Nine NW restaurants in the UK charts that matter.

ONCE there was only one chart that mattered. On Sunday afternoons, unfinished homework would be cast aside as Radio One’s Top 40 run-down kicked into gear, and the nation discovered which slice of seven-inch heaven had made it to the top that week.

However, since that weekly institution lost its must-listen allure, our world has become choked by charts. The internet loves a top ten list (or more usually, a top seven) and no music mag is complete without yet another Top 50 Albums of All Time feature. 

But some charts continue to carry some clout, and the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants list is one that restaurants and food lovers still look out for.

This year’s list is published in the newspaper’s monthly food magazine, The Dish, on 5 February, and it has been revealed that two restaurants from the Liverpool city region have made the cut.

The first is The Art School on Sugnall Street. Since opening in September 2014 with Paul Askew at the helm, it has become a go-to with city diners in search of something extra special. The Sunday Times list says the restaurant “offers sophisticated cooking that doesn’t take itself too seriously”.

The other local restaurant to have made the grade is Fraiche in Oxton. Run by chef-patron Marc Wilkinson, it celebrated earning its ninth consecutive Michelin star back in autumn last year. According to the list, Wilkinson is a “talented modernist” who serves meals that are as “delicious as they are surprising”.

The two Liverpool region entries are among nine from the north west, including L’Enclume in Cumbria and Manchester’s Umezushi. But no sign of  Michelin starred Simon Radley at The Grosvenor, Chester, was listed at number 66 last year.

The selection has been made by a judging panel that includes Jamie Oliver, Antonio Carluccio and Nick Jones, the founder of exclusive members’ club, Soho House.

The editor of The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants, Laurel Ives, says: “The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants judging panel is made up of some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in the industry, from chefs and owners, to our own expert writers. They have picked out the very best establishments that the UK’s impressive culinary scene has to offer.”

The Sunday Times list doesn’t rank the entries, but announces regional winners and an overall champ when the magazine hits the streets. At the time of writing, we don’t yet know who will take the north west’s crown, but making the top 100 is an honour in itself.

Maybe it doesn’t quite compete for drama with Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face stopping Ultravox from getting to number one, but if you run a restaurant, the news that you’ve made this prestigious chart must be music to your ears. 

Damon Fairclough