Press Release: AA Rosette Awards January 2020

Posted on: February 19th, 2020 by Simon Carter


UK restaurants awarded with the highest recognition of culinary excellence

London. 17th February 2020. The AA has announced its latest Rosette Award winners, recognising the restaurants offering the highest culinary standard in the UK and Ireland. Two restaurants have been awarded four AA Rosettes, while a further eleven have been awarded three AA Rosettes.

Restaurants honoured with four AA Rosettes are Alchemilla (Nottingham) and The Lady Helen Restaurant (Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny), while those awarded three AA Rosettes include Jason Atherton’s No. 5 Social (London), Paschoe House (Crediton, Devon) and Edinbane Lodge (Edinbane, Highlands).

Establishments with three AA Rosettes are all outstanding restaurants achieving standards that demand national recognition well beyond their local area. Those awarded four AA Rosettes are among the top restaurants in the country.

Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Media said “We are thrilled to recognise hotels and restaurants achieving such high standards of culinary excellence. Congratulations to these establishments and their staff, who demonstrate the variety and high quality of dining experiences offered across the UK and Ireland.”  

New four AA Rosettes:

Alchemilla, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire 

The Lady Helen Restaurant, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny

New three AA Rosettes:

Cavendish Hotel, Baslow, Derbyshire

Edinbane Lodge, Edinbane, Highlands

Hammet @ Castell Malgwyn, Llechryd, Ceredigion

No.5 Social, London W1

Paschoe House, Crediton, Devon

Siren, London SW1

The Ollerod, Beaminster, Dorset

The Pass Restaurant, Lower Beeding, West Sussex

The Yorke Arms, Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire

Tony Parkin at the Tudor Room, Egham, Surrey

Wild Honey St James, London SW1

The AA has awarded Rosettes to restaurants since 1956, with the top award of five Rosettes introduced in 1991. The multi rosettes are awarded bi-annually in January and September, with success determined by one or more visits by an AA inspector to a hotel or restaurant.

4 Rosettes

The Lady Helen Restaurant Thomastown, County Kilkenny

Skilful Modern Irish dishes in a grand Georgian setting

The Mount Juliet is a fine example of the Georgian country house and estate, offering spa treatments and golf in addition to inspirational fine dining in the Lady Helen Restaurant. Named after previous owner Lady Helen McCalmont, it’s a coolly elegant, high-ceilinged room with intricate plasterwork and magnificent windows overlooking the grounds. Attention to detail is second to none and produce from the estate often features in chef John Kelly’s modern Irish cooking. Dinner might begin with a single, silky raviolo, stuffed with black truffle-studded potato and accompanied by a fine parmesan cream, followed by breast of Anjou squab pigeon, served on York cabbage, topped with hen of the woods and toasted hazelnuts, and finished with a rich, glossy veal jus, alongside a bowl of the braised leg and thigh meat. Caramelised banana ice cream is a deceptively simple dessert, served with tonka bean cremeux and brightly coloured, astringent calamansi gel.

Alchemilla Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Innovative tasting menus in an impressively renovated space

A wall of green foliage is the only real clue in daylight that you’ve found this almost hidden gem. A former coach house, derelict for a century and a half, with bare brick walls, an arched ceiling and light flooding down from huge skylights onto the simply presented wooden tables and open kitchen. This is modern cookery of the best kind, supported by an understanding of classic techniques, and with an inspired take on the plant-based elements of dishes. Barbecue flavours might feature in a memorable starter of celeriac, finished in goats’ butter and topped with fresh herbs, an earthy, tender dish that packs a real punch. Moroccan lamb is served pink, with burnt aubergine, pomegranate and molasses, sticky-sweet and complex, and a colourful apricot and tea puree. A quenelle of shakshuka pulls the dish together brilliantly. Finish with creamy chocolate gelato, salted liquorice custard and a vibrant beetroot sorbet. Petits fours are top notch.

3 Rosettes

Cavendish Hotel Baslow, Derbyshire

Fine dining on the Chatsworth Estate

This stylish hotel dates back to the 18th century, and the comfortable public areas are adorned with paintings from the Duke’s extensive art collection. The Gallery restaurant is traditionally decorated with a smart modern twist, and in season menus feature lamb and game from the estate. You might begin with cod loin and satay sauce, cooled by coconut yoghurt. A neatly plated, colourful dish of Moss Valley pork belly comes with homemade black pudding, sage mashed potato, Swiss chard, broccoli and peppered pineapple. ‘Simple presentation and perfect execution’ sums up a dessert of banana, walnut and caramel soufflé with silky dark chocolate sorbet.

Edinbane Lodge Edinbane, Highlands

Dine on tiptop Skye produce in a characterful lodge

The elegant dining room at this luxuriously renovated 16th-century house has an impressive stone fireplace and portraits of past owners, while the seasonal tasting menus showcase the very best produce the island has to offer. A starter of the freshest, plumpest langoustine, served on nicely braised carrot, gets things off to a great start. Next up, a simply presented dish of deliciously fresh Shetland-landed cod with Drumfearn chanterelles. Coishletter venison loin is accompanied by smoked beetroot and a textbook pommes dauphine. A beautifully simple dessert of pineapple weed ice cream with lemon verbena is followed by Isle of Skye sea salt caramel parfait with sorrel.

Hammet @ Castell Malgwyn Llechryd, Ceredigion

Wonderfully stylish setting for equally stylish food

A fabulous, creeper-clad Georgian house with a contemporary interior – neutral colours and a striking art collection combining effectively with intricate period plasterwork and high ceilings. The transparent Perspex chairs in the dining room are pretty cool, and so is the food. Begin with seared monkfish with black garlic – a great flavour combination enhanced by pickled mussel and a smooth pea purée. A beautifully presented main of chicken with girolles, bacon and sweetcorn offers excellent contrasting textures, while a deceptively simple dessert of lemon curd, chantilly cream and honeyed raspberries brings a bold intensity to the close of the meal.

No.5 Social London W1

Stylish modern European dishes at the latest opening from Jason Atherton

In the heart of Mayfair, just across the street from Jason Atherton’s flagship Pollen Street Social, this brand-new restaurant offers an elegant, airy dining room – a warm, relaxing environment with an unstuffy vibe, and the ideal place to experience Atherton’s trademark modern European dishes. A lovely starter of Orkney scallop, set on top of a light avocado mousse, with a scallop tartare and thinly sliced raw courgette, makes for an impressive starter, while a main course of Josper-grilled Ibérico pork chop is succulent and well-seasoned, garnished with little pieces of black pudding and bacon and served with tender braised hispi cabbage.

Paschoe House Crediton, Devon

The cooking steps up a notch at this delightful foodie destination

A luxurious Grade II listed house, set in 25 acres of grounds in a remote Devon valley with cooking that proves to be a creative, effective fusion of Asian and modern British elements. You’ll find this perfectly illustrated by a starter of well-timed lemongrass prawns with pineapple and chilli, served with a beautifully made dim sum. A main of tender Creedy Carver duck is accompanied by a rich, smooth ballotine of foie gras, with blackberries proving an excellent counterpoint – a dish with bags of flavour. A dessert of ‘apple, cider, oats’ makes for an impressively presented and delicious finale. Excellent wine list.

Siren London SW1

Simple, ingredient-led dishes backed by stunning produce

Siren is the latest from piscatorial behemoth Nathan Outlaw, under the direction of head chef Andrew Sawyer. Bi-fold doors open out into a secluded garden; there are marble-topped tables and floral fabrics. Get things going with the sourdough bread, served with seaweed butter, before moving on to a risotto of Cornish crab light, full of flavour, and perfectly timed. You might find whole mackerel with crispy oysters among the specials, the fish of remarkable quality, the oysters a great addition, making for a dish of absolute simplicity and clarity. Finish with a raspberry choux bun with dark chocolate sauce.

The Ollerod Beaminster, Dorset

Country house character and top quality modern British food

Ollerod is a dialect word for ‘cowslip’, and this charming, quirky building dates largely to the 13th century. Full of character, it offers plenty of period details, as well as contemporary furnishings and decor. Local art and photography can often be seen on display, and there’s a real emphasis on the best local and seasonal produce, with fish and seafood from the Dorset coast. A summer menu might feature refreshing ajo blanco – a chilled almond soup with crab, mango and grapes, followed by an equally refreshing dish of salmon ceviche with avocado mousse. Finish with an elderflower cream with poached gooseberries and a mini doughnut.

The Pass Restaurant Lower Beeding, West Sussex

Stylish, contemporary dining while you watch the kitchen team at work

Taking the chef’s table concept to its logical conclusion, here the whole restaurant has been designed round the notion of watching the kitchen. Twenty-eight lucky diners can either peer though the glass walls or watch the action on plasma-screen monitors. The space is contemporary, with high-level tables, lilac and black leather banquettes and swivel seats, while the cooking is ingredient-led and modern in style. Flavours are clear and subtle in dishes like Carabinero prawn risotto, with grapefruit cutting through the richness and nasturtiums for a peppery hit. An autumn dish of South Downs venison is wonderfully tender, and black fig and sesame millefeuille rounds things off nicely.

The Yorke Arms Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire

Bold, creative cooking in the idyllic Nidderdale Valley

The Yorke Arms is a splendid restaurant with rooms, in a mouth-watering location. Mullioned windows look out over wonderful Dales views, bedrooms are superb, and the restaurant is a long-established foodie destination, with Frances Atkins’s bold, creative cooking a real draw. Seasonal menus showcase classical cookery with some confident modern flourishes, supported by a great wine list. Pumpkin is the star in an autumn starter, complemented by malt and an impressive verjus jelly. A pretty main course features vibrant carrot mousse and crisp artichoke, a great combination enhanced by the freshness of cucumber. Finish with the excellent ‘Celebration of chocolate’.

Tony Parkin at the Tudor Room Egham, Surrey

Hugely impressive dining in an equally impressive Tudor mansion

Great Fosters is a splendid, many-gabled red-brick Tudor house with 50 acres of gardens and parkland. The main dining room, with its ornately carved fireplace and dramatic 17th-century Flemish tapestry, is an intimate space of just seven tables. Here you’ll find restrained, sophisticated dishes, and fantastic ingredients handled with skill and precision. A starter of Jerusalem artichoke with chestnut and lemon sorrel offers a silky-smooth chestnut purée and great depth of flavour from salt-baked artichoke, while a main of tender venison comes with deliciously creamy celeriac and earthy flavours from baked beetroot. Apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream is pitch perfect.

Wild Honey St James, London SW1

Bringing French style to this splendid West End hotel

Wild Honey’s move from Mayfair to the Sofitel London St James has resulted in an airy, high-ceilinged dining room with enormous windows draped in grey linen, black walls, impressive lighting, and beautiful pale blue velvet banquettes. This is a slick operation, serving up the simple, contemporary French-based seasonal cooking for which the restaurant is so well known. Kick off with the earthy flavours of roast heritage beetroot, rich black pudding purée and cured wild boar cheek. A highly successful main of perfectly cooked Welsh lamb comes with roast salsify, fresh sheep’s ricotta and Italian greens, while dessert might be a classic English custard tart.

About AA Hotel & Hospitality Services

The AA and Enthuse Holdings Ltd jointly own and operate the business named AA Hotel and Hospitality Services which, among other activities, inspects, rates and publishes information about the hospitality industry including hotels, guest accommodation and restaurants. This includes the renowned star rating quality and rosette schemes and well-established range of lifestyle publications such as the hotel and restaurant guides.