London Michelin Stars 2012 – The Winners and Losers

The latest batch of Michelin stars were shot out into the sky yesterday (6 October) and this years list is probably best described as Same, Same but Different.  The top of the list stayed the same but there was some movement around the one and two star mark. It’s easy enough to say that the Michelin system is too French and too outdated.  Chef Marcus Wareing said: “It’s a system.  It’s about knowing the rules”, but still the annual announcement always comes complete with sharp intakes of breath in the London restaurant world.

Michelin star dining at Maze

At first glance there appears to be little change this year in the Michelin ranks.  There are no new three Michelin star restaurants in the UK and all restaurants from last year have retained their stars.  Where it gets interesting is at the one star and two star level with a few new and exciting additions and a couple of restaurants which have been dropped.

The big news is the inclusion of Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner and Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social both in their opening years.  I was a huge fan of both restaurants this year and if you have not been I would suggest getting your skates on before the prices go up!

Some of Brett Graham’s team at The Ledbury

There was some disappointment for Pied a Terre and Tom Aikens which both lost stars in this years guide*, although after a meal at Pied a Terre this year which I felt “lacked the wow factor” I was not totally surprised by the downgrade.  Personally, I would have loved to see Brett Graham at The Ledbury get a third star as I think his food is in that realm, maybe next year…

I’ve reproduced the full list below including links to the restaurants where I have reviewed them.  It’s only a handful as lets face it eating at Michelin star restaurants is an expensive pastime, but I am always interested in the Bib Michelin guide which is the cheaper alternative and highlighted some stonking new places this year including the much loved Koya, da Polpo, Brawn and Opera Tavern all as new additions.  The full Bib Michelin and UK wide Michelin star list is available on Chef Hermes blog.

2012 Michelin Guide

Three Michelin star restaurants in the UK 
Alain Ducasse at The Dorcester, Mayfair
The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road, London
The Waterside Inn, Bray, Berkshire

Two Michelin star restaurants in London
The Ledbury
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley
Le Gavroche
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught
The Square
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

One Michelin star restaurants in London
Chapter One
Hakkasan Hanway Place
Pied à Terre
Club Gascon
Rhodes Twenty Four
Harwood Arms
River Café
La Trompette
North Road (New 2011)
St John
Kitchen W8
The Glasshouse
Petersham Nurseries Café
Galvin La Chapelle
Chez Bruce
Apsleys (at Lanesborough Hotel)
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Galvin at Windows (at London Hilton Hotel)
Hakkasan Mayfair (New 2011)
Nobu (at The Metropolitan Hotel)
Nobu Berkeley St
Pollen Street Social (New 2011)
Sketch (The Lecture Room and Library)
Wild Honey
L’Autre Pied
Locanda Locatelli
Rhodes W1
Seven Park Place (at St James’s Hotel and Club)

Happy eating…

*It has been pointed out to me by PhilD (who is always a wealth of knowledge on Chowhound) that Tom Aikens has lost a star as the restaurant in question has closed.


  1. I might not agree with the reasons why, but I can comprehend why many of my (mainly Chinese/Asian) faves don’t get Michelin stars. But why oh why hasn’t Launceston Place got one? A shocking omission imho.

  2. Agree with Mr Noodles – what on earth does Tristan Welch need to do to get a star? Hopelessly outmoded thing, Michelin.

  3. I agree The Ledbury deserves 3 in my humble opinion! I was putting a list together too, but agree with most of your comments so might just link to yours! 😉

  4. The lack of recognition for Launceston Place in previous years, not to mention stars for places I’ve found very disappointing INDEED is why I genuinely didn’t even bother looking at what was awarded this year.

    This is actually the first post/ list I’ve read on it.

    I’ve heard people mutter about inconsistency at LP perhaps being the issue but, frankly, given the shit meals I’ve had at starred restaurants, there are clearly others that are very inconsistent too.

    So what gives?

    Whilst I appreciate that, in the industry, it is still relevant, not least for the increased visibility and appeal it gives to a chef and the restaurant, for ME it’s simply more and more irrelevant each year.

  5. Tom Aikens lost a star at “Tom Aikens Restaurant” because it has closed and is/was a very different proposition to “Tom’s Kitchen(s)” none of which have held stars.

  6. Mr Noodles – Totally agree. In my post on this last year ( I said I thought both Launceston Place and Koffman’s deserved stars.

    Katy Salter – Agree. I have eaten twice at LP and both times my meal was fantastic and up there with all the Michelin starred places I have eaten at.

    Kavey – It is like they have a vendetta against him! My meals at LP have been consistently goo I have to say. I am always interested to see the Michelin stars but my favourite places are often Bib Michelin.

    Phil D – Thanks for that – I have clarified this in the text above.

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