You would think all is fairly quiet on the restaurant front right now, but that is not the case. Its Michelin time in the culinary world – and that doesn’t stop for anything, a global pandemic or otherwise.
So despite them being mostly closed right now, lets celebrate our fabulous local restaurants who are deserving of the most prestigious food accolades in the world.
Simon Radley at The Grosvenor
We have to start off with the Chester King of Food himself. Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor is not only a fabulous Chef, but is an absolute gentleman as well. I was honoured many years ago to be allowed into his kitchen to commis for him for a day. It was such an incredible experience that I will treasure for ever, and one that I hope to repeat one day in the future, if he’ll have me back! Simon has retained his Michelin star this year, for the 30th year on the run. What an incredible achievement! And what a truly wonderful man.
You could say that Nik Friar is a rising star, but I think his rise to Michelin excellence has been pretty meteoric. He was awarded his first Michelin recommendation just six short months after he opened his hugely celebrated, plant based and fully sustainable restaurant hypha, and now he has just been awarded Michelin’s brand new and highly prized Green Star. Absolutely fantastic!
Upstairs at The Grill
Upstairs at The Grill is one of my all-time favourites. I was lucky enough to work there with Neil and Mark when I first returned from London, and now it has become a tradition to treat my better half there every year for his birthday, but sadly not last year. It is a decadent, luxurious, steak lovers dream and always a very special experience. Its no wonder it has a Michelin recommendation.
The Chef’s Table
Another restaurant which I hold dear is The Chef’s Table, and one of the main reasons is Chef Patron Liam Mackay was a very young (but clearly super-talented) Sous Chef at Upstairs at The Grill when I worked there back in 2004/5. They say the best things come in small packages, and The Chefs Table – with its intimate 30 covers is one of the very best in Chester, and Michelin agree!
Jospeh Benjamin is adored by so many. This restaurant epitomises Independent Chester from a food and drink point of view, having first been awarded their Michelin Bib Gourmand award nine years ago, and they have retained it ever since. Michelin say ‘This personally and passionately run bistro is named after its owners, Joe and Ben. The light, simple décor mirrors the style of cooking and the monthly menu offers tasty, well-judged dishes’. We say consistently fabulous and superb quality, every mouthful is a delight.
(Joseph Benjamin continue to trade with their much-loved JB at Home service for takeaway, check their socials for details).
Porta is a tapas and wine bar which opened in 2012 by restaurateur brothers Ben & Joe Wright. It is located next door to their eponymous restaurant, Joseph Benjamin. Porta is super-relaxed, informal and intimate. They take their inspiration from those beautiful little tapas bars of Barcelona and Madrid, and the atmosphere is always buzzing. They thoroughly deserve their Michelin status for serving truly delicious food with a wonderfully happy vibe.
(Porta continues to trade with their epic outdoor Chorizo takeaway BBQ Friday and Saturday afternoons, check their socials for details).
Covino is beautiful restaurant on Northgate Street serving the most delicious small plates using the very best local produce. Michelin say ‘This small, intimate establishment with high level seating is more than just a wine bar. Charcuterie and small plates sit alongside some more substantial dishes on the appealing menu – and are a perfect match for the organic and low-intervention wines’. I cannot wait to book in as soon as we’re allowed.
(Covino are currently trading with a takeaway service, check their socials for details).
Da Noi was an instant hit in the city when they opened back in 2018. The star of this show is most definitely Chef Valentina with her sublime authentic Italian cooking, and we can’t wait to see what she has in store when they reopen later on this year (fingers crossed). They have retained their Michelin plate for 2021, and its no surprise. Michelin say ‘Da Noi is an intimate place in the heart of the city, where the staff do everything they can to please their guests. The chef, a native of Italy, offers freshly made, authentic Italian dishes which follow the seasons. Every dish has a suggested wine pairing, with a mini wine …’
(Da Noi are currently serving their stunning Tour of Italy menu from their Da Noi at Home service, check their socials for details).
A huge congratulations to all of our wonderful local restaurants who have retained their Michelin status’ and accolades for 2021. I have no doubt that my fellow Chester food lovers will be booking in their droves to enjoy your fabulous dining experiences again very soon. I for one cannot wait, you have all been sorely missed.