Lancashire’s Moor Hall tops UK restaurant list

6 September 2019
Mark Birchall with Square Meal Editor Ben McCormack

Leading website and restaurant guide, SquareMeal, has announced the UK’s Top 100 restaurants, voted for by thousands of readers, bloggers and local foodies. SquareMeal’s Top 100 is truly unique as it’s the only poll to exclude London restaurants, allowing the UK’s regional dining scene to truly

From the Scottish Highlands to the beaches of Cornwall (and every plate in between), SquareMeal presents 2019’s best restaurants outside London – see the full list attached as an appendix.

Moor Hall in Lancashire comes out on top. Rural Lancashire is home to this year’s number one restaurant, Moor Hall, which has risen 25 places since 2018. The north-west county is also where you’ll find the highest riser in this year’s Top 100, Northcote, which has gone up 57 places to number 21. It has been a strong year for the North of
England overall, which has increased its tally of Top 100 restaurants to 20, up three since 2018.

Commenting on Moor Hall’s win, SquareMeal’s editor Ben McCormack said: “Moor Hall has had a meteoric rise since launching two years ago, winning its first Michelin star six months after opening, and its second in 2018. But when you know that the restaurant’s chef-patron is Mark Birchall, its success is no surprise. Birchall was head chef at L’Enclume in Cumbria but is very much his own man since returning to his Lancashire roots.

The setting in a stunningly re-imagined 16th-century manor house is a welcome corrective to stereotypes of Lancashire being nothing but terraced houses. Many of the ingredients that make it on to the menu, meanwhile, are supplied by Moor Hall’s five-acre estate and the farmland that surrounds the restaurant.
But, ultimately, it’s the end product that does the talking. Vegetables get a starring role while expertly sourced meat and fish are treated to imaginative pairings that make you re-evaluate the potential for deliciousness of every ingredient you taste. “Upon being presented with his award, Mark Birchall said: “Winning this award is a real boost for us.
It’s a nice pat on the back. It shows that our guests really enjoy what we do and it’s great to have the focus on us up north. It means an awful lot to me.”

The South West + Bristol rise up the charts. The South West of England is the other big winner in 2019, increasing its number of restaurants in the Top 100 from 15 to 21. Bristol, which is home to 2018’s number 1 restaurant Casamia, has now overtaken Edinburgh as the second most popular city for SquareMeal readers outside London, with
five restaurants in the Top 100. Edinburgh has four restaurants in the Top 100, while Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester each have two.

South East England still has more top-rated restaurants than any other UK region. The South East of England remains the most popular region of the United Kingdom for SquareMeal readers, with 35 restaurants in the Top 100. Eight of these are in Brighton, which remains the highest-rated city for eating out by SquareMeal readers, while Kent is home to the highest new entry on this year’s list, The Fordwich Arms, which has made its first appearance at an impressive number 10.

SquareMeal’s editor, Ben McCormack comments: “London gets the lion’s share of coverage when it comes to restaurants but SquareMeal’s UK Top 100 is gratifying proof that eating well does not end when you hit the M25. While 10 years ago this list would have been dominated by gastropubs and country-house hotels, the thriving restaurant scenes in Brighton, Bristol and Edinburgh prove that London isn’t the only city with a nationally recognised food scene. But it’s not just the cities where you’ll eat well. In every corner of the country, there’s an ambitious chef serving inventive cooking based on top-quality ingredients. There’s never been more of an
appetite for dining out in the UK – and UK diners have never been so spoilt for choice.”

SquareMeal UK Top 100 Restaurants 2019 – full list

  1. Moor Hall; Aughton, Lancashire

  2. The Waterside Inn; Bray, Berkshire
  3. L’Enclume; Cartmel, Cumbria
  4. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons; Great Milton, Oxfordshire
  5. Casamia; Bristol
  6. The Sportsman; Seasalter, Kent
  7. The Fat Duck; Bray, Berkshire
  8. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw; Port Isaac, Cornwall
  9. The Hand and Flowers; Marlow, Buckinghamshire
  10. The Fordwich Arms; Canterbury, Kent
  11. Restaurant Sat Bains; Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
  12. The Dining Room at Whatley Manor; Malmesbury, Wiltshire
  13. The Artichoke; Amersham, Buckinghamshire
  14. Ynyshir; Machynlleth, Powys
  15. The Coach; Marlow, Buckinghamshire
  16. Midsummer House; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
  17. The Woodspeen; Newbury, Berkshire
  18. 64 Degrees; Brighton, East Sussex
  19. The Black Swan at Oldstead; Oldstead, North Yorkshire
  20. Hrishi; Bowness, Cumbria
  21. Northcote; Blackburn, Lancashire
  22. Rogan and Co; Cartmel, Cumbria
  23. Paul Ainsworth at No. 6; Padstow, Cornwall
  24. The Cross Kenilworth; Kenilworth, Warwickshire
  25. Roots; York, North Yorkshire
  26. Adam Reid at The French; Manchester, Greater Manchester
  27. The Crown at Burchetts Green; Maidenhead, Berkshire
  28. Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen; Port Isaac, Cornwall
  29. The Man Behind the Curtain; Leeds, West Yorkshire
  30. Morston Hall; Holt, Norfolk
  31. Pony & Trap; Chew Magna, Bristol
  32. Benedicts; Norwich, Norfolk
  33. Prawn on the Lawn; Padstow, Cornwall
  34. Etch by Steven Edwards; Hove, East Sussex
  35. Coombeshead Farm; Lewannick, Cornwall
  36. Freemasons at Wiswell; Wiswell, Lancashire
  37. The Elephant; Torquay, Devon
  38. Matt Worswick at The Latymer; Bagshot, Surrey
  39. Ondine; Edinburgh
  40. House of Tides; Newcastle, Tyne and Wear
  41. Sticky Walnut; Chester, Cheshire
  42. Terre à Terre; Brighton, East Sussex
  43. Orwells; Henley, Oxfordshire
  44. Isaac At; Brighton, East Sussex
  45. Gravetye Manor; East Grinstead, West Sussex
  46. The Harrow at Little Bedwyn; Little Bedwyn, Wiltshire
  47. The Kitchin; Edinburgh
  48. Lake Road Kitchen; Ambleside, Cumbria
  49. Grazing by Mark Greenaway; Edinburgh
  50. The Little Fish Market; Brighton, East Sussex
  51. Parkers Arms; Newton, Lancashire
  52. Forest Side; Grasmere, Cumbria
  53. Timberyard; Edinburgh
  54. Stovell’s; Chobham, Surrey
  55. L’Ortolan; Reading, Berkshire
  56. The Raby Hunt; Darlington, County Durham
  57. The Seafood Restaurant; Padstow, Cornwall
  58. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie; Auchterader, Perthshire
  59. The Walnut Tree; Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
  60. Sorrel; Dorking, Surrey
  61. The Whitehouse; Lochaline, Highland
  62. The Seahorse; Dartmouth, Devon
  63. Restaurant Hywel Jones; Colerne, Wiltshire
  64. Y Polyn; Capel Dewi, Carmarthen
  65. Roth Bar & Grill; Bruton, Somerset
  66. The Angel at Hetton; Skipton, North Yorkshire
  67. Carter’s of Moseley; Birmingham, West Midlands
  68. The Ox Barn at Thyme; Southrop, Gloucestershire
  69. Burlington at the Devonshire Arms; Skipton, North Yorkshire
  70. Hambleton Hall; Rutland, Leicestershire
  71. Adam’s; Birmingham, West Midlands
  72. The Art School; Liverpool, Merseyside
  73. Dastaan; Epsom, Surrey
  74. Hispi; Manchester, Greater Manchester
  75. The Jetty; Christchurch, Dorset
  76. The Star Inn; Harome, North Yorkshire
  77. Menu Gordon Jones; Bath, Somerset
  78. Ethicurean; Bristol
  79. Crabshakk; Finnieston, Glasgow
  80. Salt Room; Brighton, East Sussex
  81. Frog and Scot; Deal, Kent
  82. Bulrush; Bristol
  83. Coal Shed; Brighton, East Sussex
  84. The Clock House; Ripley, Surrey
  85. The Boat Inn; Lichfield, Staffordshire
  86. Apicius; Cranbrook, Kent
  87. Royal Oak; Paley Street, Berkshire
  88. Read’s; Faversham, Kent
  89. Milsoms; Dedham, Essex
  90. Thackeray’s; Tunbridge Wells, Kent
  91. The Lighthouse; Aldeburgh, Suffolk
  92. Wilks; Bristol
  93. Cin Cin; Brighton, East Sussex
  94. The French Horn; Sonning, Berkshire
  95. Hinds Head; Bray, Berkshire
  96. Caldesi in Campagna; Bray, Berkshire
  97. Gidleigh Park; Chagford, Devon
  98. Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery; Glasgow
  99. The Whitebrook; Monmouth, Monmouthsire
  100. The Peat Inn; St Andrews, Fife
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