Five-month-old eatery named one of best restaurants in the UK

The latest edition of the UK's best restaurant list may include some of the usual suspects, but one surprising entry comes from a chef who opened a casual tapas bar less than five months ago.

While celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's restaurant The Fat Duck took the top spot for the fourth consecutive year in a row in the 2012 edition of The Good Food Guide, it's newcomer Pollen Street Social that made an audacious debut in the eighth-place spot.

Chef Jason Atherton, formerly head chef of Gordon Ramsay's restaurant Maze, opened the London restaurant in April to much fanfare.

Time Out magazine gave the eatery five out of five stars and waxed poetic about a dish of cauliflower and squid with clear roasted squid juice for £10.50 (€12).

"This first dish set the tone for dishes which are daring, pretty, at times overworked and not invariably successful, but which are always a delightful surprise," wrote Guy Dimond.

The same dish was also praised in restaurant critic Giles Coren's review for The Times Magazine, a dish he lauded for having "El Bulli-inventiveness" - not surprising given Atherton was the first British chef to complete an internship at the now-shuttered eatery in Spain, long considered the best in the world.

While praising the food, Dimond also issued a warning to readers saying the dishes may sound rich, but "all the portion sizes are tiny."

The 40-seat bar serves a tapas menu with items like hand-carved Ibérico ham, clams a la plancha with olive oil and bacon, and salt and pepper chipirones.

The à la carte menu includes mains like roasted halibut, Catalan paella, sprouting broccoli and pork-ham fat, and one-kilogram cote de boeuf for sharing at £65 (€74).

The paragon of fine dining in the UK, however, continues to be The Fat Duck, which received a 10 out of 10 rating - the only eatery to achieve this mark in the guide.

As of next month, the 14-course tasting menu at the Michelin-starred restaurant will increase from £160 (€182) to £180 (€205). Courses boast whimsical names like "Sound of the Sea" and "Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop."

Here are the top 10 restaurants in the UK according to the guide, as announced August 10:

1. The Fat Duck, Berkshire
2. L'Enclume, Cumbria
3. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottinghamshire
4. Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road, London
5. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall
6. Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire
7. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, London
8. Pollen Street Social, London
9. Hibiscus, London
10. The Square, London

The guide will be published on September 8 and is available for pre-order on their site: http://www.thegoodfoodguide.co.uk/

 

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