Heston, it seems, has outdone himself. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – his first venture outside the Berkshire village of Bray and widely regarded as London's best new place to eat of last year – has trumped his own Fat Duck in this year's list of the world's best restaurants.
Dinner, in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, entered the list at No 9 – the highest new entry and four places above the Fat Duck.
Serving up "historically inspired" and relatively hearty dishes such as spiced pigeon with ale and artichokes, Dinner is a far cry from the Duck's temple to molecular gastronomy. With both restaurants now recognised as among the planet's best places to eat, the triple Michelin-starred Heston, 45, has certainly succeeded in proving that his repertoire extends far beyond his infamous snail porridge and "nitro-scrambled egg and bacon ice cream".
It is René Redzepi, however, who last night won the ultimate chef's hat-trick as his Copenhagen restaurant, Noma, secured Restaurant Magazine's coveted "world's best" title for the third year running. A few lucky London diners will have a chance to sample the work of his "New Nordic" cuisine – such as shallow-fried reindeer moss and live shrimps – when a pop-up Noma opens briefly at Claridge's hotel during the Olympics. They will need to splash out £195 a head for the five-course menu.
Elena Arzak, one of world's leading female chefs, was behind the continued success of Arzak in San Sebastian, that has kept the Spanish restaurant in high regard. Judges commended "her extraordinary stamina, thirst for innovation and quest for ultimate quality". US restaurants of note included Le Bernardin, New York's renowned seafood restaurant co-owned by socialite Maguy Le Coze.
The accolade of world's best restaurant, voted for by 800 food critics, chefs and restaurateurs, is hugely sought after. Chefs are said to value recognition in the poll over a Michelin star because it includes votes from their peers.
But while missing out on the top slot, Heston will take comfort from having two restaurants in the world's top 15, as he will from Dinner's success.
It is classic, inventive but not scientific, British cooking that also secured the UK's one other place in the top 50. The Ledbury, in Notting Hill, London, is 2012's highest climber, soaring 20 places to No 14.
However, the fourth-placed UK eatery languishes at No 80. Spain, by contrast, has five representatives in the top 50 despite the closure of el Bulli, the Catalan restaurant which topped the poll on five occasions.
Meanwhile, the Chef's Choice award, presented at London's Guildhall last night, went to Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz in San Sebastian, which maintained its third place. France suffered the national humiliation of having no restaurant in the world's top 10.
When location isn't everything
Its unpromising location in a south Nottingham industrial estate hasn't prevented foodies beating a path to the Restaurant Sat Bains, promoted to double Michelin-star status last year and voted number 97 in the World's Best list.
The Roux Scholarship-winning Bains, from Derby, opened the place in 2005. His menu promises a "gastronomic journey through taste, texture and temperature".
One critic praised the duck egg's "ethereal"-tasting albumen and a "self-effacing" pea sorbet.
The top 50: Best restaurants
1. Noma, Copenhagen
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
4. D.O.M., Sao Paulo
5. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
6. Per Se, New York
7. Alinea, Chicago
8. Arzak, San Sebastian
9. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London
10. Eleven Madison Park, New York
11. Steirereck, Vienna
12. L'Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon, Paris
13. The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire
14. The Ledbury, London
15. Le Chateaubriand, Paris
16. L'Arpège, Paris
17. Pierre Gagnaire, Paris
18. L'Astrance, Paris
19. Le Bernardin, New York
20. Frantzen/Lindeberg, Stockholm
21. Oud Sluis, Sluis, Netherlands
22. Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany
23. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
24. Mirazur, Menton, France
25. Daniel, New York
26. Iggy's, Singapore
27. Narisawa, Tokyo
28. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
29. Quay, Sydney
30. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
31. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain
32. Le Calandre, Padua, Italy
33. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
34. Faviken, Jarpen, Sweden
35. Astrid & Gaston, Lima
36. Pujol, Mexico City
37. Momofuku Ssam Bar, New York
38. Biko, Mexico City
39. Waku Ghin, Singapore
40. Quique Dacosta, Denia, Spain
41. Mathias Dahlgren, Stockholm
42. Hof van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium
43. The French Laundry, Yountville, Napa Valley, USA
44. Amber, Hong Kong
45. Vila Joya, Albufeira, Portugal
46. Il Canto, Siena, Italy
47. Bras, Laguiole, France
48. Manresa, Los Gatos, USA
49. Geranium, Copenhagen
50. Nahm, Bangkok
And the other British entries...
80. Viajante, London
88. Le Gavroche, London
97. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham
100. Hakkasan, London