The Harden’s London Restaurants guide has hailed a “great year” for female chefs after compiling its latest edition.
Ratings and reviews in the newly-released guide and app are based on one of the UK’s most detailed annual polls of restaurant-goers, with some 7,500 people contributing 50,000 reports for the 2020 edition.
And the publication noted there were a series of “stand-out performances” from female chefs, including Clare Smyth (pictured at the Charvet factory where her cooking suite was made), whose restaurant Core knocked its near neighbour The Ledbury from the No. 1 position in votes for ‘Top Gastronomic Experience of the Year’.
It also entered the list of ‘Top 10 Most-Mentioned’ restaurants in the survey, cementing its position as one of London’s pre-eminent eateries.
Diners were wowed by its “superb, friendly, and unpompous” approach and the “original thought has gone in to the masterfully-blended dishes, showing occasional idiosyncratic touches to create precise, exquisite morsels that look like art on a plate and taste fabulous”.
Taylor Bonnyman’s Five Fields – where Marguerite Keogh is the head chef – scored the survey’s highest food mark having hit a “particularly impressive and consistent culinary stride in recent times, with not a single negative report received.”
Ms Keogh strives for perfection, and the care and attention to detail of ingredients processed and plated was described as “second to none”.
She delivers divinely flavoured dishes in a mould that’s classic in style, but very modern in execution.
Newcomer of the year was Caractère, Emily Roux’s venture in partnership with husband Diego Ferrari and another high quality opening in Notting Hill which is undergoing something of a renaissance.
Sally Abé, head chef at The Harwood Arms, which was nominated for a second year as London’s Best Gastropub, and Ruth Rogers at River Café, were also praised for their efforts.