Only one Manchester restaurant made the cut this year... and probably not the one you'd expect

NINE North West restaurants have been included in this year’s Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants, which is to be published in their monthly food magazine supplement, The Dish, at the weekend.

The list is compiled by a judging panel of hospitality experts including Italian Chef Antonio Carluccio, Soho House-founder Nick Jones, and some chef called Jamie Oliver, who writes a column for the magazine.

Editor of the list, Laurel Ives, said: “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 the UK’s impressive culinary scene has to offer.”

The restaurants on the list aren’t ranked in any order, but eight regional winners and one overall winner, have been selected and will be revealed in the magazine on Sunday.

Manchester’s only entry in the Top 100 this year is, deservedly, Umezushi (review), which offers the city 'an unrivalled spectrum of Japanese cooking'. By comparison, last year’s list included both The French (no.30) and James Martin (no. 78). It seems odd to us that The French has been snubbed, as Head Chef Adam Reid continues to be at the helm as he has been for the past four years. With no noticeable loss of form, perhaps the esteemed (mostly London-based) judging panel decided not to make the journey after the recent departure of Simon Rogan.

Umezushi Exterior
Umezushi is the only Manchester restaurant to make the cut

Cumbria earned three inclusions this year by way of Rogan’s flagship restaurant L’Enclume (review) in Cartmel as well as Gilpin in Windermere, whose British Asian cuisine featuring Chef Hrishikesh Desai’s imaginative dishes helped to earn its first Michelin star this year. The Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside completes the list, thanks to stand out dishes such as 199-day aged beef.

Lancashire restaurants are featured on the list three times, with the small but perfectly formed Levanter (review) in Ramsbottom appearing for the first time thank to its top Spanish dishes like Txuleton beef rib. Michelin-starred Northcote (review), run by Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft makes the list again after reaching number 63 in 2016 and number 24 in 2015. Freemasons at Wiswell (review), run by Steven Smith, also made this year’s list thanks to food with “finesse and confidence” which the list describes as “hearty haute cuisine”.

Lenclume Exterior
Simon Rogan's L'Enclume also makes the list

Two Merseyside restaurants feature in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants – North West food champion Chef Paul Askew’s The Art School (review) in Liverpool offers 'sophisticated cooking that doesn’t take itself too seriously', while Fraiche (review) in Oxton on The Wirral, is run by Marc Wilkinson, who the list describes as a 'talented modernist'.

Not a single Cheshire establishment made this year’s Top 100 list. Michelin starred Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor, Chester, was listed at number 66 last year, down from 14 in 2015, but is absent this year. No mention of Sticky Walnut either, whose Chef/Patron Gary Usher publicly lambasted members of the Sunday Times on Twitter last year for assuming he would be fine with them leaving his independent establishment without paying for their meal.

The full Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants list will be published in the paper's supplement magazine, The Dish, on Sunday 5 February.