Mayfair’s Guinea Grill has seen off strong competition from steak specialists Hawksmoor to win the award for Best Steaks & Grills at the first Harden’s London Restaurant Awards 2016.
Specialising in grass-fed Scotch beef steaks, Guinea Grill was a Young’s pub since 1888, and started serving steaks in 1952 to cater for American tourists after the Second World War, becoming a hot ticket for film stars, politicians and world leaders.
It also saw off competition from four-strong newcomer Flat Iron at the ceremony, held yesterday at The Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, in front of a star-studded crowd including Jason Atherton, Richard Corrigan and David Moore.
The Araki, the UK’s most expensive restaurant, won the Chapel Down award for London’s Top Gastronomic Experience, beating Michel Roux Jnr’s Le Gavroche and Brett Graham’s The Ledbury.
Among 12 categories, awards recognised the whole price range of dining experiences in the capital, the cheapest being the winner of the Best Street Food category, Mark Gevaux – aka The Rib Man – whose meat rolls start at £7.
A Lifetime Achievement award sponsored by The Hippodrome Casino was presented to Bruce Poole, in recognition of his work at Chez Bruce – voted London’s Favourite Restaurant for over a decade by participants in Harden’s annual diner survey.
Top Newcomer went to Lee Tiernan’s Black Axe Mangal for his “mind-blowingly good” and “off-the-wall” combination of “loud metal and spicy kebabs”.
The Chapel Down award for Wine List of the Year went to Noble Rot in Bloomsbury, for its “unbeatably interesting list… with lots of interesting vintages (including many mature wines) from in-the-know vineyards”.
Milk in Balham took the prize for Best Brunch (“hands down the best breakfast in SW London”) and Fulham’s celebrated Harwood Arms winning Top Bar or Pub, in association with Curious Brew, for “taking pub food to a new level entirely” as a “gastropub on steroids”.
The Wolseley was recognised as Best for Business (sponsored by Exmoor Caviar), and Clos Maggiore as Best for Romance.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs won the award for Top Coffee House and Ham Yard for Best Afternoon Tea.
Peter Harden, co-founder of Harden’s and host of the awards said: “Having read and looked through more than 1,000,000 restaurant reviews in my career I know the amazing commitment it takes to be a leader in the eating-out industry. I salute all those shortlisted via our survey, but particularly of course Mitsuhiro Araki, whose gamble in giving up his three Michelin Stars in Tokyo and moving his operation to London is proving spectacularly successful; and is yet another feather in London’s culinary cap.”