We’re proud to announce the results of our SquareMeal awards for 2022, which highlight incredible culinary talent in London and across the UK.
As the UK's leading independent restaurant guide, we have over thirty years of experience reviewing stand-out places to eat up and down the country. However, we weren’t alone in the judging of our 2022 awards. Our annual Top 100 lists consider thousands of diner votes which reflect repeat visits and multiple experiences at each venue to ensure each place is thoroughly tried and tested by both us and you.
In London, Chet Sharma’s BiBi came out on top. This modern Indian restaurant finds its home in Mayfair yet incredibly manages to retain a laidback charm that makes it feel suitable for all kinds of occasions. Chet’s journey isn’t a typical one. Instead of growing up in kitchens, he studied physics – the proud owner of a PhD from Oxford – before working as a development chef for some of the biggest names in the country. There was time spent at L’Enclume and Moor Hall before he joined the JKS family (Lyle's, Bao, Trishna and more) to work on menus for some of their biggest brands, including Michelin starred Gymkhana. The culmination of Chet’s experience is his own restaurant that draws on childhood memories of food to present a playful, imaginative menu that is both familiar and unique in its deft spicing.
Chet Sharma, BiBi's executive chef, photographed by Sean Calitz
Speaking about his win, Chet told us: "Winning this award is a huge achievement for us at BiBi and is made all the more special as we are still so early on in our journey. It drives us to work harder, to keep creating, innovating and looking after our guests the best we can. Thank you to SquareMeal and to our incredible team at BiBi."
Elsewhere in the top ten there's sustainably-minded Fallow, the Selby brothers' incomparable Evelyn's Table experience and innovative and exciting Mexican opening KOL.
Narrowing down the Top 100 UK restaurants was equally as challenging as the London list with such a bredth of styles across the country. Osip in Somerset took the crown, being named the number one restaurant in the UK by SquareMeal and our readers. This pretty, petite restaurant finds its home in Bruton and is headed up by Merlin Labron-Johnson whose impressive CV boasts years’ worth of experience at top Michelin-starred kitchens around the world. His own venture has garnered much critical acclaim since opening and serves a staunchly seasonal tasting menu that is a reminder of the beauty in simplicity. Ingredients are handled with care and creativity for an experience that will stay with you long after you've left.
Acknowledging that a restaurant’s success rarely lies solely with the chef, Merlin graciously thanked his team, saying he was “so grateful” to them and “the amazing local suppliers who have been so integral to achieving the accolade.”
“It’s a huge honour to be awarded No1 Top UK Restaurant by SquareMeal. I’m really proud that this has been voted for by genuine, passionate people who love what we’re doing at Osip so it truly does mean a lot." He added.
Completing the top three UK restaurants is Gareth Ward's Ynyshir in Powys and Pensons in Herefordshire. Wales, in particular, holds a whole host of incredible restaurants which have newly found a place on our lists, including Home at Penarth and SY23.
Similarly, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s restaurant scenes show no signs of slowing down, with powerhouses like Inver and The Muddlers Club respectively being featured. Some brilliantly affordable restaurants made it in too, like Julie’s Kopitiam in Glasgow and Bokman in Bristol, where you can leave well-fed for under £30.
Inver, a remote restaurant on the west coast and one of Scotland's best restaurant, placed on the list amongst 12 more of its contemporaries north of the border
While many of the restaurants in our top 100 selections are old tried-and-tested favourites, there is also a significant proportion of new restaurants which represent the ever-evolving exciting dining scene across the UK. These recently opened eateries have not only had to deal with the typical hurdles any new spot faces, many were also left with the consequences of throwing open their doors during a pandemic. In this sense, each of our newly awarded Top 100 restaurants also represent the tenacity, passion and commitment of everyone involved to make them a true success against all the odds.
SquareMeal’s Head of Content Caroline Hendry says:
“A huge congratulations to all 100 restaurants, and in particular to our winners Osip and BiBi, who absolutely blew us away with their menus, their work ethics and their celebration of incredible suppliers.
“While some institutions have remained in the Top 100, lots of newcomers have also risen up the ranks since we last ran the awards; a wonderful accolade for each new restaurant that has launched in such a trying couple of years for hospitality.”
We hope you’ll join us in wishing every single restaurant in our two top 100 lists the very best of luck for the coming year. We'll be back with our 2023 list before you know it, but until then we suggest making a booking at some of the selection to try the very best of Great British cookery.
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