The jazz band played and guests arrived as the sun came out – just about ‒ across the manicured lawns, and beer, Champagne Devaux, Liberty wines, and gin and Schweppes tonic flowed as everyone prepared for an awesome evening.
The Hurlingham Club in all its manicured splendour
The jazz band the Urban Soul Orchestra plays guests in
Covers of Restaurant magazines past line the entrance way
Top chefs arrived with their teams, including Gary Usher, fresh off the news that he has successfully crowdfunded his next restaurant, Wreckfish; Michael O’Hare, whose Leeds flagship The Man Behind The Curtain came in 45th place on this year’s Top 100 list; and Michael Bremner, whose Brighton site 64 Degrees made it to number 30 just a few months after the chef announced plans for a second Brighton site.
See more of the chefs great and good arriving on the red carpet here.
Gary Usher and team arrive
Michael O'Hare was among attendees
Michael Bremner lost no time in sipping a cold beer
The garden party atmosphere – including cold summery drinks from Estrella Damm, Schweppes and Hildon, and a gorgeous picnic area from OpenTable ‒ began celebrations with flair.
Guests enjoying the sunshine
Gin and tonics flowing
Andrew Wong of Michelin-starred site A.Wong, at number 3, with Restaurant magazine deputy editor Joe Lutrario
Chef Tom Brown enjoys the crowd
Iconic French chef Raymond Blanc sips Champagne Devaux
Spanish chef (of Pizarro at number 98) Jose Pizarro with Restaurateur of the Year Jason Atherton
Michelin-starred chef Adam Byatt (of Trinity, at number 46)
Countdown to greatness
No amount of G&T could tear guests away from the proceedings proper, though, and the show itself soon began, presented by headline partner Estrella Damm and Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant Magazine.
The awards ceremony begins
The booming voice of Alan Dedicoat - best known as the Voice of the Balls on the UK National Lottery - counted down the Top 100 from 100 to 11, and the volume of cheers grew only in proportion to the high profiles of the much-deserving restaurants and chefs appearing on the list and stage.
At number 49 on the countdown...Smoking Goat!
Jason Atherton accepts his award
Some made speeches, but some, such as Shaun Hill, offered strong but swift thanks, cheerfully conceding that a long ‘thank you’ would only “delay everyone’s exit to the bar”.
Chef James Cross smiles on stage as his accepts his award
Family restaurant Timberyard was named Scotland's best
Shaun Hill makes a (short) speech
Congratulations poured in…
And the anticipation of the top ten bubbled over into thanks and happiness…
The overall winner – The Sportsman in Kent – was the long-awaited champion of the night, picking up not only the top spot but also the Gastropub of the Year gong too.
The Sportsman receives the top prize
Partying long into the night
The awards completed, the night was still young; winners and teams alike took to the street food stalls to try freshly-cooked pizza, hot fish and chips, crunchy duck rolls and pulled pork buns, while Harvey & Brockless put on a cornucopian spread of cheeses and charcuterie.
Robin Gill gets animated
Harvey & Brockless put on a serious spread
Chef Simon Hulstone among the guests (from Michelin-starred The Elephant, at number 24)
Drinks flowed until long into the night, with the décor managing daytime to nighttime with ease.
The OpenTable picnic area was a winner from day to night
Winners clutched their trophies and celebrated throughout – with all accolades sure to be remembered and loved long after the final gin, tonic, and beer was gone.
Some of The Sportsman team pose with their award
Congratulations to all winners, shortlisted names, restaurants, chefs, and teams - and a huge thank you to all attendees for making the evening so enjoyable for all involved; plus our partners for their unparalleled support!
See you all next year...