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High-end diners favour experiences over stars as Sexy Fish named London’s best restaurant

By LLM Reporters on 6th December 2018

Michelin stars aren’t shining as brightly in 2018 as London’s high-end diners look for experience-led dining, including spectacular views and appetite-whetting dish presentation or access to private members’ clubs and the privacy they offer.

A new report, by Ten Lifestyle Group, using booking data from its more than two million members, has shown that in a list of top 25 most in-demand restaurants in the UK there are now only three Michelin starred restaurants in comparison to 11 in 2013. Sexy Fish nabs the top spot of most popular restaurants, followed by Sushisamba, Chiltern Firehouse, Gymkhana and Hutong, whereas five years ago, Sushisamba, Hutong, Balthazar, Aqua Shard and The Fat Duck made up the top five.

This change coincides with the trend for uploading meals to Instagram and photography with social media becoming a driving force for restaurants to showcase themselves to a new audience.

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London’s high-end diners are looking for experience-led dining

In fact, Ten’s had more requests for specific dishes than ever before as diners appreciate the ‘art of plating’. The most instagrammable dish request this year was Tom Kerridge’s ‘Lobster Omelette’, with the list of the top five most Instagrammable dishes comprising of the ‘Turbot’ at Brat, the ‘Crumpet’ at Cornerstone, the ‘Peking Duck’ at Duddells, and the ‘Nest Egg’ at Hide.

Unsuprisingly, a number of the restaurants with the most Instagrammable dishes make up the list of top five most sought-after new restaurant openings, as both Kerridge’s Bar and Grill and Hide have turned up in the rankings, demonstrating how restaurants have adapted their marketing to attract a more visually-conscious generation of diners – though it is a mistake to think that only millennials are snapping their food plates on their smartphone, as 55% of booking requests were made by those aged 40-60.

Wealth and health continue to be closely interlinked as bookings for lighter and healthier cuisine sees Asian fusion and Japanese restaurants topping the table, thanks to more refined tastes.

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Sexy Fish took the top spot of most popular restaurants in London in 2018

Good views are also in-demand as diners love to see all of London on display while they eat. With D&D Restaurants planning a roof top restaurant at 120 Fenchurch Street and Peter Sanchez Iglesias of Casamia opening on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in King’s Cross next year, this trend is set to continue.

But it isn’t only Asian food that is bucking trends, while 2018 saw the closure of 12 Jamie’s Italian restaurants and Carluccio’s enter a CVA, independent Italian restaurants have been enjoying a steady renaissance in London over the past few years. Not so much in the traditional trattoria sense, Londoners are now seeking their carb hit from the likes of the excellent pasta specialists Pastiao and Padella often having queues over an hour long and on the pizza front, Franco Manca continues to see high levels of growth.

Patrick Crichton-Stuart, Head of Dining at Ten Lifestyle Group, said: “London has the most exciting and vibrant food scene anywhere in the world. With the best and most innovative chefs attracted to working and opening restaurants in the city it’s no surprise to see such a diversity in trends over the years.

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The Chiltern Firehouse has become London’s hottest celebrity hangout

“Interestingly, despite our ability to book members into the top restaurants in London, as we have done for years, it is exclusivity that seems to be the new burgeoning trend with private members club accesss being more and more requested.”

Ten develops its amazing connections with restaurants and restauranteurs in part thanks to the knowledge that its members spend a higher average per head in the top restaurants. It also delivers unrivalled access to the top restaurants in London and around the world, holding tables and getting exclusive benefits.