British cuisine is enjoying a shake-up. Gone are the days when ambitious chefs felt they had to toil in big name London kitchens. Instead, many of the most talented chefs are opening up their own places out of London, honing their considerable culinary skills and putting their own highly individual, dedicated stamp on some stunning and quirky properties.
Below, you can find a list of the best venues worth a visit if you are planning a travel to United Kingdom and you want to explore venues outside the British capital. Enjoy our tips!
Mark Birchall has struck culinary gold in opening Moor Hall two years ago with co-owners Andy and Tracey Bell who shared his ambitious vision to create a high gastronomy contemporary restaurant with rooms within a magnificent oak beamed 16th century manor house.
West lancashire wasn't previously known for its gastronomic destinations, Moor Hall has put it on the culinary map with alacrity: the restaurant already has two Michelin stars.
Birchall's cuisine has a joyous purity: it is visually arresting, technically impressive and bursting with clear, bright flavour. Birchall, who was executive chef of L’Enclume for twelve years (and also worked at Spain's three Michelin star Celler de Can Roca), is, tellingly, Lancastrian born and bred, and this integrity and sense of place is always reflected in his cooking. Dishes have thrilling lightness and creativity and incorporate herbs and vegetables from the beautifully landscaped vegetable garden (think Le Manoir aux Quats Saisons on quieter scale). A snack of cod's roe with a thin layer of delicate chicken jelly topped with parsley cream and caviar is served with the prettiest sliver of cracker with fronds of parsely and wild garlic flower pressed into it. Exquisite too, is a single oyster with vivid dill sauce served in a stone bowl with what is described as dill snow, like a refined herbal slush puppy that melts enticingly on the tongue.
On an early summer menu, baked carrots are tangy with wild sea buckthorn juice from Stockport with iced Doddington cheese grated at service adding extra umami nuance; Birchall’s signature tartare is made with cubes of 60 day aged Holstein Friesian beef in charcoal with slivers of barbecued celeriac, a punchy swagger of mustard mayo and dustings of shallot and bitter chocolate. Served with shards of squid ink melba toast, it is as pleasingly savoury as traditional beef tartare yet exhilaratingly new and far tastier.
No expense has been spared in making Moor Hall a destination of culinary excellence. The original barns now house a Himalayan salt ageing room where Herdwick lamb for the main dish is matured. The superlative tender loin with an inspired thick slick of anchovy and onion sauce has a side dish in a handmade pot of lamb's tongue and intense offal puree lightened with spinach and potato that is totally addictive.
Presentation of dishes throughout is wonderful adding to the pleasure of the meal: the ceramics have been specially created by local potter Sarah Jerath that incorporate stones from the gardens in the hand sculpted plates. There’s a layer upon layer of thrills. Even a walk-in cheese affineur room offering local cheeses, including Moor Hall’s own “work in progress” pecorino style cheese. Head sommelier Alex Freguin, Taittinger Sommelier of the Year 2018 has created an enthralling and daring wine list. Prepare to be surprised by some superlative offerings from Poland to Greece.
Breakfast is exceptional too in every detail, from the charcuterie made on site to the eggs served nestling in straw on small wooden plates and extraordinary, soft, earthy house made black pudding. And if the restaurant’s design with its huge glass walls looking out on the garden and lake (once part of the estate’s moat) looks a little inspired by the new Noma, well they’re happy and deserve to be mentioned with similar awe.
Moor Hall, Prescot Rd, Aughton, Ormskirk L39 6RTWebsite
Mary-Ellen McTeague is one of an elite group of female chefs in the UK going it alone in her own style, eshewing conventional fine dining for a far more exclusive all-day restaurant and bakery. She left The Fat Duck to set up her own restaurant Aumbry just outside Prestwich.
Now in business at The Creameries, similarly close to Manchester, with baker Sophie Yeoman and co-founder/designer Sou Wilkinson.
The style is progressive, sophisticated yet honest and never fussy with much attention given to curing her and smoking own meats, churning butter, and making bread besides acknowledging Mancunian culinary tradition. A typical meal may include a snack of blowsy fondant-soft split pea chips with mushroom ketchup, rabbit with clams, a fantastic cheeseboard and poached rhubarb with rosewater cream. There are interesting low-intervention wine list and niche beers.
406 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0SDWebsite
Lee Westcott’s new Herefordshire venture on the Netherwood Estate is a dramatic departure from his former restaurant Typing Room in Town Hall Hotel in far grittier Bethnal Green.
Wholly seasonally driven, Westcott works alongside the estate’s gardeners, farmers and gamekeepers yet delights in taking flavours in wholly new directions and combinations. There are nods to modish must-haves: cultured butter with the bread, cured egg yolk with beef, cep and wild garlic, an umami scattering of yest with scallops, apple and monk’s beard, pine giving distinctive aromatics to stone bass with mussels and purple sprouting broccoli.
The modern restaurant has been designed out of rejuvenated farm buildings incorporating weathered elm, fabrics made in the weaving mill on the Estate itself and lampshades made from willow harvested on the estate. To stay over, there’s The Hyde, a grade 11 hosted building on the estate which offers dinner, b & b midweek and can be rented in its entirety (sleeping 20) at weekends.
Pensons Yard, Stoke Bliss, Tenbury Wells WR15 8RTWebsite
The immaculate grounds of Ynyshir, belie the thrilling, often daring cooking of chef/patron Gareth Ward who trained at high-octane Sat Bains Restaurant. Gareth Ward’s thrilling Welsh-Japanese influenced, Michelin starred restaurant proclaims on its menu that it is “ingredient-led, flavour-driven, fat-fuelled and meat obsessed”.
The whole buzz is uncompromisingly modern with Arctic Monkeys on vinyl a surprise in the remote Welsh setting and immaculate Ynyshir mansion. Ward trained at high-octane Sat Bains Restaurant. Expect the unexpected, Not French Onion Soup, is a superlative ultra rich silken shot of miso, fermented fruit, seaweed and shiso-pickled vegetables. Cured mackerel arrives with eel on nori seaweed alongside rhubarb anointed with cultured butter. This is bold and challenging cooking: Welsh wagyu with fermented lettuce, duck mousse with birch sap (collected by the kitchen team!) and smoked eel. Desserts often blend sweet and often savoury from birch sap porridge to miso treacle tart. For the absolute full-on experience, there’s a chef’s table.
Eglwys Fach, Machynlleth SY20 8TAWebsite
Sat Bains Restaurant
It sounds almost too surreal to be true – a boundary-pushing restaurant-with-rooms housed in a collection of converted barns virtually under a flyover. Yet the irreverent Sat Bains, whose inspired two Michelin starred cooking, is experimental fine dining at its best should never be under-estimated and relishes the absolute incongruity of the location.
Dishes are callibrated by flavour. Appetizer NG7 2SA (the restaurant’s postcode) celebrates the area’s wild pickings and is the overture to some esoteric combinations on the tasting menu: potato, kombu, caviar; smoked eel, apple, turnip and seaweed, tagine-spiced Anjou pigeon partnered by the flakiest of saffron imbued pastilla. Playing up to being the UK’s only “two Michelin working class restaurant”, the current “crossover” dish is his take on a jammy dodger and dessert is a play on Rocky Road called Lenton Lane: the chocolate has a hint of tobacco referencing the former cigarette factory, there’s wild sorrel from the hedgerow and cherries, acknowledging the trees growing on the golf course nearby.
Bains may be a formidable and intense chef, yet he has a great sense of humour and inspires the fiercest loyalty and dedication among his staff, including GM Jordi Albacor, who has joined directly from The Waterside Inn. Amanda Bains has designed the luxe bedrooms and also oversees service with real warmth. Sat Bains Restaurant is also rated 4th best restaurant in the world by Trip Advisor.
Sat Bains Restaurant
Lenton Ln, Nottingham NG7 2SAWebsite
In this country-chic hotel in a pastoral Wiltshire setting, Niall Keating (ex Sat Bains Restaurant) quickly garnered a Michelin star (within less than a year of opening) and numerous accolades including 2018 Michelin Young European Chef of the Year.
Global influences abound on his assured multi-course gastronomic menu, inspired by the Japanese kaiseki model. Keating has a particular fondness for Asian ingredients which he attributes to his “life-changing” trip to Korean-American Corey Lee’s restaurant Benu where he subsequently worked until his visa run out.
Keating’s best-known creations are tortellini-black, a squid-ink tinted xiao long, bao-esque dumpling with black garlic vinegar; and his sushi rice risotto with piquant XO-inspired chorizo dressing and kimchi glaze. He pairs turbot with pear and yuzukosho seasoning. The gastronomically curious will have a field day with a dessert involving clementines, black truffle and miso.
The luxurious rooms reflect Keating’s “country house dining but not how you know it” approach.
Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RBWebsite
Pam Brunton’s new wave Scottish-Nordic restaurant has a swoon-worthy setting: a converted ferryman’s cottage and boatshed, on the shores of Loch Fyne. It sounds remote, and it is blissfully tranquil, yet around 90 minutes drive from Glasgow.
Fortunately, their comparative isolation only concentrates the local landscape of the menu as chef Brunton and her husband Rob Latymer have wonderful local farmers and fisherman they work closely with and make their own bread and churn their own party. There’s always unadorned shellfish from the nearby lochs, but also expect highly original ideas ranging from fried fennel with smoked cod’s roe and dill salt to halibut with monk’s beard and mussel butter. For a truly different dessert be amazed by rye doughnuts with bone-marrow caramel.
The drinks list is strong on natural wines and their own Inver beer, brewed with friends at nearby Fyne Ales.
Cairndow PA27 8BUWebsite
The Forest Side
An exhilarating expression of the Cumbrian landscape, Kevin Tickle’s cooking at Forest Side, is the right side of robust whilst precisely calibrated with lots of textural plays. An alumni of Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume, Tickle is Cumbrian to the bone and sees foraging as a way of being he has pursued all his life rather than a trend. He also runs occasional foraging courses for guests. However, he likes to punctuate his dedication with a healthy sense of humour.
Hence the tasting menu lists “the best ever cheese and onion crisps”; Will and Caroline’s Herdwick lamb from three and a half minutes away (four and a half if the traffic is bad) and rhubarb in three guises with brown butter brioche. Tickle offers a superb, thoughtful vegetarian menu too: Those filthy mushrooms he cooks in smoked butter, salt-baked turnip with horseradish; Celeriac that’s knocking on a bit, charcoal, dittander honeycomb, fromage blanc. Everything tastes of the earth yet is wonderfully light.
The Herdwick sheep on the menu even make their way into the bedroom, providing wool for the carpets and for the supremely comfortable, serene rooms.
The Forest Side
Keswick Road, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9RNWebsite