A TOP chef has branded the decision to have no south Asian restaurants in the top 50 eateries in Britain as “absolutely shocking”. Dev Biswal, who runs three Indian restaurants in the the UK, has called for the judging panel of The Good Food Guide to have more experts in Indian cuisine.
Simon Rogan’s Cumbria establishment L’Enclume was named the best in the country for the fourth year running in the list dominated by European cuisine.
Biswal, head chef of The Ambrette chain in Margate, Canterbury and Rye, told Eastern Eye it was “disappointing” that cuisine from the Indian subcontinent had been snubbed.
He said: “The list is mainly Londoncentric. We have fantastic south Asian restaurants in London which are in the Michelin Guide.
“I don’t think there’s a fair representation of south Asian cooking in the panel. I think there’s a lack of knowledge and representation on the judging panel of ex chefs and food critics. There has to be a fair ethnic representation rather than just classical European cooking.”
Dev’s restaurants have been featured in the prestigious guide in previous years.
“It can have such a strong impact and brings in customers, endorses your hard work and commitment for fine food and service. It carries a lot of weight.
“In the past five years, attitudes in the Michelin Guide have changed, they have broadened their horizons,” he said.
Other places that made the top 10 were Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall, Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottinghamshire, Pollen Street Social in London and The Fat Duck, founded by Heston Blumenthal, in Berkshire.
Among the high-scoring Indian restaurants in the guide, which was published last week, are Sindhu Atul Kochhar in Marlow, and London-based Cinnamon Club, Trishna and Amaya.
Cyrus Todiwala, who runs three restaurants in London, believes attitudes to Indian food have not changed since the 1990s.
The chef told Eastern Eye: “The Good Food Guide rarely scores us highly. Sadly it could be a host of things from lack of knowledge and understanding of the varied cuisine of the subcontinent, to the way it is presented and garnished.
“Not much has changed in people’s perceptions and this remains the case within the big guides.”
Dishoom in the capital was given The Good Food Guide Editors’ Award for Best Small Group.
A spokesperson for Dishoom said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been awarded Best Small Group. All the credit has to go to our amazing team who make sure that every dish and drink is made with love and that our guests are served with genuine warmth.
“This award is testament to their dedication and talent.”
The Good Food Guide defended its rankings, adding “a place in the Top 50 is highly contested, and proportionally these restaurants form a very small part of the restaurants that are celebrated in the guide.”