by Fiona Duncan, Jade Conroy and Sherelle Jacobs, The Telegraph, October 3, 2017
The cloches have been polished, sommeliers tested on their biodynamic wines and chefs put through the culinary mill – the inspectors have made their decisions and this week released the Michelin Guide for 2017/18. Many of them are in hotels, pubs and inns. Though old favourites are still going strong – Hambleton Hall this year becomes the longest-standing holder of a Michelin star, at 35 years – a host of newbies join the starry ranks. We round them up below.
Lympstone Manor Exmouth, Devon, England
9Telegraph expert rating
Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm, and showstopping Michelin-starred food. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. The fact that the restaurant achieved a Michelin star within six months of opening says it all. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Pan-fried duck liver with marinated raisins and caramelised walnuts sounds treacherously rich on paper. In fact, it was cleverly layered: soft liver, almost designed to be both bitten and sipped, and a shot of fruity sourness from an orange-braised chicory. A course of Darts Farm beef fillet also stood out. Read expert review. From £290per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
Coworth Park Ascot, Berkshire, England
8Telegraph expert rating
A classic but modern country house hotel located on the edge of Windsor Great Park. It attracts an affluent, countrified crowd who come mainly for its sybaritic spa, fragrant gardens, polo fields and stables, and – as of October 2017 – its Michelin star. Dine at crisp white tables underneath a copper halo sculpture, which serves up modern, local British fare with French inflections, such as marinated langoustines and pork belly, Exmoor caviar, British wagyu beef and braised turbot. Service is whip-sharp, though steep prices befit its Michelin-starred status. Afterwards, retreat to deeply cosseting bedrooms, with features such as four-poster beds and roll-top bathtubs. Read expert review. From £255per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Booking.com.
Moor Hall Aughton, Lancashire, England
8Telegraph expert rating
A 16th-century manor house, now a seven-bedroom Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms. Though just 10 miles from Liverpool, in Aughton, it feels pleasantly rural. Mark Birchall, a former Roux Scholarship winner, may be softly spoken and self-effacing, but he is without doubt a hugely talented chef, whose nine-year tenure as executive head chef at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume soon resulted in a second Michelin star for the Cartmel restaurant. It's paid off at Moor Hill too – the restaurant earned a star in October 2017. At dinner he offers two tasting menus and even the shorter five course one turns out to be a delicate, seasonal, imaginative feast, embellished with little between-course bite-size surprises. There’s technique in evidence, including the use of a laboratory rotary evaporator in the state-of-the-art kitchen, but the dishes, on local pottery, taste natural, seasonal and perfectly delicious. Wines are chosen for suitability of grape to climate. Read expert review. From £190per night.
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