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Bristol Good Food Awards 2012: The winners

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The evening of Tuesday, July 3rd saw over 250 people congregate at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery for a three course meal and the announcement of the winners of the inaugural Bristol Good Food Awards.

Awards organisers Guide2Bristol had worked incredibly hard to pull together the evening, at which guests were served a three course meal with wines from Enotria, the winners of the Local Producers’ Awards from earlier in the year collected their awards, and the results of the 24 different restaurant categories were finally revealed.

Wine expert Angela Mount – who had also headed up the judging panel – compered the evening, while a range of people from sponsors to judges got up in front of the audience to present the awards.

While it was great to see so many of Bristol’s food heroes in one place, it was a very long evening indeed. A drinks reception was followed by a three course meal provided by Milburns (official caterers for the museum and Bristol Zoo, among other places)…which, to be honest, was a little embarrassing. I’m not sure that serving Bristol’s best chefs and restaurateurs with discoloured avocado as part of their starter and primary school-style veg with a slightly gristly piece of beef fillet for the main was a great idea…


Chicken and smoked avocado stack. I focused on the lettuce. It was the best part…
Beef fillet (gristly), fondant potato and Bearnaise sauce. I didn’t take a pic of the veg…
Dessert was alright actually – had lost my appetite by that point, though!


As we enjoyed our desserts, the awards part of the evening kicked off with the Local Producers’ Awards – judged at this year’s Love Food Spring Festival – were presented to the likes of Castellano’s, Dick Willows Cider and The Little Cake Stand.

With 24 restaurant categories to get through afterwards, it proved to be a long evening! Presenting two of the awards was slightly scary, but a great opportunity to finally meet Tom from Warren’s Gourmet Burger Company, who won the Best Burger award!

Some of the awards were probably as would have been predicted (Mayflower for Best Chinese, Arch House Deli for Best Deli), but others were more of a surprise – and it was great to see the reactions of the winners! Rosemarino and The TownHouse won two awards each, while the end of the night saw Louise McCrimmon from the Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols scoop the Best Chef award, and Toby Gritten’s The Pump House winning the overall Best Restaurant category.


The full list of winners is as follows:


Best Restaurant:

Winner: The Pump House

Highly Commended: Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols


Best Chef:

Winner: Louise McCrimmon, Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols

Highly Commended: Chris Wicks, Bell’s Diner


Best Newcomer:

Winner: The Gallimaufry

Highly Commended: The TownHouse


Best Fine Dining Wine List:

Winner: Hotel du Vin

Highly Commended: Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols


Best Wine List:

Winner: Flinty Red

Highly Commended: Bordeaux Quay


Best Italian:

Winner: Rosemarino

Highly Commended: Prego


Best British:

Winner: The TownHouse

Highly Commended: The Clifton Sausage


Best French:

Winner: Bell’s Diner

Highly Commended: Glassboat


Best Asian:

Winner: Surakhan

Highly Commended: Water Sky


Best Indian:

Winner: Kohi Noor

Highly Commended: Brunel Raj


Best Chinese:

Winner: Mayflower

Highly Commended: Water Sky


Best Seafood:

Winner: RockFish Grill

Highly Commended: Fishers


Best Pub Food:

Winner: The Kensington Arms

Highly Commended: The Victoria Park


Best Sunday Lunch:

Winner: The TownHouse

Highly Commended: The Cowshed


Best Family Friendly:

Winner: The Swan Hotel

Highly Commended: Pizza Express


Best Chain:

Winner: Cote

Highly Commended: Cafe Rouge


Best Al Fresco Dining:

Winner: Riverstation

Highly Commended: The Olive Shed


Best Vegetarian:

Winner: Maitreya Social

Highly Commended: The Thali Cafe


Best Buffet:

Winner: Shanghai Nights

Highly Commended: Cosmo


Best Burger:

Winner: Warren’s Gourmet Burger Company

Highly Commended: The King’s Arms


Best Cafe:

Winner: A Cappella

Highly Commended: Primrose Cafe


Best Deli:

Winner: Arch House Deli

Highly Commended: Papadeli


Best Breakfast:

Winner: Rosemarino

Highly Commended: A Cappella


Best Use Of Local Produce:

Winner: The Ethicurean

Highly Commended: Bordeaux Quay


Congratulations to all winners!


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17 thoughts on “Bristol Good Food Awards 2012: The winners”
  1. Completely surprised by best restaurant and best chef. The Pump House is very good but enough to beat the others in the short list? Really?! Casamia? The Muset and Lido? hmmm that goes for best chef as well.

    Watersky does not deserve runner up place in best Asian either it’s ok but not better than Noa.

    Pleased that Za Za Bazaar did not win best buffet because it’s terrible. 🙂

    I could go on actually for some time! But I won’t some good decisions some crazy ones, some of them were obviously 3am decisions after a few pints

    1. A few surprises for me too. Pump House was by far the biggest surprise of the night. The inclusion of Bell's Diner in the Best French category was bizarre, and I'm not sure about Cote as best chain!

      Shanghai Nights definitely a good shout for the Best Buffet, though, and I need to try those Kings Arms burgers if they are indeed better than The Burger Joint!

      If you haven't made it over to The TownHouse for Sunday lunch yet, I definitely recommend it. The easiest winner to select of all of my categories!

      1. TBJ's burgers are good, but I reckon Hermanos' are at least as good (but different), and possibly better.

    2. I'm glad someone else agrees that Za Za Bazaar should not be bristols best buffet restaurant, you should try Shanghai Nights it is a much better restaurant.
      Watersky should definitely not be runner up in best chinese, the food is very average and there is better closer to the city centre.

  2. I've been to The Town House for dinner it was so lovely but definitely want to check out the roast now I am quite picky with roasts so hopefully it delivers the goods!

    I don't think the Kings Arms burgers can be better I've seen them, although not tasted, they look nice but I have my doubts as to them being better than The Burger Joint.

    Yes had no idea that Bell's Diner was French but apparently it is! I think with a Bristol option like The Loungers they should have won best chain, I don't mind Cote for lunch but it's not as fun or nice as the The Lounges!

    Shanghai Nights used to be a great buffet years ago but haven't been recently but heard pretty good things so am eager!

    Pump House though complete surprise very suspicious if you ask me!! 😀

  3. 'Best Restaurant:

    Winner: The Pump House

    Highly Commended: Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols'

    Were the judges high?

  4. Don't agree with the pump house being best restaurant, I went there once and had to send my main back as it was so disgusting it completely put me off. I've heard other reports from my friends saying that the pump house is always hit and miss, there's nearly always something wrong when they go. I agree with Abby, somewhere like The Muset or The Lido are by far more deserved of this.

    As to best Asian going to Surukhan, I'm quite surprised. It's ok, but nothing I would really shout about.

  5. I judged the best restaurant category and chose The Pump House as the winner and Harvey Nichols as the runner up.

    The reason why they won, on the night I visited, they were the best judged against the criteria I'd been given to mark against.

    Like all of you, I have my own personal Bristol restaurant favourites, some of them shortlisted, that I'd have liked to have chosen to win. But on the night, in one way or another they didn't come up scratch as perhaps they usually would, so they didn't win. That's the way it goes. Tough titties. Maybe it's unfair to be judged on one service, but that's how the awards have been setup.

    I was scrupulously fair and deliberated over my choice of winners extremely carefully. In the end, The Pump House and Harvey Nichols won best restaurant because on the night I ate there, they were, in my opinion, the best.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal choice, and these were mine,

    Finally, I'm frankly insulted by the ridiculous suggestion that it's 'suspicious' that either restaurant won. I have no connection with The Pump House or Harvey Nichols, I've never met the chefs or owners and in the case of The Pump House, never eaten there before I visited to judge it.

    1. Agree with Dan (EssexEating) – it's always going to be tricky to judge somewhere based on one sitting – and based on a range of criteria that possibly wouldn't normally be considered by everyone when eating out.

      There are always going to be disagreements about award winners – as judges, we were given a list of venues in the categories that we judged…and each of these was judged impartially.

      It really was difficult to make the final decisions, and I've seen suggestions elsewhere that the winners list is just a list of "friends". Certainly from my point of view, the winner in one of my categories was somewhere I'd never visited before, and venues that I know quite well didn't even make the "highly commended" spot in other places.

  6. To be honest I find it a bit weird that one person decides the result for the category, and that it wasn't a group judge decision. Especially the Best Restaurant category!!! Surely that should be a panel decision

  7. Some interesting results here but most of all I am happy that Cosmo has not won best buffet, I have been there twice recently and poor is all I can say. The choices were limited and quality poor and I believe it is a very over rated restaurant. As a buffet lover i thought Shanghai Nights throughly deserved to win the best buffet, it has plenty of choice, great quality food and most of all good value.
    It seems odd however that Shanghai Nights aren't mentioned in best chinese restaurant as well as they still have a fantastic range of dim sum and authentic chinese dishes available to order which proves its much more than just a buffet restaurant.

  8. We went to the Townhouse for Sunday lunch after reading they had won in this category. We were shocked they weren't packed to bursting……they deserve to be. Without a doubt the best of all the restaurants we have tried in Bristol (for Sunday lunch). The ambience, staff and food were exceptional and great value for money. Plus the espresso martinis went down a treat. Already booked for this Sunday.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it…their Sunday lunches are amazing! Great range of veg, and good to see corn fed chicken on the menu the last time I went – it was delicious! Very reasonable prices compared to many other nearby venues too.

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