Check out our 2022 year of restaurants in review, then read our guide to the best new London restaurants and new UK restaurants.


This was the year when the restaurant scene roared back after two years of disruption. To celebrate, here is olive’s year in review: the trends, dishes and restaurants we loved, and the people making them happen. Whatever the world throws at it, hospitality endures.

The UK restaurant industry: 2022 in review

1. Mexican wave

At London’s unique KOL (British ingredients, Mexican flavours) and Cavita or Durham’s La Mesa, not to mention street food spots such as Borough’s Tacos Padre or Enrique Martinez’s Manchester classic Pancho’s Burrito, our Mexican food crush is getting serious.

2. Hot hotels

Hotels are linking with distinctive talent to attract locals, as well as fill beds. LA chef Kris Yenbamroong road-testing Thai-US restaurant, Chet’s, at The Hoxton’s Rondo La Cave (it will go permanent at a new Shepherd’s Bush Hoxton), is typical of the exciting things happening at the food/hotel interface. As well as Daisy Cecil at Margate’s Fort Road Hotel and incoming restaurants from Mary-Ellen McTague and Belzan’s Sam Grainger at Treehouse Manchester.

3. Delicious destinations outside of London

UK cooking talent is increasingly dispersed, as demonstrated by the rise of south Somerset: home of foodie Bruton and acclaimed Osip, Margot Henderson’s The Three Horseshoes and Larry’s spin-off Holm in South Petherton.

The interiors at Holm restaurant in Somerset

Barry, in South Wales, is likewise coming in strong, thanks to new live-fire restaurant, Alium, talented chocolatier Cocoa Therapy, and Goodsheds’ shipping container stars, such as Bab Haus Mex, and the parmesan fried chicken aces, Mr Croquewich. Aughton in Lancashire, home of Moor Hall and sister venue, The Barn (three Michelin stars between them), and chef Tim Allen’s ambitious sō-lō, was, this year, dubbed, the “UK’s hottest culinary destination” by The Daily Telegraph. London is not the world.

Popcorn shrimp tacos at Bab Haus Mex

4. Alfresco everywhere

One lockdown legacy? We’re all up for eating outdoors, and from rural idylls (Hertfordshire’s The Zebra Riding Club), to cool urban canalsides (the cluster of great kitchens at Kampus in Manchester), we made the most of it.

5. Awesome openings

Nuno Mendes’ typically original homage to Lisbon, Lisboeta, had food lovers enraptured, while, in Liverpool, Manifest, with its ham hock rarebit crumpet and ex-dairy beef tartare, was making waves. The year’s most anticipated opening, Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s pan-African Tatale, has, in its fried chicken chichinga kebabs, ackee croquettes and takes on traditional dishes such as red red stew, the potential to be a landmark evolution in UK African food.

Outside Lisboeta in London

6. Japanese counter dining

Multi-course kaiseki and omakase counter dining inspired the tasting menus and chef’s tables common in high-end Western restaurants. But in London’s Roketsu, Maru or Rai – check Brighton’s FUMI, too – you can go to the source and eat exquisite dishes created by chefs trained in Japan to showcase A1 ingredients.

Chef Taiji Maruyama at restaurant Maru

7. Natural wine bars

From Robin Gill’s neo-bistro inspired Bottle + Rye in Brixton (expect pig’s head terrine, barbecued artichokes with aïoli), to Higher Ground’s Flawd in Manchester, olive loves this growing wave of funky, super-casual natural wine bars serving exceptional food.

Bottle + Rye’s pig head brawn terrine

8. Rarebit revival

Liverpool’s Belzan has its Guinness rarebit potato. In London, Richoux opened doing a classic Welsh version, while Elephant & Castle’s Rarebit serves three, including a crab option. Suddenly, rarebit is everywhere.

9. Restaurants reborn

Successfully relocating a beloved restaurant is notoriously difficult. Kudos to London’s Honey & Co and Café Spice Namaste, and also Home in Leeds, for showing how it is done.

The Bar at Cafe Spice Namaste in Royal Albert Wharf

10. Mushrooming interest

The relaunched Ledbury is growing its own Lion’s Mane and Grey Oyster mushrooms, served with potato, yeast and rosemary. Like Bubala’s epic charred oyster mushroom skewers or, in Liverpool, Lerpwl’s stunning autumnal ceps and girolles on grilled focaccia, the Ledbury’s fungi cultivation reflects a burgeoning love for this meatiest meat-free option.

Bubala’s mushroom skewers

11. More meat-free marvels

From Todmorden’s exhilarating South American-inspired Yakumama via Chester and Hypha’s cutting-edge vegan tasting menus to Vanderlyle’s Cambridge creativity: who needs meat?

Carrot tartare from Vanderlyle

12. Timeless luxury

Notably, the past two winners of the National Restaurant Awards’ chef-to-watch category were Spencer Metzger, head chef at The Ritz, and Tom Booton at The Dorchester Grill. With their modish takes on such classics as beef wellington or lobster thermidor (Booton’s is a roasted tail on a cheese tart, lobster bisque and thermidor foam), these young chefs – like Shay Cooper at The Lanesborough Grill – bring fresh vigour to grand hotel dining.

13. Cooking with fire...

has never been hotter, from London’s Acme Fire Cult or Radnage’s Mash Inn to Brighton's Burnt Orange, where miso aubergine with crispy onions or chermoula monkfish get that delish smoky kiss.

Cooking at Acme Fire Cult

14. Hot tips for tomorrow

They may not be household names... yet, but olive loves Rishim Sachdeva’s plant-based wizardry at London pop-up Tendril, Stephen Andrews’ Fish & Forest in York and Matt Beardmore’s pasta at Bermondsey’s Legare.

Fish and Forest’s king scallop ceviche

15. Green scene

From its zero-waste menu (accessed by QR code, not printed) to its upcycled toilet sinks, Chantelle Nicholson’s Apricity leads those restaurants, from Pizza Pilgrims’ sustainable innovation at Selfridge’s London to Cardiff’s “nose-to-tail, fin-to-gill, root- to-shoot”, napkin-free Kindle, mapping a greener future for UK dining.

Chantelle Nicholson of Apricity holding vegetables in a field

16. Food halls forever

Slick ordering, ace food and, occasionally, terrific full-service restaurants (see Barnacle at Liverpool’s Duke Street), are making halls such as London’s Arcade or Brighton’s Shelter Hall must-eat destinations.

Fried chicken from Manna at Arcade in London

17. Next-gen talent

This year, olive’s world was rocked by Chet Sharma’s clever, creative Indian food at London’s Bibi; Leyli Homayoonfar’s exacting, eye-catching BBQ at Caerphilly’s Bab Haus; ex-River Café man Yohei Furuhashi’s sunkissed Mediterranean menus at London’s Toklas; and Patrick Withington’s modish plates at Manchester’s Erst.

18. Hospitality heroes

Writers and chefs Olia Hercules and Alissa Timoshkina are the public face of the team at #cookforukraine, an initiative uniting restaurants, supper clubs and home bakers in fundraising for Unicef UK’s Ukraine appeal. Josh Eggleton, most notably at The Pony Chew Valley, is seeking to weave community outreach into his restaurant businesses. This summer, Darjeeling Express closed pending relocation, but owner Asma Khan remains a vital voice for progressive change and indie ethics in hospitality – olive can’t wait to see Darjeeling back.

19. Ready, set, grow!

The ultimate restaurant accessory? Space, often urban, where kitchens can cultivate ingredients. The Culpeper’s rooftop greenhouse and Deptford farm; The Landing, a shopping centre plot farmed by Stockport restaurant, Where the Light Gets In; and chef-grower Luke Farrell, whose Plaza Khao Gaeng uses southern Thai ingredients grown at his Dorset nursery, exemplify this farm-to-fork innovation.

Chef Sam Buckley at where the light gets in

20. Dishes of the year: 2022’s hot plates of pleasure

Lunar’s lamb loin with lamb fat seaweed ragout ‘sauce’; Marmite butter flatbread, Acme Fire Cult; salted egg custard bun, London’s Bun House; G Bread, cheese and garlic in perfect harmony at Ramona, Manchester; a universally adored red prawn and seafood rice at Lisboeta; Fallow’s cod’s head in sriracha butter; cachaça pistachio baba at London’s Da Terra; wood-roasted greens, peas and herbs, bone marrow and bottarga at the magisterial Moorcock, near Halifax; enginar dolmasi at London’s Zahter, roast globe artichoke stuffed with spiced rice, sour cherries and almonds: dazzling for the senses.


..and the #trending dishes we loved: pork tonnato; chawanmushi; Detroit-style pizza; red-stained birria beef tacos; innovatively topped flatbreads; barbecued Hispi cabbage; whipped cod’s roe; and sweetbreads... the comeback is on.

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