Described by the guide as 'just outstanding in every way', the three Michelin-starred restaurant rose to the top of the list having placed number four last year.
“Sat Bains has been a leader of the national restaurant scene for more than a decade now, and his lockdown curry service is a superb example of the resilience and creativity demanded of the sector to survive the pandemic – qualities the best restaurants still need as we emerge from this national trauma,” says Peter Harden, the co-founder of the guide.
Now in its 31st year, Harden's Top 100 is derived from the 30,000 reports with ratings submitted by 3,000 diners who contributed to the Harden’s annual survey.
Purnell’s in Birmingham ranked number two on this year’s list, with London restaurants Da Terra, Endo at Rotunda and Core by Clare Smyth making up the rest of the top five.
Looking at the wider landscape, Edinburgh takes the crown as the UK leading city beyond London for general culinary excellence, with 14 listings in the top 500, followed by Brighton with 11, Birmingham with nine and Manchester with seven, while North Yorkshire tops the list for counties with 17 top 500 listings.
Greater London counts for roughly half the total entries in the Harden’s guide, and a similar proportion of the ‘Harden’s Top 100’.
Among significant changes since the last Harden’s survey in 2020, the number of fish and seafood specialist restaurants rose from 151 to 158; while Japanese establishments increased from 73 to 85.
In the London section, the guide hails the rise of African cuisine as a new basis for fine dining restaurants in the capital, hailing a trend similar to the rise of the ‘nouvelle Indian’ at the end of the 1990s.
It notes: “… it feels like London may again sit at the forefront of a trend to take a family of cuisines mostly celebrated for their humble, homespun qualities… and reposition their flavour palette as the basis for luxury openings globally.”