Want to eat at one of these venues? You'll be lucky

Don't expect a table at one of the world's 50 best restaurants
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Reserving a table at The Ledbury has never been all that easy, tucked away as it is in the warm wealthy bosom of Notting Hill, with its two Michelin stars and menu of French haute cuisine. It's now got a whole lot harder.

The restaurant, which showcases the work of the prodigious young Australian chef Brett Graham, is the highest new entry in this year's San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, often described as the Oscars of the restaurant world.

At 34 on the list, only Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck, at five, ranks higher in the UK. Two other British restaurants, London's St John and Hibiscus, make the list. The latter was a new entry last year. Its chef, Claude Bosi, described the rush of business he received afterwards as "stupid".

"Bring it on," was Mr Graham's reaction yesterday. "I like having a nice full restaurant. If people want to come, we're ready for it. I don't know how it'll make a massive amount of difference. I've just looked and we're already full on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the next eight weeks, although you might get a 10 o'clock table."

Noma in Copenhagen topped the list for the second year in a row. On winning last year, chef René Redzepi said he received enough reservation requests overnight to fill the place for 15 years. "I'm really pleased to be on the list at all," Mr Graham said. "Last year I wasn't even invited to the event. I didn't go. I never thought we would get in the top hundred. We're a seven-day operation which makes it more difficult – I have to trust my staff. It's not just me, it's a team effort. My sous chef's been here six years, the manager four years. The kitchen porter's been here for five."

But don't expect Mr Graham to be joining the vast ranks of celebrity chefs any time soon. Shortly after opening the Ledbury in 2005, Mr Graham said: "The best chefs in London aren't household names. They're not the bunch of dropkicks you see on Ready Steady Cook." But he and The Ledbury did appear on Masterchef: The Professionals last November, which he said caused "eight phone lines to ring off the hook".

In the nine years since the list was started by the UK trade magazine Restaurant, a place on the 50 Best list has become one of the most sought-after honours for restaurateurs. The list is often criticised for its focus on European and North American restaurants, and tends to focus more on innovative cooking than the Michelin Guide.

Only six of the 50 this year were completely new entries, one space being vacated by Ferran Adria's elBulli in Spain, which has topped the list four times but will close in July. Astrid Y Gaston in Lima, Peru, is that country's first ever appearance on the list, having won praise for its haute cuisine including traditional cerviches and fish stews.

The top 50

1. Noma Copenhagen

2. El Celler de Can Roca Catalonia

3. Mugaritz Gipuzkoa, Spain

4. Osteria Francescana Modena, Italy

5. The Fat Duck Bray, Berkshire, UK

6. Alinea Chicago

7. D.O.M Sao Paulo, Brazil

8. Arzak San Sebastian, Spain

9. Le Chateaubriand Paris

10. Per Se New York

11. Daniel New York

12. Les Creations de Narisawa Tokyo

13. L'Astrance Paris

14. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Paris

15. Hof van Cleve Kruishoutem, Belgium

16. Pierre Gagnaire Paris

17. Oud Sluis Sluis, Netherlands

18. Le Bernardin New York

19. L'Arpège Paris

20. Nihonryori RyuGin Tokyo

21. Vendôme Gladbach, Germany

22. Steirereck Vienna

23. Schloss Schauenstein Graubunden, Switzerland

24. Eleven Madison Park New York

25. Aqua Wolfsburg, Germany

26. Quay Sydney

27. Iggy's Singapore

28. Combal Zero Rivoli, Italy

29. Martín Berasategui Basque Country, Spain

30. Bras Laguiole, France

31. Biko Mexico City

32. Le Calandre Padua, Italy

33. Cracco Milan

34. The Ledbury London

35. Chez Dominique Helsinki

36. Le Quartier Français Franschhoek, S Africa

37. Amber Hong Kong

38. Dal Pescatore Milan

39. Il Canto Siena, Italy

40. Momofuku Ssäm Bar New York

41. St John London

42. Astrid Y Gastón Lima, Peru

43. Hibiscus London

44. Maison Troisgros Roanne, France

45. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée Paris

46. De Librije Zwolle, Netherlands

47. Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville Crissier, Switzerland

48. Varvary Moscow

49. Pujol Mexico City

50. Asador Etxebarri Atxonda, Spain

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