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17 Aug 2017

The Good Food Guide 2018 reveals its best restaurants in South East

Good Food Guide 2018 - Ben Crittenden, Chef to Watch, Stark in Broadstairs - photo credit Simon Jacobs

The Good Food Guide has announced its top restaurants and award winners today.  Alongside the finest dining establishments in the country, the guide, owned by Waitrose, celebrates quality eateries and discoveries in local areas. For the South East this includes two Editors’ Award winners for Best Pub Restaurant and Chef to Watch, one restaurant in the Top 10, six restaurants in the Top 50 and 21 new entries. 

The Good Food Guide is compiled by combining reader feedback on restaurants up and down the country with anonymous inspections by a team of industry experts. 

The Waitrose Good Food Guide 2018 Editors' Awards

Waitrose has also announced the Editors' Awards from The Good Food Guide 2018. These awards recognise restaurants and chefs who have shown excellence in their field and include two restaurants from the South East.

This year, the Chef to Watch has been named as  Ben Crittenden from Stark in Broadstairs, Kent, with a cooking score of 5.

On Ben Crittenden, Elizabeth Carter comments, “I’m sure many locals would like to keep this place under the radar as Stark is far and away one of the more unusual openings this year. But the secret is out now – there’s something special about this plain 12-seater restaurant with a galley kitchen tucked in the corner. 

“Ben Crittenden’s well-balanced, well-prepared six-course tasting menu with its penchant for simplicity and flavour and a keen eye for the seasons is extremely satisfying – some might call it dazzling.”

Ben Crittenden comments on his win, “When we opened Stark it was for two reasons, to see my wife and children for more than one day a week and to try to have the best restaurant in Thanet. Being named Chef to Watch by The Good Food Guide is a massive surprise and something I never thought would be possible from running a restaurant out of a former sandwich shop in Broadstairs, in a kitchen that cost as little as a battered old Corsa!”

The Good Food Guide has also announced in its Editors’ Awards the Best Pub Restaurant in the UK, which is named as The Crown in Burchett's Green, Berkshire, who received a cooking score of 6.

Elizabeth Carter, Editor of The Good Food Guide says of The Crown, “It may appear to be just a textbook country pub – pretty village location, log burner, plain tables, soft lamplight – but it’s got some fabulous dishes (including a magnificent venison pie) on short but appealing menus. 

“It also has a genuinely lovely line in hospitality. As a recipe for success, Simon Bonwick’s cooking is dead simple but consistently delicious with a focus on flavour rather than needless innovation or fiddly artistry.“

Simon Bonwick, Chef/Landlord of The Crown, says, “I have been cooking for my culinary life at the Crown for five years this October, such is the competition for good eating in our area! To be named Best Pub Restaurant is special for our family in so many ways. We have worked so willingly to give a unique Bonwick offer, an offer we call ‘a spirit of generosity’.”

Best restaurant in the South East
Restaurants from across the region that have made it into the 'UK’s Top 50 Restaurants' have been unveiled, with the top-scoring restaurant in the South East also making it into The Good Food Guide’s Top 10. Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire is the highest scoring restaurant from the region, coming in at no.5 with a cooking score of 9.

Elizabeth Carter, Waitrose Good Food Guide Editor, says of The Fat Duck and its famous chef, “If there has been a single impulse uniting the divergent strands of culinary modernism, it has been the effort to turn food back into a true experience. In this, as in every other aspect of his work, Heston Blumenthal has been one of the great pioneers.”

With a set menu themed on a family seaside trip, the experience is described as being “realised with astonishing technical panache”.

Restaurants in the South East that appear in The Good Food Guide’s Top 50
The Top 50 recognises the very best talent in the UK; a place on the list represents a huge achievement, with each position earned by its score in The Good Food Guide, editor appraisal and strength of reader feedback.

Other notably high scoring restaurants in the region also featuring in the Top 50, alongside The Fat Duck, include:
•    André Garrett at Cliveden, Taplow in Berkshire, no.19 with a cooking score of 8
•    Orwells, Shiplake in Oxfordshire, no.31 with a cooking score of 7 
•    The Waterside Inn, Bray in Berkshire, no.34 with a cooking score of 7
•    Artichoke, Amersham in Buckinghamshire, no. 36 with a cooking score of 7
•    The Sportsman, Whitstable in Kent, no.42 with a cooking score of 7

New Entries
The South East boasts 21 new entries to this year’s Good Food Guide, which are: 

•    Stark in Broadstairs, Kent - also named Chef to Watch in the Editors’ Awards
•    Hurley House in Hurley, Berkshire
•    Restaurant Coworth Park in Ascot, Berkshire
•    The Oxford Blue in Windsor, Berkshire
•    The Mash Inn in Radnage, Buckinghamshire
•    Applegarth in Grayshott, Hampshire
•    The Dancing Man in Southampton, Hampshire
•    Verveine in Milford on Sea, Hampshire
•    Frog and Scot in  Deal, Kent
•    Harbour Street Tapas in Whitstable, Kent
•    Samphire in Whitstable, Kent
•    Arbequina in Oxford, Oxfordshire
•    Knife and Fork in Deddington, Oxfordshire
•    The Kitchen in Farnborough, Oxfordshire
•    Dastaan in Epsom, Surrey
•    The Clock House in Ripley, Surrey
•    Cin Cin in Brighton, Sussex
•    etch. in Hove, Sussex
•    Isaac At in Brighton, Sussex
•    Pike & Pine in Brighton, Sussex
•    Plateau in Brighton, Sussex

Unusual eateries
•    Applegarth in Grayshott is a rural enterprise, part of a farm shop which you walk through to get to the restaurant overlooking a well-tended garden.
•    The Dancing Man, Southampton is a former wool house, built by Cistercian monks in 1338 and has its own micro brewery.
•    Pike & Pine, is a vibrant restaurant operating as a cafe during the day, and restaurant in the evening. It serves coffee and trendy plates in the daytime café, Redroaster, and morphs into an evening restaurant, Pike & Pine, where Matt Gillan serves up contemporary tasting menus.

Notes to Editors

The Good Food Guide is published by Waitrose on 4 September.  The 2018 edition is the 5th GFG to be published by the supermarket. RRP £17.99. 



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Information and prices correct at time of release.  Waitrose customer enquiry number is 0800 188 884.


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