best of London restaurants, bars and pubs, placing a particular emphasis on recognising new and growing talent.
The awards cover 14 categories, with nominees taken from those who performed best in Harden’s annual restaurant survey, which has been running in London and the UK for 28 years. This year, it attracted over 8,500 diners who contributed more than 50,000 restaurant reviews.
The categories cover all aspects of dining from street food and cheap eats to steaks and seafood, breakfast, coffee, and afternoon tea, as well as recognising the top newcomer (Brat, Shoreditch) and top gastronomic experience (Core by Clare Smyth) in the London dining scene.
HIDE Restaurant won the accolade for Most Interesting Wine List of the Year. The independent restaurant and bar by Hedonism Wines and Ollie Dabbous overlooks Green Park, and offers five private dining rooms. Any bottle from Hedonism’s Mayfair store can be reserved and delivered to the restaurant.
“The scale of investment by Hedonism wines in Hide is unprecedented in the London restaurant scene, and it's this kind of landmark property which establishes London at the very upper echelons of the fine dining scene, as well of course as in more affordable genres such as street food,” said Harden’s editor and co-founder Peter Harden.
HIDE Restaurant, winner of Most Interesting Wine List
Sam and Eddie Hart meanwhile won the Outstanding Achievement Award, which recognises exceptional achievement in the London restaurant scene as judged by their performance in the Harden’s survey over many years.
The brothers are behind modern Spanish tapas bar Barrafina, as well as Quo Vadis in Soho, Borough’s El Pastor, and three new openings in King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard development.
There are three Barrafinas in London: on Dean Street in Soho, and Adelaide Street and Drury Lane in Covent Garden.
“We’d worked out that London was ready for tapas, and then it was just a jump into the unknown”, Sam Hart told Harden in an exclusive Q&A at the awards ceremony.
“We’re going out for a really great dining experience. Barrafina is about theatre and excitement. It’s a really fun place to be.”
The event was sponsored by IWSC winner Gusbourne Estate, along with The Langham, Exmoor Caviar, award-winning beer Duvel, and Dunnet Bay Distillers.
“We were delighted to partner with Gusbourne as a sponsor of the 2018 awards, who provided both their delicious Blanc de Blancs for the pre-awards reception and their rosé for the afterparty: both were incredibly well-received by a discerning bunch of chefs, restaurateurs and critics,” said Harden.
Outstanding Achievement Award winner Sam Hart (right) with Harden's co-founder Peter Harden
Harden’s London Restaurant Awards 2018: Results
Best Street Food
Top Cheap Eat
Top Coffee House
Best Steaks & Grills
Best Fish & Seafood
Best Breakfast or Brunch
Best Afternoon Tea
Mirror Room, Rosewood
Wine List of the Year
Best for Romance
Best for Business
Top Bar or Pub
The Coach EC1
Top Gastronomic Experience
Outstanding Achievement Award
Sam and Eddie Hart, Barrafina