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AA Announces New Rosette Award Winners 2019

25th Jan 2019

This week the AA announced its latest Rosette Award winners, recognising the restaurants with the highest culinary offerings in the UK. In total there were 3 new four Rosettes and 16 new three Rosettes, marking them as being amongst the best restaurants in the country.

See the full list of new Rosette winners below:

New four AA Rosettes

The Dining Room, Whatley Manor, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Old Downton Lodge, Ludlow, Shropshire

Roganic, London, W1

New three AA Rosettes

Alchemilla, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Allium at Askham Hall, Askham, Cumbria

Cornerstone by Chef Tom Brown, London, E9

The Cross at Kenilworth, Kenilworth, Warwickshire

etch. by Steven Edwards, Brighton, East Sussex

Fordwich Arms, Canterbury, Kent

John’s House, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire

Launceston Place, London, W8

Lords of The Manor, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

The Methuen Arms, Corsham, Wiltshire

Pétrus, London, SW1

Rothay Manor Hotel & Fine Dining, Ambleside, Cumbria,

The Salutation, Sandwich, Kent

Stem, London, W1

Stocks Hotel, Sark

The Wilderness, Birmingham, West Midlands

Read More About The Restaurants

4 Rosettes 

Roganic – London, W1

Inspirational ideas from a modern master

The original pop-up Roganic was such a barnstorming success that Simon Rogan came back to Marylebone with a more permanent set-up in 2018, and the place is now firmly established as a go-to venue for foodies. The new incarnation occupies a spartan space of bronze and white textured concrete walls, linen-clothed tables and design-classic chairs. As in Rogan’s other ventures, the kitchen is tuned in to nature, and its stunning ingredients – some sourced from his own Lake District farm – are delivered by head chef Oli Marlow and his team in highly technical, precisely engineered miniatures. Tasting menu fans are in for a small-plate cavalcade of eight or 12 courses, but if you’re not in for the long haul, the four-course set lunch is a steal, and the inspired cooking driven by flavour, freshness and balance. Taking the budget route, things get going with a blue cheese croquette supported by black garlic, cubes of sea trout and a tomato juice of remarkable purity. Next up, duck comes three ways, the breast timed to perfection and served with cauliflower purée, pear and raspberry, braised leg matched with cabbage, and seared duck hearts highlighted with prune chutney and potato mousse. To finish, there’s a sublime fig ice cream with sorrel crisps and snow.

 The Dining Room – Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Luxury spa hotel cooking at Whatley Manor

A feeling of anticipation builds as the gated entrance opens into Whatley Manor’s cobbled courtyards of honeystone Cotswold buildings – and that’s as it should be because the Victorian manor house has long sat in the top flight of the UK’s country house hotels. The Dining Room is rightly at the heart of the Whatley experience, an understated modern space, with cream walls, bare floors and generously spaced tables. Niall Keating leads the kitchen team here and his refined contemporary cooking draws inspiration from Asia and France – this is serious food, realized with ambition, confidence and panache. Delivered via a 12-course tasting menu, including a vegetarian version, phenomenal precision and flavours are there from the off in lobster custard and meaty chicken broth pointed up with caviar, then the umami explosion of raw oyster with seaweed mignonette dressing. Produce is, naturally, as good as you can get, and flavours and textures come pin sharp, whether it’s a delicate composition of salmon with turnip, ham and caviar, or the big, bold hit of pigeon with kohlrabi, spiced date purée and horseradish. A barrage of desserts offers ideas such as matcha with yoghurt and milk crisp, and wine flights of revelatory pairings line up to enhance the whole experience further.

Old Downton Lodge – Ludlow, Shropshire

Creative cuisine in an idyllic Shropshire hideaway

A short drive from foodie Ludlow, Old Downton Lodge is a rural idyll overlooking the Welsh Marches hills. Originally a farmhouse and cider mill, the country-chic restaurant with rooms comprises a fascinating cluster of buildings – medieval, half-timbered, Georgian – around a courtyard filled with herbs and flowers. Dating from Norman times, the restaurant has the feel of a medieval great hall with its stone walls, tapestry and chandelier. Dinner takes the form of daily-changing six- and nine-course, menus or a three-course market menu, all built on local, home-grown and foraged produce of the highest order. Head chef Karl Martin’s cooking is defined by its inherent simplicity, precision and intuitive balance, kicking off with a combo of cauliflower, onion and Parmesan of remarkable depth to pave the way for Wagyu beef boosted with blue cheese, broccoli and walnut. These are highly original compositions where everything is there for a good reason: main courses see lobster counterpointed with cherry tomato fondue, caviar and Thai basil, then a superlative pork medallion is matched with braised gem lettuce, winberries and peas. The results are impressive all the way through to a thought-provoking dessert of Muscovado mousse with blueberries, peanut and sorrel, and rice pudding with elderflower, strawberry and tarragon.


3 Rosettes

 Alchemilla – Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Organic space for innovative tasting menus

Curving brick vaulted ceilings with big skylights, and a feature wall of vivid green moss set the scene in this high-flying newcomer to Nottingham’s flourishing restaurant scene. Brought to life from a long-derelict coaching inn – much of the renovation work done by the chef, Alex Bond, himself – Alchemilla feels like an enveloping organic space with its simple wooden tables and open kitchen. Expect of-the-moment cookery that, while not remotely vegetarian, shifts attention more squarely onto the vegetable elements within tasting menus bristling with on-trend ingredients in intriguing combinations. Tender squid strips, hen of the woods mushrooms, buttermilk and black garlic add up to a playful take on carbonara, while grain risotto comes dressed in three-year-old Parmesan and truffle. A main meat dish partners spot-on venison with quince and puréed pumpkin. Striking desserts continue the innovative mood, matching Peruvian marigold sorbet with apple granita and espuma, and tangy cultured cream.

Allium at Askham Hall – Askham, Cumbria

Seasonal cooking in grand country house hotel

On the fringes of the Lake District in splendid Cumbrian countryside, Askham dates from the 14th century and is intimate enough to style itself a restaurant with rooms. The Allium restaurant is the most recent addition, and the kitchen takes a fiercely seasonal view of things, working in harmony with materials reared and grown in the kitchen gardens and the farms within the estate. Expect modern food that is home-grown, certainly, but far from home-spun: texture, flavour and visual appeal combine in style in a  starter of crab with lovage, blackcurrant and garden herbs accessorized with a wafer-thin sourdough and squid ink lattice, followed by spiced salt-aged Goosnargh duck breast offset with celeriac, beetroot, plum and a duck fat waffle. Dessert is an intriguing confection balancing the sweet and savoury notes of buttermilk pannacota with apple sorrel and blackberries. Punching well above its weight, the remarkable wine list is the icing on the cake.

Cornerstone by Chef Tom Brown – London, E9

Northeast London’s destination for seafood

A highly-talented young chef with an impressive CV choosing edgy Hackney Wick for their first solo venture might sound a little left-field, but Tom Brown (a Nathan Outlaw protégé and previous head chef of Outlaws at the Capital) has done exactly this, a fact that only makes Cornerstone all the more fascinating. This new seafood joint is making big waves. The vibe is super cool, light and relaxed; a handsome monochrome, industrial look with retro bow-back chairs and black tabletops and dominant central-hub kitchen. Confidently exposed, Brown’s team turns out dazzling seafood sharing-plates in the simple but brilliantly executed genre, backed by standout ingredients, flavour and balance. Take a sensational opener of pickled oyster served with celery, dill and subtle kick of horseradish, followed perhaps by headlining whole, sparkling-fresh John Dory (on the bone), again simply delivered with a silky roast chicken butter sauce. Round-off proceedings with a classy dark chocolate fondant, orange and whiskey. Bubbly, informed service hits a high note too.

The Cross at Kenilworth – Kenilworth, Warwickshire

Modern British dining in revamped inn

This whitewashed 19th-century inn has had a new lease of life under the auspices of regional big-hitter Andreas Antona. Tasteful modern refurbishment makes the most of its beams and exposed brickwork, with warm tones, dark wood and polished tables entirely in tune with the pubby mood. The cooking has its roots in classic European ideas and delivers a touch of modern refinement whilst not turning its nose up at steak and chips with onion rings on the same menu.  A big-hitting opener partners crispy duck egg with beer-cured ham, caramelized celeriac, intense cep purée and a rich and glossy chicken jus. Next up, a piggy plateful of pork belly, tender cheek and a croquette of head meat is helped along by crackling, smoked onion, salted apple purée, sage jus and braised barley, while caramelized white chocolate sauce poured into hazelnut praline soufflé alongside blood orange ice cream provides a final flourish.

etch. by Steven Edwards – Brighton, East Sussex

Exciting on-trend cooking in a vibrant hot-spot

The man leading the young team in this exciting new-generation Brit eatery is a former BBC MasterChef: The Professionals winner, and since he set up shop at the western end of Hove’s main drag in 2017, the cooking has really gathered momentum. The space is cool with its midnight-blue walls, brass-edged tables and open kitchen adding to a buzzy air of all-round vitality. Monthly-changing set menus of five, seven or nine courses have their heart in Sussex produce, and, the palate primed with an umami hit from Marmite brioche with seaweed butter, creative and intricately detailed combos score hit after hit, among them sea bass with cauliflower in various incarnations, apple, capers and shrimps, then outstanding South Downs smoked venison loin, with a crisp samosa of haunch, plus pickled, roasted and puréed squash. As for sweet ideas, cranberry Bakewell tart is matched with cinnamon ice cream, cranberry gel and poached and puréed pear.

Fordwich Arms – Canterbury, Kent

Highly skillful and inventive creations

The 1930s country boozer with a terrace and garden looking over the River Stour was begging for a makeover, and that’s just what it got when high-flying young chef-patron Dan Smith took the helm in 2018 and immediately turned the place into a foodie destination. The updated stripped-back style looks the part without detracting from the period charm of its oak-panelled dining room, cosy open fires and 1930s-vintage bar. Smith’s cooking is firmly in the new-wave modern British camp, allying sharp technique with intriguing combinations of first-class materials. Spitfire ale sourdough and rye bread with smoked pork fat and braised onions is a storming start, before poached Whitstable oysters that come pointed up with diced apple, caviar and light creamy sauce. Main-course venison of buttery tenderness is served as fillet and confit with celeriac, damson, smoked bone marrow and a full-throttle jus. Dessert takes a more mainstream route, matching baked St Clements cheesecake with Cointreau granita.

John’s House – Mountsorrel, Leicestershire

Farm to plate cooking in a farmhouse

John Duffin has food in his DNA: after working up an impressive CV in some of London’s stellar kitchens, he returned to his roots by opening his own restaurant on the family farm where he grew up. Bare beams and brick walls, wooden floors and tables all add up to a rustic feel, but think again if you’re expecting food in a similar vein. Sure, Duffin is committed to a ‘farm to plate’ philosophy – much of the produce comes from his family’s land, after all – but the cooking is ambitious, precise and full of contemporary verve. Marinated heritage tomatoes bursting with flavour are nimbly partnered with almond gazpacho and fresh mint, while main-course pork belly comes with the balanced flavours of sweetcorn purée, hen of the woods mushrooms and gremolata. A clever dessert of meringue encasing yuzu curd alongside elderflower sorbet and white chocolate rounds things off nicely.

Launceston Place – London, W8

Exciting modern cooking in genteel Kensington

There’s no obvious clue that the well-groomed Georgian townhouse on the corner of a leafy little residential Kensington street is anything more than just another smart-neighbourhood eatery, but gastronomes know that this is a destination worth seeking out. The interior design is certainly in keeping with the postcode, with the series of spaces done out in shades of grey with splashes of colour coming from the modern artworks on the walls. Light, modern cooking, courtesy of the talented young chef, Ben Murphy, delivers clever combinations of texture and bold flavour, all deftly engineered with invention and flair and dressed-to-thrill presentation. Roast celeriac stars in an impressive opener alongside a gutsy vegetable ragout ramped up with truffle, mint oil and emulsion, and Parmesan. Next up, superlative halibut shines in the company of grelot onion, potato terrine and a potent jus. To finish, pear in various forms is matched with maple mousse and crunchy pecan feuilletine.

Lords of the Manor – Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire

Refined cooking in the Cotswolds

Standing proud among Upper Slaughter’s glorious honey-coloured Cotswold stone buildings, Lords of the Manor is a former rectory dating from the 17th century that backs on to eight acres of green and pleasant grounds. The interior has the best of both worlds: original features and chic contemporary furnishings. Making the most of the garden views, the classy look of the dining room makes a relaxed setting for modern cooking that combines elements of French classicism with more contemporary, ingredients-led ideas. Orkney scallop tartare with Granny Smith apple and fennel-infused crème fraiche opens with impressive clarity and balance, while precisely timed Anjou pigeon with salt-baked beetroot, chard, and fig and black pudding condiment represents the more robust end of the spectrum. The same balance and purity of flavours is on display again when it comes to dessert, with malted milk tart with stem ginger and orange rising to the occasion.

The Methuen Arms – Corsham, Wiltshire

Destination restaurant in a Georgian inn

In 1805, the former Red Lion took the Methuen family’s name when it was rebuilt in Bath stone with three storeys and a fine portico. The period character looms large within thanks to elm floorboards, flagstones, rugs, log fires and walls hung with local prints and etchings, and there’s a real energy about the place these days, particularly in the kitchen where Leigh Evans delivers modern British food that satisfies on all levels with its clearly defined, confident flavours and thoughtful textural interplay. The finest local produce, including goodies from the kitchen garden, underpin it all. A feisty starter unites lamb belly and sweetbreads with artichokes, hazelnut, gem lettuce and mint, while main course sees a superlative slab of halibut alongside the forthright flavours of girolles, parsnips, braised beef and truffle mash. Vivacious flavours continue through to a dessert of burnt passionfruit cream with mango salsa, crisp coconut and coconut ice cream.

Pétrus – London, SW1

Immaculate modern French cooking from the Ramsay stable

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Royal Hospital Road may well be the flagship of Mr Ramsay’s empire, but Pétrus runs it a very close second when it comes to delivering dynamic modern French food. The dining room is a sophisticated space with hues of copper, beige, silver, and splashes of claret red as a nod to the namesake wine, and well-spaced tables dressed up for the business of fine dining around a centrepiece walk-in glass wine room bristling with starry vintages. Now headed up by Russell Bateman, the kitchen interprets the Ramsay style confidently, with classic techniques and combinations rather than novelty to the fore, as in the roast veal sweetbreads that combine with castelfranco radicchio, almond, lemon and truffle in a stunning opener. Next up, superb Cornish monkfish is counterpointed by squash, chanterelle and ginger. To finish, a quenelle of roast hazelnut ice cream is slotted into a masterful praline soufflé at the table.

Rothay Manor Hotel & Fine Dining – Ambleside, Cumbria

Refined Lakeland hotel with a loyal clientele

Built by a Liverpool shipping merchant in 1823, many of Rothay’s Regency features are still much in evidence. The handsome whitewashed pile is a great example of a traditional Lake District country-house hotel, standing in attractive landscaped gardens a short walk from honeypot Ambleside. New owners have raised the bar in recent years, not least in the restaurant, where a gently contemporary look lines up with adventurous modern country house cooking based on splendid local produce. Nicely timed pigeon opens proceedings, balanced with the sharpness of pickled beetroot, as well as liquorice and hazelnuts. Following that, a fine piece of brill has the added punch of chicken wings, mushrooms, cabbage and shaved truffle, while local lamb might appear as loin, rib and sweetbreads alongside root vegetables, sea buckthorn and cime di rapa greens. The final flourish comes in the form of a rhubarb workout – poached, jelly, crisps, crumb – with sheep’s milk, hibiscus and malt.

The Salutation – Sandwich, Kent

Refined contemporary cooking in Victorian splendour

Fans of Victoriana will no doubt be intrigued to learn that this handsome country house was once home to the renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Ensconced in glorious gardens, the interiors are restored to their full glory and the cooking is a perfect fit with the contemporary boutique country house mood. Chef Shane Hughes is well versed in modern culinary trends and deploys applies honed techniques to well-sourced materials in a starter of seared hand-dived scallops with a galette of crispy rabbit and mozzarella pointed up with rabbit jelly, cherry tomato and a tarragon and sweet mustard dressing. Main courses deliver neat spins on intuitive combinations, as in a slow-cooked duck leg and spiced honey-glazed breast with carrot purée, bok choi and ginger cream sauce. For pudding, baked American cheesecake rich enough for its own Swiss bank account comes with bourbon-marinated Kentish cherries, peanut butter ice cream and cherry jelly.

Stem – London, W1

Of-the-moment British cooking in a Mayfair townhouse

Mark Jarvis (of Anglo and Neo Bistro fame) has picked a handsome Mayfair townhouse just off Regents Street for his third venture. Inside, it puts on a clean modern style, with deep purple banquettes and copper pendant lights set against stark white walls, and good-natured, knowledgeable staff contributing to the relaxed atmosphere. Jarvis is a dab hand at crafting bang up-to-date food that’s defined by its remarkable clarity of flavour and attention to detail. Set lunch is a snip, otherwise settle in for the carte or taster menu. Sound materials are carefully handled in a simple salad of heirloom tomatoes raised to a higher plane by a vibrant seaweed dressing and buttermilk, followed by an immaculately handled piece of translucent cod given depth by onion oil and balanced by fresh peas and charred lettuce. For pudding, the house take on Eton mess is a deconstructed plateful of meringue shards concealing strawberry sorbet, mint and velvety vanilla cream.

Stocks Hotel – Sark, Channel Islands

Traditional dishes showcasing local produce

Tucked away in a tranquil and picturesque valley – but then again just about everywhere on Sark is quiet and picturesque – Stocks is a smart hotel built around a Georgian farmhouse. It’s done out in a traditional manner, and that goes for the fine-dining restaurant, too. With its opulent drapes and white tablecloths, the panelled dining room provides a traditional and formal setting for technically adept cooking that pays its dues to modern ideas and is also – thanks to a kitchen has close links with local fishermen and farms – solidly ingredient driven. Citrus-cured monkfish with gin-infused cucumber, borage and yoghurt is a fresh and vivid starter, and the bar stays high for a dish of Guernsey turbot with braised chicken wings, baby gem, Jerusalem artichoke and chicken jus. A perfectly risen coconut soufflé partnered with coconut sorbet and a zippy pineapple and chilli salsa is proof that desserts are a major strength too.

The Wilderness – Birmingham, West Midlands

Playful modern cooking in a wilderness environment

Tucked down an alleyway in the jewellery quarter, The Wilderness is an atmospheric venue with skylight panels and an open kitchen, decked with foliage to bring a sense of sylvan repose to city eating. Top-class British produce supplemented by foraged ingredients and seasonal goodies from their own allotment provide the building-blocks and underpinning them is a sharp grasp of flavour and sound technique that delivers playful, inspired modern cooking. A dramatic opener of venison tartare with beetroot purée, parsley shoots, sweet shallot and the pungency of wasabi emulsion paves the way for a sharply executed dish of tempura monkfish with a hint of garlic and chilli and a light and fresh accompaniment of sorrel, elderflower emulsion, gherkin and pickled parsnip powder. Desserts experiment with multi-layered, often savoury flavours, as in the miso ice cream matched with sesame caramelized filo pastry, white wine-infused apple balls and richly buttery salted caramel.

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