A restaurant in Northern Ireland has beaten eateries across the UK to be named the overall winner of the Waitrose Good Food Guide Local Restaurant of the Year Awards.
Wine & Brine in the market town of Moira in County Armagh, has only been open since December, but its commitment to ‘seasonal and local ingredients at ridiculously reasonable prices’ means it has been named not just the top choice for Northern Ireland but crowned overall winner by the editors of the ‘Good Food Guide’, owned and published by Waitrose.
The awards have also unearthed regional winners in unusual locations, including a gourmet garden centre. Mrs Miller’s, perched above Hazel Dene Garden Centre near Penrith in Cumbria, was awarded best local choice in the north-west. It was judged ‘a unique and refreshing place; a garden centre café that focuses on local ingredients and knows how to create feel good flavours’.
The Whitehouse Restaurant on the west coast of Scotland won best Scottish Local Restaurant. Located in Lochaline, it’s described by the Guide as being ‘about as remote as you can get without leaving the mainland’. Diners travelling from outside the immediate local area will most likely have to take a ferry. One happy customer, who nominated the restaurant, said it has ‘local, fresh food, prepared unpretentiously and supremely well’.
‘Waitrose Good Food Guide’ editor Elizabeth Carter said: “The simple formula of a kitchen that cooks fresh to order is the very principle on which our guide was founded. We have always maintained that the best restaurants offer creative, memorable food based on quality, seasonal and local produce. In other words, no pretensions or gimmicks: just first class food cooked from ingredients deeply rooted in the region. A commitment to their community and a strong relationship with local suppliers is what makes a restaurant truly local.”
The annual Good Food Guide awards recognise the best neighbourhood eateries up and down the country. And to mark their 10th year, the awards have been renamed ‘Local’ Restaurant of the Year’ (they were previously called ‘Readers’ awards) to encourage diners to look closer to home and champion the unsung restaurants on their doorstep. The awards are based on public nominations with a panel of judges choosing the most outstanding for their overall winner.
After sifting through 30,000 nominations, the editors of the Good Food Guide announced these winning dining establishments in 10 different UK regions:
Northern Ireland and Overall Winner – Wine & Brine, Moira, County Armagh
South East – The Compasses Inn, Crundale, Kent
London – Portobello Ristorante Pizzeria, Notting Hill
North West – Mrs Miller’s, Culgaith, Cumbria
North East – Peace and Loaf, Newcastle
Scotland – The Whitehouse, Lochaline, Highlands
Wales – Sosban and the Old Butcher’s, Menai Bridge, Isle of Anglesey
Midlands – The Jockey, Baughton, Worcestershire
South West – Wilks, Bristol
East England – The Duck Inn, Stanhoe, Norfolk
Regional winner: Mrs Miller’s, perched above Hazel Dene Garden Centre near Penrith in Cumbria