Two Manchester restaurants have been shortlisted in the Opening of the Year category of the hospitality barometer that is the National Restaurant Awards 2023.
The Estrella Damm sponsored awards are organised by Restaurant Magazine (Formerly Big Hospitality). Launched in 2007, organisers say the awards “celebrate the brilliance and vibrancy of the UK’s eating out scene, and reward the very best chefs, front of house staff and restaurants the country has to offer”.
So far, the NRAs have announced the shortlist for two other categories: Chef to Watch and Restaurateur of the Year with nobody in Manchester (or even the North) nominated in these very London-centric lists. So it’s great to see Manchester recognised in this one.
The two restaurants shortlisted are (perhaps unsurprisingly) Higher Ground and Climat.
Higher Ground is the holistic casual dining spot from Flawd team Joe Otway, Richard Cummins and Daniel Craig Martin that opened in Chinatown this year. Its menu is all about whole animal butchery, lush produce from their organic farm Cinderwood Market Garden, and an ever changing wine list full of natural and biodynamic stars. Pop in on any occasion and your likely to bump into someone who writes about food in Manchester. It's certainly one of our openings of the year. We’re surprised Jay Rayner’s not been in yet but he’ll be on his way.
Somewhere Jay has been recently is Climat. The restaurant from the team behind in-the-know Chester wine and small plates bar Covino has been heaped with praise from all and sundry since it opened at the tail end of 2022. Inventive takes on classic dishes make up a menu of small and sharing plates that have foodies clamouring for a table, and with an incredible wine list of Burgundy stars (and more) and views across the city to make you actually gasp, Climat is probably the hottest restaurant in the city right now.
We think both of these places deserve to win the Opening of the Year category at this year's National Restaurant Awards, so fingers crossed.
In addition to individual awards like these, the National Restaurant Awards also publishes a yearly Top 100 restaurants in the UK which are voted for by their panel of chefs, restaurateurs and food writers. Only two Manchester restaurants, Erst and Mana, made the list in 2021 and 2022, so let’s hope more of our lot are recognised the 2023 list.
The winners of Opening of the Year and all other The National Restaurant Awards and the Top 100 for 2023 will be announced at The Hurlingham Club in London on 12 June.