The biggest food stories of 2023, from Le Gavroche closing to burrata being cancelled

Le Gavroche: au revoir to a legendary restaurant  (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Le Gavroche: au revoir to a legendary restaurant (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

It was a big year for food and drink. Burrata found itself cancelled, while one of the country’s most famous restaurants announced its closure after 56 years. New ventures arrived in turn. Others celebrated longevity — in a difficult city so susceptible to trends and change. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest stories of the year.

Michel Roux calls time on Le Gavroche

Perhaps the biggest culinary news in 2023 came from Mayfair, where Michel Roux, a titan of gastronomy in Britain, called time on Le Gavroche. Since 1967, the French restaurant has been a church: training many, feeding more, the first in the UK to win one, two, three Michelin stars. Read the full story here.

Jamie Oliver gets back in the game

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

After the loss of his restaurant empire in 2019, and debts of £83 million, Jamie Oliver revealed a new UK restaurant project: a titular brasserie on Catherine St in the West End. Read the full story here. But be warned: early reviews have not been kind.

Return of the King

Jeremy King. You’ve heard of him, right? One of the two behind the Wolseley, Brasserie Zedel, the Delaunay, many more. No longer involved in those famous London haunts, King took time out to plot his next course. It’s a good one: he has big, bold plans, including the relaunch of Le Caprice, albeit under a different name. Read the full story here.

Brixton stands firm

Brixton has changed immeasurably in recent years. Many in the community felt the prospect of an enormous tower block would be a step too far. Behind the project was Hondo Enterprises, now the owner of swathes of the commercial property in Brixton. Residents campaigned against the tower — and against the odds, won. Read the full story here.

Mr Whippy, only posh

So many London restaurants invariably lent on the comforting familiarity of family favourites in 2023. Few, if any desserts are as satisfying in their simplicity than soft serve ice cream. From The Dorchester to Bentley’s, we charted London’s love of new-age whipped ice cream. Read the full story here.

The cancellation of burrata

 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A January column in the Standard suggested burrata had gone too far. Its ubiquity was starting to grate. Six months later, the New York Times agreed. London has always been ahead of the curve. Naturally, a frenzy followed and suddenly the cheese was denigrated far and wide. Read the original story here.

Hope for South London

The Hope is an unassuming pub in Carshalton, an unfashionable part of South London with a lovely duck pond and little else. But this community owned pub was named the best in London this year, thanks to its fine selection of beers and neighbourhood spirit. Read the full story here.

The steaks are high

There are plenty of places in London serving good steaks. There are more flogging bad ones. Many would suppose the Angus Steakhouse chain falls neatly into the latter. No longer: fork out for the top tier cuts from Jack’s Creek and you might be in for a surprise. Read the full story here.

Our daily bread

The queues outside Chatsworth Bakehouse started growing in 2023. Today they remain. Every Monday, like a new fashion line from a famous designer, the Crystal Palace bakery “drops” a new sandwich, and diners clamour to get in on the act. Read the full story here.

Pretenders challenge (unsuccessfully) for Guinness’ crown

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

Brewdog released its own stout in 2023, hoping to steal a bit of Guinness’ considerable market share. And then came Conor McGregor, Irish fighter extraordinaire, with his own version of the black stuff. Did either match up? Watch our taste test videos here, and here.

Shut the **** up

A branch of Karen’s Diner arrived in the capital this year. The Aussie import has made waves since embarking on a UK roll-out, bringing its charmless service, where rudeness is the order of the day, and its burgers and milkshakes. David Ellis took Clare Finney along, mostly on the grounds that she's the most polite person he knows. Now that's rude. Read the full story here.

Oscar Wilde’s old stomping ground returns

Kettner’s, the Soho institution, a place Oscar Wilde adored and where dough balls were born, opened for the public for the first time in four years in 2023. The celebrity hangout was bought by Soho House in 2016 and had been under lock and key since its relaunch in 2018. Read the full story here.

Record breakers

Too Many Critics, the charity fundraiser where restaurant writers swap the keyboard for the kitchen, raised more than £121,000 for food charity Action Against Hunger this year. A tremendous effort and one in which Going Out editor David Ellis played a part. Read the full story here.

Happy birthday Annabel’s

 (Dave Benett)
(Dave Benett)

Six decades of champagne, celebrities, chauffeurs and camera shutters: Annabel’s in Berkeley Square is one of London’s chicest private members’ clubs and in June, it  turned 60. We went along to the party. Richard Caring sent out tequila shots. Rod Stewart danced with the Marchioness of Bath. Read the full story here.

StreetSmart turns 25

An organisation that has become synonymous with London’s restaurant scene, StreetSmart’s annual campaign encourages diners to donate an optional £1 on top of their restaurant bill in support of homeless charities. Around 600 restaurants sign up to take part each year. In 2023, StreetSmart celebrated its 25th birthday. Read the full story here.

Oh, wow

There are 12 places to drink and dine at the Old War Office, a venture monolithic in size and stature, one that cost a cool £1.4 billion to bring to fruition. No longer the epicentre of Britain’s defence, today it is a hotel, a residency, and a luxurious place to enjoy oneself, whether staying the night or not. Read the full story here.