Home News Bristol chefs react to being snubbed at National Restaurant Awards 2021

Bristol chefs react to being snubbed at National Restaurant Awards 2021

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The owners and chefs of some of Bristol’s top restaurants have responded to the news that only one of the city’s establishments made it into this year’s Top 100.

The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards announced earlier this week included Casamia at number 28, but it was the only Bristol entry.

In recent years, several Bristol restaurants have appeared in the Top 100, reflecting the city’s reputation as one of the UK’s best places for food.

READ MORE:Bristol restaurant named one of UK’s best

The awards organised by Restaurant magazine celebrate the brilliance and vibrancy of the UK’s eating out scene, and reward the very best chefs, front of house staff and restaurants the country has to offer.

The list of the 100 best restaurants in the UK are voted for by chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.

In 2018, Casamia was joined by fellow Bristol restaurants Root, Wilson’s and Paco Tapas – but it’s now the only one. The previous year, Box-E, Bulrush and the now closed Pony & Trap all featured in the list.

So why does Bristol now only have one restaurant in the prestigious Top 100 and does it matter? Chefs and owners of past entrants have mixed views.

“I think the top 100 is always slightly more skewed towards new restaurants,” says Tess Lidstone, co-owner of Box-E at Cargo, Wapping Wharf. “Or maybe that’s just how it’s been when Bristol restaurants have been in it.

“Accolades are lovely, of course, but they don’t determine whether a place has a good food scene or not and I think we’d agree that Bristol’s scene is buzzing.”

Rob Howell, head chef of Root, also at Cargo, says lists are not really something he strives for but it’s still nice to make it into them.

“Some may be disappointed about not making it but I think the Bristol food scene is stronger than ever and had such a positive impact on the city in the last couple of years. We are just grateful to be part of that community.



Elliott and Tessa Lidstone, owners of Box-E

“Since being on the list, the restaurant has come on so much and the team has grown with it. Not only striving for good food but the staff’s wellbeing is just as important. We are sourcing our food with more care and attention and working on the satisfaction of not only the customer but the team.

“That sometimes isn’t reflected on a list but congratulate all the restaurants that made it into this year’s Top 100, and an extra well done to Casamia for representing Bristol.”

“People in Bristol know what good food is”

Jan Ostle of Wilson’s in Redland is sanguine about the healthy state of the Bristol restaurant scene, especially since Covid.

“To be honest, I’m really not that fussed about whether we are in lists or not but all of the restaurants in the Top 100 definitely deserve a place.

“As to why more Bristol restaurants aren’t on there, your guess is as good as mine. I’m just happy to have survived a global pandemic and be able to continue doing what I love.

“People in Bristol know what good food is, they don’t need to be told by a list or a guide where to eat, they seek it out, it’s in their blood. Bristol is little gastronomic nation state that has its own rules and lists!”

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