The 2013 Food Geek Awards

Last year saw the first ever Food Geek Awards. They seemed to go down pretty well and are a bit different from the usual ‘Top 10 Lists’ that are so popular at this time a year so it looks like they might become a regular thing.

After eating out around 130 times in 2013 the awards are much bigger and better this year with 10 new categories added and the shortlist for many increased from 3 to 5. Click the award to reveal the winners listed in reverse order. Links are included to the most relevant post/review for each restaurant or dish.

Like last year, the majority of my dining experiences in 2013 were positive but there were a couple of exceptions which you’ll find in the ‘Worst Of’ awards at the end.

Finally, please bear in mind that these awards are a bit of fun and of course subjective. I’ve tried to include a range of places from burger bars and gastropubs to authentic cuisine and fine-dining restaurants.

Best Restaurant Awards

Best New Restaurant Opening

Best Tea/Coffee/Cake Shop

3rd: Wong Wong Bakery, Manchester
2nd: Delicieux, Bolton
1st: T&Cake, Almondbury, Huddersfield

Best (Gastro) Pub

3rd: Shoulder Of Mutton, Holcombe
2nd: Farmers Arms, Bolton
1st: Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland

Best Authentic Cuisine Restaurant

5th: Umezushi, Japanese, Manchester
4th: Wahaca, Mexican, London
3rd: Yuzu, Japanese, Manchester
2nd: Koya, Japanese, London
1st: Mughli, Indian, Manchester

Best International Restaurant

I am aware that Scotland isn’t a foreign country but you never know, it might be someday. Just thinking ahead.

3rd: Stravaigin, Glasgow, Scotland
2nd: Tapas 24, Barcelona, Spain
1st: Casa de Tapas, Barcelona, Spain
Case De Tapas

Best Casual Dining Restaurant

3rd: Farmers Arms, Bolton
2nd: SoLita, Manchester
1st: Mr Coopers House & Garden, Manchester
Mr Coopers

Best For Breakfast

3rd: Cafe Gandolfi, Glasgow
2nd: Delicieux, Bolton
1st: Dishoom, London

Best Value Restaurant

Value is completely different to price, the cheapest places are often far from the best value. For me it’s about the ratio between price and quality.

5th: Mr Coopers House & Garden, Manchester
4th: Casa De Tapas, Barcelona, Spain
3rd: Wahaca, London
2nd: Parkers Arms (Various Set Menus)
1st: Yuzu, Manchester

Best Service

Again this is difficult to judge across the board as you’d expect fine-dining restaurants to be able to provide a better standard of service than more casual restaurants. I’ve tried to take this into account.

5th: Umezushi, Manchester
4th: The Ledbury, London
3rd: Mr Coopers House & Garden, Manchester
2nd: Aumbry, Manchester
1st: The French, Manchester
The French

Best Fine-Dining Restaurant

5th: The Square, London
4th: Manchester House, Manchester
3rd: Fraiche, Oxton
2nd: The French, Manchester
1st: The Ledbury, London
The Lebdury

Best Tasting Menu

5th: Dig The City Menu, The French, Manchester
4th: The Ledbury, London
3rd: Good Friday Fish Fest, Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland
2nd: The French, Manchester
1st: Fraiche, Oxton, Wirral

Best Overall Dining Experience

5th: GastroClub Christmas Dinner, Mark Addy, Manchester
4th: The Ledbury, London
3rd: Good Friday Fish Fest, Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland
2nd: Fraiche, Oxton, Wirral
1st: The French, Manchester

Best Dish Awards

Best Burger

This was by far the toughest category for me to make a shortlist of 5. In fact it proved impossible but since i’ve eaten more burgers than any other single item this year it seemed fair enough to include a Top 10 instead.

10th: The Murray (SoLita)
9th: DD Burger (Almost Famous)
8th: Peri Peri Chicken Topped Cheeseburger (Farmers Arms)
7th: Green Chilli Cheeseburger (meatliquor)
6th: The Manc-Hatten (SoLita)
5th: A.N.A.L (SoLita)
4th: McFoie (Tapas 24)
3rd: Ramen Burger (SoLita)
2nd: Steamed Burger (Mishkins)
1st: The Life Aquatic (SoLita)
The Life Aquatic

Best Side Dish / Snack

5th: Warm Artichoke Dip (Luck Lust Liquor & Burn)
4th: Deep Fried Dauphinoise (SoLita)
3rd: Black Peas & Vinegar (Aumbry)
2nd: Pulled Pork Butter Beans (All Star Lanes)
1st: Gunpowder Chips (Mughli)
Gunpowder Chips

Best Street Food Dish

5th: Tuna Tartar with Avocado Puree (Roaming Pinchos)
4th: N’duja Pizza (Streatza)
3rd: Baja Fish Tacos (Margo & Rita)
2nd: Beef Rendang Paratha (Hungry Gecko)
1st: Ajiaco with Arepa (Arepa)
Ajiaco with Arepa

Best Cocktail

5th: Bombay Caipirinha (Mughli)
4th: Blue Margarita (SoLita)
3rd: Pisco Sour (Ceviche On Tour, Teacup)
2nd: Champagne & Hibiscus Cocktail (Fraiche)
1st: The Stone Roses (Manchester House)
Stone Roses Cocktail

Best Bread

Another very tough category, I need to give a special mention to Fraiche for serving their bread as two actual courses, each featuring 3 or 4 mini loaves which were all fantastic.

5th: Holt Beer Bread (The French)
4th: Sourdough With Moroccan Spiced Hummus (Stravaigin)
3rd: Molasses Bread (Parkers Arms)
2nd: Onion & Bacon Brioche (The Ledbury)
1st: Sourdough Bread aka ‘Noma Bread’, (The WineGlass at Etrop Grange Hotel)
Sourdough at The WineGlass

Best Starter

5th: Lucky 7 (SoLita)
4th: Don Ceviche (Ceviche On Tour, Teacup)
3rd: Mexican gazpacho, wasabi and avocado (Mr Coopers)
2nd: Avocado, Spicy Tomato & King Prawn (Casa de Tapas)
1st: Venison Carpaccio (Parkers Arms)
Venison Carpaccio

Best Main Course

5th: Dhum Biryani (Mughli)
4th: DIY Tuna Tartare (SoLita)
3rd: Pink Break Sashimi (Yuzu)
2nd: Suckling Pig, Sourdough, Apple Scotch Egg (Knives & Forks @ Summercamp Festival)
1st: Poached Lobster Tail, Smoked Apple Puree (Manchester House)
Poached Lobster Tail

Best Tasting Menu Dish: Savoury

5th: Field Mushroom Soup, English Truffle & Wild Garlic (Aumbry)
4th: Braised Snails, Potato & Parsley (Manchester House)
3rd: Flame Grilled Mackerel, Mustard & Shiso (The Ledbury)
2nd: Ox Tartare with Coal Oil, Pumpkin Seed, Kohlrabi & Sunflower Shoots (The French)
1st: Tuna Sashimi with Textures Of Tomato (Fraiche)
Tuna Sashimi

Best Dessert

5th: Raspberry Soufflé (Albert Square Chop House)
4th: Chocolate & Orange Cake Pie (Farmers Arms)
3rd: Passion pudding and coconut rice (Mr Coopers House & Garden)
2nd: Lemon Meringue Pie, Blueberries & Wild Rice (The WineGlass, Etrop Grange Hotel)
1st: Egg Custard Tart / Portuguese Nata (Parkers Arms)
Custard Tart

Best Tasting Menu Dish: Sweet

5th: Sweet Cheese, Rhubarb, Toasted Oats & Mulled Cider (The French)
4th: Pear With Meadowsweet, Rye, Buttermilk & Linseeds (The French)
3rd: Champagne Rhubarb, Ginger & Duck Egg Custard Slice (Parkers Arms)
2nd: Lemongrass Pannacotta (Fraiche)
1st: Brown Sugar Tart, Poached Grapes & Stem Ginger Ice Cream (The Ledbury)
Brown Sugar Tart, Poached Grapes & Stem Ginger Ice Cream

Best Cheese Trolley/Plate

3rd: Aumbry
2nd: The French
1st: Fraiche
Fraiche Cheese Trolley

Best Petit Fours

5th: Vimto Lollies (Mughli)
4th: Sweet Filo Cigars (Manchester Foodies do Ottolenghi Jerusalem)
3rd: Rhubarb & Custard (Aumbry)
2nd: Aerated Chocolate with Uncle Joe’s Mint Ball Ice Cream (The French)
1st: Pistachio & Hazelnut Nougat (The Square)
The Square Petit Fours

Best Festive Dish

5th: Mars Bar Eggnog (SoLita)
4th: Eggnog Panacotta (Farmers Arms)
3rd: Warm Christmas Cake Tart (GastroClub Christmas Dinner, Mark Addy)
2nd: Pig In Blanket Terrine (Farmers Arms)
1st: The Christmas Burger (SoLita)
SoLita Christmas Burger

Worst Of Awards

Worst Dish

Yes, this list does mean that i’d genuinely rather eat the evil chicken wings made from pure naga chilli again than eat at Sapporo Teppanyaki.

5th: Shichimi Salmon (Samsi)
4th: Miso Soup (Samsi)
3rd: Black Death Wings (SoLita Hot Wing Challenge)
2nd: Sirloin Steak in Teriyaki Sauce (Sapporo Teppanyaki)
1st: Scallops with Ginger & Garlic (Sapporo Teppanyaki)
Sapporo Teppanyaki

Worst Overall Experience

3rd: Seniors, Thornton
2nd: Samsi, Manchester
1st: Sapporo Teppanyaki
Sapporo Teppanyaki

Phew! That was tough. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below and see you at the same time next year!

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  1. Hello, thanks for sharing your list, I’ve eaten at many if the places you mention and agree with lots of your comments. Got a couple of suggestions of places we’ve really enjoyed that you may want to fit into your schedule next year: Damson at Salford Quays and Rogan & Company in Cartmel. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did! Cheers!

    • Hi Jayne, thanks for your comments and glad you found a couple of suggestions to try, I hope you enjoy them. Let me know where you end up and how it goes.

      Thanks for your suggestions too, I have actually been to Damson and other than a couple of minor issues with dessert really enjoyed it. The review is here if you’re interested:

      Rogan & Co is a good shout, i’m hoping to get back to L’Enclume at some point in 2014 so it’d be great to combine the two perhaps.

      Thanks again..

  2. You forgot Bubo!!!

    I’ll forgive you for some of the others that I don’t quite agree with but not this one :p


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