When it comes to Michelin stars, the South East has them in abundance. Home to the white cliffs of Dover, the Uffington White Horse and the River Thames, this region is not only the producer of the second largest regional economy in the UK (after London, of course) but is also a place of natural beauty. The ample countryside means the area benefits from a bountiful natural larder for the talented chefs residing here.
With a strong field-to-fork ethos and an abundance of restaurants, it really is no surprise that the South East is home to copious Michelin stars. Keep reading to discover which venues we wholeheartedly suggest you visit.
Surrounded by beautiful grounds in the elegant setting of a former vicarage, L’Ortolan is secluded yet easily accessible, being only five minutes from junction 11 of the M4 motorway. The staff offer a warm welcome with polished, friendly service, and guests are encouraged to relax and immerse themselves in the complete fine dining experience.
Fat Duck, Bray
The Fat Duck has regained its third star for 2017. It is known for its ground-breaking research and development into multi-sensory dining, which is enhanced by a carefully selected wine list and minimalist decor.
Waterside Inn, Bray
Occupying a picturesque spot overlooking the River Thames, this French restaurant is headed up by Alain Roux. It offers a dining experience that simply shouldn’t be missed – visit for yourself and you’ll understand why this restaurant has retained three stars for longer than any other in the UK.
Sir Charles Napier, High Wycombe
Proudly seated atop the Chiltern Hills, the Sir Charles Napier has been run by the same family for almost 50 years. It is an atmospheric gastropub that, in addition to retaining its Michelin star, has been awarded three AA rosettes.
At Alimentum, style does not end with the food. The sleek black and red decor lends a sophisticated atmosphere to the large entrance bar area and the main restaurant. With live music from local talent every Friday and Saturday night, the bar itself – with its contemporary cocktails and charming staff – is worth a visit on its own.
Midsummer House, Cambridge
Situated in the centre of the historic city of Cambridge, this exquisite eatery encapsulates proprietor and chef Daniel Clifford’s vision for culinary perfection. The modern British cuisine is underpinned by classical French techniques, resulting in seriously sophisticated dishes.
Black Rat, Winchester
When David Nicholson transformed a 17th-century pub into The Black Rat, a fine dining restaurant, he made sure the pub’s historic charm and relaxed ambience were retained. The result is a Michelin-starred restaurant without pretension, with all of the appeal of a well-loved home.
In the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’ll find this truly charming setting for memorable fine dining. Originally used in the 17th-century as a coaching inn, the building JSW occupies still boasts the traditional features of the era, with old wooden beams, a well, and a cellar that now stocks an impressive selection of wine.
Hinds Head, Bray
Renowned chef Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck in Bray took ownership
of The Hinds Head in October 2004. The village public house reopened to great critical acclaim and was awarded with a Michelin star in 2012 for its outstanding cuisine.
The West House, Biddenden
Biddenden is a beautiful Kentish country village with an intriguing history. Amidst the Flemish weavers’ cottages that line the High Street is The West House. Like Graham Garrett’s menu, The West House’s unassuming frontage and intimate setting conceal a treasure trove of culinary expertise that will, quite simply, knock your socks off.
Hand & Flowers, Marlow
Within a year of opening, The Hand & Flowers at Marlow had already earned its first Michelin star, three AA rosettes and one Egon Ronay star – testament to the hard work, professionalism and dedication of Tom and Beth Kerridge, who remain steadfast at the helm.
Wild Rabbit, Kingham
The Wild Rabbit prides itself on its locally sourced, seasonal food. Head chef Tim Allen joined in 2016 and has already put his own distinctive style on the menus. His seasonal dishes celebrate local produce; with the venue being at the heart of the Daylesford Estate, he’s spoilt for choice.
Nut Tree, Cherwell
This thatched, Grade II listed building may look like a traditional pub from the outside and, in many ways, that’s just what it is – inside you’ll find low beams, log-burning stoves and a bar fully stocked with well-kept real ales. The pub even has its own Aunt Sally team, and there’s a lovely beer garden in which to bask in the sunshine and enjoy a classic ploughman’s lunch.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton
Le Manoir is overseen by self-taught and witty chef, Raymond Blanc. We once asked him what food would never go out of fashion, to which he responded ‘fashion. Fashion never goes out of fashion.’ What a scamp. You can read more of our interview here.
Restaurant Tristan, Horsham
An illustrious career has taken Tristan Mason from the kitchens of London’s Mirabelle, to the head chef position at The Hare in Hungerford, where at just 29 he secured his first Michelin star. Having swapped the bright lights of the capital for a slower, but no less exciting, pace of life in West Sussex, Tristan Mason has realised a life-long ambition in the opening of the Michelin-starred Restaurant Tristan.
Gravetye Manor, West Hoathly
This restaurant’s talented kitchen team creates accomplished cuisine using the best ingredients, including produce from the hotel’s kitchen garden. Eating here is a pleasingly unhurried affair, as guests are given plenty of time to sit back and admire the grand dining room – and, of course, the well-presented dishes arriving at their skilfully laid table.
We’ve highlighted our favourite 2017 Michelin Guide establishments from around Great Britain. Take a look at who we adore in