Features 2 minutes 31 March 2021

Icons and Trailblazers (Part 1)

The UK & Ireland’s most influential restaurants through the decades

Michelin Inspectors Michelin Stars Ask the Expert

While we wait for restaurants to re-open we’ve found ourselves reminiscing about all the great ones that have made the industry in the UK and Ireland what it is today.

These icons and trailblazers come in many forms: some took cooking to a whole new level; others introduced us to a new style of eating; some influenced a generation of chefs, while others simply wowed us with their originality and inventiveness. But what they all did was break new ground and pave the way for others to follow.

In an attempt to ward off a flood of “I can’t believe you didn’t include XYZ restaurant” missives, we should say this list is not definitive. It’s just something we’re throwing out there…

Le Gavroche - copyright: Issy Croker/Le Gavroche
Le Gavroche - copyright: Issy Croker/Le Gavroche

Hole in the Wall – George Perry Smith was a true pioneer

The Walnut Tree – still going strong today
Le Gavroche – first UK restaurant to receive a Michelin Star, in 1974. Many great chefs have passed through its kitchen
Carriers – the inestimable Robert Carrier also wrote ‘Great Dishes of the World’

Waterside Inn - copyright: Jamie Lau/Waterside Inn
Waterside Inn - copyright: Jamie Lau/Waterside Inn

Thornbury Castle – Chef-owner Kenneth Bell received the first Michelin Star outside London. When asked by a journalist why he’d lost the Star in the ’80s he replied "I've not got worse. The others have got better".
Lee Ho Fook – first Chinese restaurant in the UK to get a Michelin Star. Gets a mention in the 1978 Warren Zevon song ‘Werewolves of London’.
Box Tree – awarded Two Michelin Stars in 1977 and another producer of great chefs
Horn of Plenty – in 1976 founder Sonia Stevenson became the first female chef to receive a Star
Waterside Inn – remains one of the UK’s finest restaurants to this day
Langan’s Brasserie – the original celebrity haunt
Mallory Court – classic dishes in a quintessential country house
Ballymaloe House – Myrtle Allen, the “matriarch of modern Irish cuisine”
Carved Angel – opened in 1974 by Joyce Molyneux
La Tante Claire – pig’s trotters never tasted so good
Gidleigh Park – led the way in country house hotel dining
La Potinière – Hilary and David Brown influenced many a chef
Miller Howe – John Tovey was ahead of his time
The Seafood Restaurant – still reminds us we’re an island

Patrick Guilbaud - copyright: Barry McCall/Patrick Guilbaud
Patrick Guilbaud - copyright: Barry McCall/Patrick Guilbaud

Patrick Guilbaud – Dublins’s first Michelin Star
Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons – trained many chefs, set standards and leads the way on sustainability
Harvey’s – the arrival of Marco Pierre White
Clarke’s – Sally Clarke brings the California sun to Notting Hill
Alastair Little – Soho wouldn’t be what it is now without him
The Castle Taunton – where Gary Rhodes began championing British dishes
Bibendum – opened by Sir Terence Conran with chef Simon Hopkinson
Kensington Place – Rowley Leigh’s landmark restaurant
Le Caprice – opened by Corbin & King in 1981
Terrace at the Dorchester – Anton Mosimann won his first Michelin Star in 1984
Croque-en-Bouche – a Michelin Star in 1980
Altnaharrie Inn – took communal dining to the next level
Roscoff – opened in the ’80s by Paul Rankin and later won Northern Ireland’s first Michelin Star River Café – showed us all that produce is everything
The Peat Inn – around since the 1700s but made its mark in the ’80s
Plas Bodegroes – became the first in Wales to receive a Star
Hambleton Hall – consistently good; has held a Star since 1983

Hambleton Hall - copyright: Hambleton Hall
Hambleton Hall - copyright: Hambleton Hall

Part 2 – From the 1990s onwards – will be posted tomorrow.

This year, the Michelin Guide is published in a digital format only, both on our website (UK and Republic of Ireland) and via the iOS app


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