The great and the greedy turned out last night for the annual Observer Food Monthly awards at the Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden. Hot Dinners spotted chefs Pierre Koffmann, Benares' Atul Kocchar and Franceso Mazzei from Anima in the crowd.
Another familiar face was Edinburgh's Tom Kitchin who was making his second trip to the capital in as many weeks, this time to pick up the award for Best Restaurant. 'It's really rare for me to leave the kitchen,' he told us, admitting that with a three week old baby, he was looking forward to the trip home on the sleeper train as the first good night's sleep he'd had since the baby was born.
London winners in last night's ceremony included Islington cocktail bar 69 Colebrooke Row and Chelsea eaterie, The Dock Kitchen whose chef Stevie Parle picked up the gong for Best Young Chef. When Hot Dinners asked food writer Nigel Slater where he'd had his last great meal in London, he was quick to namecheck The Dock Kitchen, so it must be good! The Hawksmoor was voted Best Sunday Lunch spot by the Observer readers and London distillery Sipsmith won Best New Product. And two of Hot Dinners' favourite foodie bloggers, Chris Pople of Cheese and Biscuits and Niamh Shields from Eat Like A Girl were Highly Commended in the Best Food Blog category, where only a handful of votes apparently separated them from the winners Salad Club.