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A

glance through our restaurant news (p.10) and

new opening pages (p.40) might make you

anxious there are just too many new restaurants

to try in London - especially when you add the

ever-vibrant pop-up scene (p.17).

But a recent study showed that while

London's restaurant sector has expanded by 32 per cent in

the past decade, in Manchester that „ gure is 57 per cent and

in Leeds 55 per cent. True, those cities are playing catch-up

with a London restaurant revolution that began in the

1980s, but we're at the point where it's now possible to visit

a British city other than the capital for a weekend based on

discovering world-class restaurants and bars.

Take Manchester: here you'll „ nd three places to eat in the top 20 of our list of the 50 best

restaurants outside London (p.58), The French, Manchester House and Mr Cooper's. What's

more, the city now boasts the brand new Hotel Gotham (p.172) where the restaurant and bar

options are so compelling you might forget you need a bed for the night.

And it's not just cities: gone are the days when getting a decent meal beyond the M25

meant braving the frosty atmosphere of a hotel miles from the nearest town. Our BMW Square

Meal Best UK restaurant, The Hand — Flowers (p.66), is a two Michelin-starred pub with no

tablecloths, draught beer, a stonking wine list and food that is both supremely re„ ned yet

recognisably based on pub grub.

We'll be expanding our top 50 list into the top 100 UK restaurants at squaremeal.co.uk -

where you'll also „ nd 6,000 more restaurants outside London. You can thank us later.

JANE PARKINSON

Jane is an awardwinning

journalist,

author and broadcaster.

She's the wine expert

on BBC1's Saturday

Kitchen and wrote her debut book Wine

& Food in 2014. She's also a columnist

for several magazines including Stylist,

a member of The Wine Gang and the

International Wine & Spirit Competition

Communicator of the Year 2014.

Favourite summer drink? Aperol Spritz

Favourite picnic spot? Somewhere

along the top of the South Downs.

Favourite beach? Llanste� an beach

in South Wales. MARK C

O'FLAHERTY

Based in London and

New York, Mark is

a design and style

writer, columnist and

photographer for titles including the

Financial Times, Sunday Times and Esquire.

He is also the founder of the irreverent

luxury travel magazine civilianglobal.com.

Favourite summer drink? Domaine des

Tourelles rosé from the Bekaa Valley or just

about anything with Campari.

Favourite picnic spot? Beside the water

in Clissold Park in Stoke Newington.

Favourite beach? Dungeness, for a walk

around Derek Jarman's garden and a ride

on the miniature railway to Hythe.

INDIA DOWLEY

Square Meal's news

and online editor India

started her career at

The Nudge before

moving into travel

journalism, living in South America and

writing for Rough Guides, Time Out and

Bradt Guides. She's now enjoying getting

her teeth (quite literally) into the UK's

restaurant and bar scene.

Favourite summer drink? Aperol Spritz.

I bet everyone says that nowadays.

Favourite picnic spot? The sand dunes on

Scolt Head Island, North Norfolk.

Favourite beach? Arrecifes in Tayrona

National Park on the coast of Colombia.

PUBLISHERS Mark de Wesselow, Simon White EDITORIAL Tel: 020 7840 6295

Editor Ben McCormack Managing Editor Julie Sheppard Assistant Editor Laura Foster

News � Online Editor India Dowley Deputy News � Online Editor Neil Simpson

Editorial Assistant Rosie Morris Sub Editors Jill Cropper, Phil Harriss, Justin Hood, David Mabey, Amy Swales

DISPLAY ADVERTISING Tel: 020 7840 6273 Advertisement Director Charles Meynell Lifestyle Manager Kate Stephens

Account Director, Drinks Adam Wyartt Account Managers Gianni Buttice, Nissa Naik

DESIGN — PRODUCTION Tel: 020 7840 6294 Creative Director Robin Freeman Art Director Meg Georgeson

Art Editor Lauren Ozzati Printing Wyndeham Roche MARKETING Tel: 020 7840 6269 Head of Marketing Rachel Harty

Events Manager Chloé Kingham Events Planner Ed Warr Senior Marketing Executives Mieke Kyra Smith, Paul Young

CIRCULATION Tel: 0870 141 6101 COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: John Phillips/Contour by Getty Images

A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. We believe our facts are correct at the time of going to press, although inevitably information changes,

which means care must be exercised. Reviews are subjective. Neither Monomax Ltd nor its agents or employees can accept liability for omissions or

inaccuracies. No material can be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher. © Monomax Ltd July 2015. ISSN 977-1369264-01-3-43

For reviews of 11,500 bars and restaurants nationwide,

pluseditor@squaremeal.co.ukents: squaremeal.co.uk

Square MealLIFESTYLE

Published by: Monomax Ltd, Quadrant House, 250 Kennington Lane,

London, SE11 5RD Tel: +44 (0)20 7582 0222 Helpline: +44 (0)20 7840 6299

Fax: +44 (0)20 7582 5444 Email: editor@squaremeal.co.uk

contributors

Welcome to Square Meal

Ben McCormack, editor

Foxhill Manor,

Worcestershire

FOR STARTERS: A gorgeously honey-toned Arts

and Craft mansion on the 400-acre Francombe

estate, Foxhill Manor is an eight-bedroom 'private

house hotel' in the middle of a Cotswolds wood.

The idea is to feel as relaxed as you would at home

- if home meant log fires, roll-top baths, views over

the Vale of Evesham and a drawing room complete

with board games, books and a drinks trolley.

There's even a screening room with popcorn. You'll

be friends with your fellow guests in no time.

MAINS � MORE: Ever fancied having your own cook? There are no

meal times here: simply chat to the chef about your

likes and dislikes and a four-course dinner will be

magically rustled up for you to eat in your room, the

kitchen or the dining room.

SIDES: Pick your country pursuit: horse riding, tennis,

mountain biking, shooting, archery and woodland

strolls are all available, as are photography and

cookery lessons. The spa at parent hotel Dormy

House is at your disposal and, in the unlikely event

you want to leave, the chocolate-box village of

Broadway is on your doorstep.

BILL, PLEASE: Double rooms with breakfast,

snacks and drinks from £295 per night

CONTACT: 01386 852711; foxhillmanor.com

Albion House, Kent

FOR STARTERS: Look familiar? This Regency pile on Ramsgate's East

Cliff recently starred in Channel 4's The Hotel Inspector, though it's

entertained many a famous face - not least a young Queen Victoria,

who once recuperated here. Glide up the sweeping staircase for

a wallow in your Carrara marble bathtub, or take a peek through

your shutters and you might just glimpse the French coast on the

horizon (12 of the 14 rooms have sea views).

MAINS � MORE: Start with cocktails in the ground-floor Town Bar

ahead of harissa-marinated rump of lamb or spiced sea bass in the

Dining Room, all razor-sharp napery and navy-on-white elegance.

SIDES: Owners Ben and Emma are a font

of local knowledge. Hit the blue-flagged

beach at Ramsgate or neighbouring

Broadstairs and Margate, where you can

also channel your inner Tracy Emin at

the Turner Contemporary gallery before

browsing antiques at the legendary

Scott's market. Back in Ramsgate, it's two

scoops of retro at the 1950s Sorbetto

ice-cream parlour, fish and chips from

Peter's Fish Factory and a sunset the Isle

of Thanet is famous for.

BILL, PLEASE: Double rooms with

breakfast from £145 per night

CONTACT: 01843 606630; albionhouseramsgate.co.uk

squaremeal.co.uk | 173

travel

Hotel Gotham, Manchester

FOR STARTERS: Holy cow! What would Gotham's Caped Crusader

make of these boudoirs trimmed with velvet and faux fur in a

fruits-of-the-forest palette? Catwoman

would lap it up. The seven floors of

this Edwin Lutyens-designed building

('the King of King Street') have been

transformed into a 60-room hotel,

with money bag-style laundry bags,

lights fashioned from leather satchels

and acres of dark polished wood, all

referencing its former life as a bank.

MAINS � MORE: Top-floor members'

bar Club Brass is also open to hotel

residents and has enough gold tiling

to make a Mayfair oligarch blush.

Honey restaurant has rooftop views and a strong retro flavour

with its prawn cocktails, coq au vin and veg lasagne, but don't

neglect Manchester's booming restaurant scene: Simon Rogan's

The French, for example. Nurse a hangover over the 'Metropolis

breakfast' and start the day as Superman.

SIDES: Take in some high culture at the spectacularly revamped

Whitworth Art Gallery or enjoy the novelty of having Selfridges

and Harvey Nichols over the road from one another.

BILL, PLEASE: Double rooms with breakfast from £150 per night

CONTACT: 0843 178 7188; hotelgotham.co.uk

eat, sleep, escape

Clockwise from top left: lounge around at Albion House;

try dessert at Hotel Gotham's Honey restaurant; kick back

at St Mawes Hotel; slumber in style at Foxhill Manor

Bedrooms fit for a queen and bespoke four-course dinners - live like

royalty in these superb new UK getaways WORDS BEN MCCORMACK

fruits-of-the-forest palette? Catwoman

would lap it up. The seven floors of

this Edwin Lutyens-designed building

('the King of King Street') have been

transformed into a 60-room hotel,

with money bag-style laundry bags,

and acres of dark polished wood, all

St Mawes Hotel,

Cornwall

FOR STARTERS: Ahoy there! Hum a sea shanty as

you gaze through your sash window overlooking

St Mawes Harbour (postwar England's answer to

St Tropez) at this nautical-but-nice new gaff from

former Aston Martin chairman-turned-hotelier

David Richards and wife Karen, the couple behind

the nearby Idle Rocks. Three shipshape bedrooms

overlook the water (ask for the one with a bath if

you like a soak); three more in an annex include a family room.

In autumn, guests can take advantage of a new 24-seat cinema.

MAINS � MORE: Drink a pint of St Austell's Tribute

Ale or a cocktail on the terrace then head inside

to graze on 'Cornish tapas' (including smoked fish,

chilli squid, local charcuterie). Or you can tuck into a

pot of mussels, the catch of the day or instant local

favourite: pizza from a wood oven.

SIDES: Get out on the water for paddleboarding,

kayaking and zipping about in a motorboat; parade

the battlements of 16th-century St Mawes Castle; laze

on the beaches of the Roseland Peninsula, and swing

by picture-postcard villages such as Portloe.

BILL, PLEASE: Double rooms with breakfast from £155 per night

CONTACT: 01326 270170; stmaweshotel.com

58 | squaremeal.co.uk For fuller reviews of 11,500 restaurants throughout the UK, visit squaremeal.co.uk For fuller reviews of 11,500 restaurants throughout the UK, visit squaremeal.co.uk squaremeal.co.uk | 59

A combination of readers, bloggers and

our nationwide team of reviewers

have left thousands of votes in our

annual survey. Over the following eight

pages Square Meal reveals your

favourite restaurants outside London

1 The Hand & Flowers

126 West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2BP;

01628 482277 £££ [5]

Fuss-free, two-Michelin-starred dining in a pub with rooms

It's 10 years since chef Tom Kerridge and his sculptor wife, Beth, took over

the running of a pub in Marlow - and what a decade it's been. Along the

way they've added eight rooms for overnight stays and become the  rst

(and only) pub to win two Michelin stars, and Tom has become a TV star

and bestselling author. But while this is undoubtedly destination dining of

the highest order (witness the "major downside" of 12-month waits for a

weekend dinner table), at its heart is "high-quality, pub-style food": think

a "stunning" sausage and whole tru‰e demi

"en croute" with port sauce, which is the

poshest sausage roll imaginable. The food

is backed up by the warmest of welcomes:

several of the staŠ, many of them locals,

have been with The Hand for years. All in all,

"a fantastic experience" which "shows that

good cuisine can be done fuss free".

UK TOP50RESTAURANTS

Prices are based on a two-course dinner (starter and

main) for one, including half a bottle of house wine,

co�ee, cover charge, service and vegetables. The

numbers in [] denote last year's position. Words in

double quotation marks represent reader comments.

KEY TO REVIEWS

££££ Above £85

£££ £65-85

££ £45-65

£ Under £45

PHOTOS: LAURIE FLETCHER

Roast line-caught cod with

white asparagus cooked in

bacon, poached pomme

galette and bottarga butter

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