Three weeks ago today we celebrated the launch of The MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023. We asked some of the Michelin Inspectors to cast their minds back over the past year and pick out the most memorable dishes they ate when preparing the latest edition of the Guide.
It wasn’t just Michelin Starred restaurants that were on their minds though; many factors played a part in their choices, from the time of year, the style of restaurant and their geographical location to the history of the establishment and the chef.
Calves’ liver with bacon, onion, mash and cabbage – Broad Chare, Newcastle Upon Tyne
"It might have appeared simple at first glance, but this traditionally based dish encapsulated an array of different cooking techniques, bringing together the chef’s knowledge, skill and understanding to create an effective balance of flavours and textures. The lightly charred calves’ liver and the smooth, creamy mash contrasted perfectly with the salty bacon and crispy onions. There was also a lovely comfort food element to this dish, which was a perfect fit for the delightfully rustic pub setting."
Isle of Lewis turbot, Shetland mussels and hispi cabbage – Etive, Oban
"When eating out in Scotland, there’s nothing better than sampling their superb local seafood – and the fresh turbot in this simply yet skilfully cooked dish was certainly meaty and flavoursome. Large, salty mussels complemented the sweetness of the turbot wonderfully, while a creamy mussel broth added a lovely richness. Great care had been taken in the preparation of this dish, with the exceptional natural flavours given space to shine."
Walsh's lamb, Ottoman spiced firik, carrot, gooseberry, kumquat and isot – dede, Baltimore
"Complexity, depth and superbly blended spices were all present in this exceptional dish. The tender lamb was full of flavour, while the skilfully judged isot pepper sauce elevated it to another level. A smooth carrot purée was topped with a fine slice of kumquat – adding fruitiness and acidity in equal measure – and providing a great contrast to the richness of the sauce. Finishing off the dish was a flavour-packed Ottoman spiced firik, which had been slow-cooked for seven hours."
60 day aged beef rib, morels, salsify, red wine and thyme – White Swan, Fence
"Sometimes, nothing beats steak and chips, and this gorgeous take on an iconic British dish elevated it to another level. The rich, tender finger of beef rib was accompanied by an intense mushroom purée and an excellent sauce flavoured with a perfectly judged amount of thyme. The plump morels that topped the meat were cooked in cream and chicken stock and simply melted away in the mouth. It was great to see this pub keeping true to its roots and serving such a satisfying, confidently executed plate of food."
BBQ Donegal lobster glazed with cacao pod concentrate & Kari Gosse, carrot & citrus, and aromatic lobster sauce – Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen, Dublin
"My favourite dish of the year was also one of the finest I have ever enjoyed – superb cooking that looked amazing and tasted even better. The lobster tail was wonderfully succulent, with just a hint of smokiness coming through from the barbecue. The clever addition of Kari Gosse in the glaze brought a very subtle curried edge and an intense lobster reduction provided further richness. The lemon confit and a few redcurrants cut through this excellently, making it a stunning all-round dish."
Gaeng massaman neua – Plaza Khao Gaeng, London
"This beef shoulder massaman curry with potatoes and shallots really delivered some bold, satisfying flavours. The whole dish was beautifully made, with the beef and potatoes both perfectly cooked, and the meat coarsely grained yet supremely tender. The rich sauce covering them was just the right consistency and had a brilliant depth of flavour. Authentic and vibrant, with well-judged spicing, this memorable dish transported me back to my travels in Thailand."