London Restaurant Festival aims for top global status

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The six-day London Restaurant Festival ended October 14 with thousands of diners enjoying access to some of London's finest restaurants.

The premiere edition of the festival sought to show the world that the image of London serving little but greasy fish and chips is long outdated.

"There was quite a misconception 10 years ago that London isn't a good destination for food," Chloe Couchman, spokesperson for the London Restaurant Festival, told Relaxnews on October 15.

"Since then we've been celebrated in guides like Michelin and there's never really been a festival like this that has celebrated England's restaurants."

The festival involved nearly 600 restaurants offering customers a two-course meal for low prices in a battle for the distinction of having the Best London Festival Menu.

In the end, two esteemed restaurants took home the top prizes: Hélène Darroze at the Connaught won for best lunch for £25 (€27) and L'Anima won for best dinner for £40 (€44).

While restaurant festivals aimed at getting customers easier access to restaurants that are normally booked solid have emerged in other metropolises worldwide, London's festival is the largest.

"In New York City they only have around 300 restaurants lined up for their restaurant festival and it's more about discounts and not live events and awards," said Couchman.

"Sydney has a popular festival but, again, not as many events and not on the same scale."

Big names in cooking like reality television star Gordon Ramsey, France's Pierre Koffmann and Irish chef Richard Corrigan participated.

The festival also included the novel chance for select participants to enjoy a meal inside a cabin on the London Eye ferris wheel, among a score of other events.

"We were trying to be like the Edinburgh International Festival but for food, with the hope that in five years time people will book their October holidays around the Restaurant festival," Couchman said.

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