Ludlow and Cumbria have long been synonymous with great gastronomy in the UK. But now they have been usurped by our very own Channel Islands, who have just been crowned the UK’s top gastronomic “hotspot” in a prestigious annual restaurant guide.
For the first time in its 70-year history, The Good Food Guide has drawn up a list of what it deems to be the regions serving up the very best food in the country, based on its inspectors’ scores from anonymous visits and adjusted for population size.
Plentiful fresh seafood and local produce have traditionally graced the menus of the clutch of Michelin-starred restaurants on Jersey, while Guernsey has established itself as a gastronomic destination thanks to numerous new eateries and artisan producers.
In the 2020 Good Food Guide being published on Thursday, a total of 16 Channel Island restaurants feature in the 1,200 separate listings.
Bohemia on Jersey – with one Michelin star and five AA rosettes, the highest-scoring restaurant on the islands – is ranked at number 21 in the guide’s overall top 50. The GFG calls it a sophisticated dining room, which “is in many ways peak St Helier … sourcing primarily from Jersey’s abundance”.
Steve Smith, executive chef at Bohemia, said: “The team and I are incredibly proud to have ranked first in the Channel Islands for this year’s guide. It’s great to receive recognition for our hard work, and also fantastic that the Channel Islands has performed so well overall.”
Along with top restaurants, a number of up-and-coming “local gems” can also be found on the islands, including No 10 Restaurant & Bar in St Helier, hailed for cooking that is “unostentatious yet ringing with exciting flavours and combinations”.
Amber Dalton, managing editor of the Waitrose Good Food Guide, said: “The arrival of No 10 Restaurant & Bar is proof that, when it comes to eating out, the Channel Islands have not stood still. The Guide lists the very best places to dine across Britain, and with 16 Channel Islands restaurants included in the GFG, it’s no surprise that they came out on top. We hope to see even more new entries from the Channel Islands next year.”
Also highlighted is Stocks Hotel in Sark – “an oak-panelled dining room in a country hotel, which sources all its food from within a five-mile radius”.
The guide also singles out Guernsey’s Octopus restaurant– a seafood restaurant “with an all-day menu touting everything from fish and chips to tofu ramen”.
In second place on the guide’s new regional list is Cornwall. It is followed by Bristol at three, Somerset at four and Cumbria at five.