Soho’s Kiln crowned the UK's best restaurant at the National Restaurant Awards

Lizzie Thomson
Winner: Soho's Kiln: Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures

London’s casual Thai restaurant Kiln has secured the top spot at this year’s National Restaurant Awards, climbing eight places since last year.

The popular Soho spot won first place at the 2018 awards, which happened earlier this evening, claiming the title of the best restaurant in the country.

The awards took place at London's Hurlingham Club and were announced by Restaurant magazine.

The magazine's editor, Stefan Chomka, said, "Kiln is a marvellous restaurant for so many reasons – it is affordable, democratic, fun and, if you’re lucky enough to sit at the counter and watch the chefs cook at their clay pots, a truly unique experience in the capital.

"And, of course, the food is incredible. There is no other place like Kiln in this country.”

Last November, the Standard's Fay Maschler described Kiln as having “some of the most exciting cooking in London”, attributing it to co-owner Ben Chapman's obsession with charcoal-fired cooking.

Self-taught excellence: Ben Chapman in his kitchen at Kiln (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures)

The capital’s restaurants dominate the top ten with Sabor securing second place followed by A. Wong in third position and Core by Clare Smyth in fourth. In total, London venues take up more than half of the 100 positions on the list.

Foodie hotspots such as Lyle’s, Padella, The Ledbury, Hoppers, El Pastor, Gymkhana and Lorne all secured places within the top 50.

Similarly, Kricket, Pollen St Social, Holborn Dining Room, The Dairy, Frenchie and Lima all placed from 51 - 100.

Despite many of the restaurants having a fine dining focus, neither Kiln nor Sabor hold Michelin stars.


New London entries featured on this year’s list include Farang, Barbary, Neo Bistro, Westerns Laundry and Ikoyi placing 60, 93, 94, 98 and 100.

The Sportman in Kent, which placed first last year dropped to ninth place, while the Fat Duck which was 15 last year dropped to 32 this year following the departure of both the head chef and master sommelier earlier in 2018. The pair, Jonny Lake and sommelier Isa Bal, announced last week that they're planning a new project in London next year.

The top restaurant outside London was L'Enclume in Cumbria.

The list is compiled using votes from 150 industry experts, including chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and critics.

The full list of National Restaurant Awards winners is below.

1. Kiln, Soho

2. Sabor, Mayfair

3. A Wong, Victoria

4. Core by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill

5. L'Enclume, Cumbria

6. Moor Hall, Lancashire

7. Lyle's, Shoreditch

8. Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham

9. The Sportsman, Kent

10. Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall

11. Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Chelsea

12. The Coach, Marlow

13. Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall

14. Brat, Shoreditch

15. Padella, London Bridge

16. The Quality Chop House, Clerkenwell

17. The Ledbury, Notting Hill

18. Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire

19. Wreckfish, Liverpool

20. The Black Swan at Oldstead

21. The River Café, Hammersmith

22. Indian Accent, Mayfair

23. Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Padstow

24. El Pastor, London Bridge

25. Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Oxford

26. Ondine, Edinburgh

27. Casamia, Bristol

28. Ynyshir, Powys

29. Som Saa, Shoreditch

30. House of Tides, Newcastle

31. The Clove Club, Shoreditch

32. The Fat Duck, Bray

33. Chez Bruce, Wandsworth

34. Elystan Street, Chelsea

35. The Crown at Burchetts Green, Maidenhead

36. Trinity, Clapham

37. The Little Fish Market, Hove

38. The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny

39. Quo Vadis, Soho

40. The Seahorse, Dartmouth

41. Barrafina, Covent Garden

42. Lorne, Victoria

43. The Waterside Inn, Bray

44. Brawn, Bethnal Green

45. The Raby Hunt, Darlington

46. Hispi, Didsbury

47. Hoppers, Soho

48. Midsummer House, Cambridge

49. Noble Rot, Bloomsbury

50. Gymkhana, Mayfair

51. Nuala

52. Hedone, Chiswick

53. Alchemilla, Nottingham

54. Kricket, Soho

55. Pollen St Social, Mayfair

56. Tyddyn Llan, Llandrillo

57. Root, Bristol

58. St John Bread & Wine, Shoreditch

59. The Star Inn Harome, Yorkshire

60. Farang, Highbury

61. Holborn Dining Room, Holborn

62. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow

63. Wilson's, Bristol

64. 40 Maltby Street, London Bridge

65. Black Axe Mangal, Islington

66. Carter’s of Moseley, Birmingham

67. The Palomar, Chinatown

68. Smoking Goat, Shoreditch

69. The Beehive, Berkshire

70. The Hardwick, Abergavenny

71. Timberyard, Edinburgh

72. Xu, Chinatown

73. The Dairy, Clapham

74. Le Gavroche, Mayfair

75. Paco Tapas, Bristol

76. The Parkers Arms, Clitheroe

77. Rambla, Soho

78. Wine & Brine, County Armagh

79. Frog by Adam Handling, Covent Garden

80. Where The Light Gets In, Stockport

81. Bonhams, Mayfair

82. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Edinburgh

83. Fraiche, Oxton

84. Restaurant Story, London Bridge

85. Sardine, Hoxton

86. The Ritz, Piccadilly

87. Kitchen Table, Fitzrovia

88. Inver, Argyll & Bute

89. Lima, Fitzrovia

90. The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury

91. Frenchie, Covent Garden

92. The Elephant, Torquay

93. Barbary, Covent Garden

94. Neo Bistro, Mayfair

95. Mark Greenaway, Edinburgh

96. Morston Hall Hotel, Norfolk

97. Northcote Manor, Langho

98. Westerns Laundry, Highbury

99. Perilla, Newington Green

100. Ikoyi, Piccadilly