National Restaurant Awards 2024: Restaurateur of the Year shortlist

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National Restaurant Awards 2024: Restaurateur of the Year shortlist

Related tags Simon Rogan A Braccetto Josh Overington Florence Mae Maglanoc Clare Lattin Kolae Permanently Unique

The shortlist for Restaurateur of the Year at this year's National Restaurant Awards has been revealed.

Aji Akokomi

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West African cuisine is finally getting the recognition it deserves and this is partly down to the work of Aji Akokomi. Earlier this year Akokomi’s first restaurant Akoko was awarded a Michelin Star, which was recognised for its ‘refined, beautifully balanced dishes underpinned by quality ingredients’ and late last year he doubled up in the capital with the launch of the more casual but no less impressive Akara just outside Borough Market. Both of Akokomi’s restaurants serve refined, heart-warmingly good West African food in stylish surroundings and are a significant contribution to central London’s food scene.

Drew and Adam Jones

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Brothers Adam and Drew founded luxury modern Chinese brand Tattu in Manchester in 2015 and have since gone on to expand it to Leeds, Birmingham and Edinburgh as well as open an impressive site in London at The Outernet development. Now under the renamed Permanently Unique name, the restaurant group hasn’t stood still with the recent opening of Greek restaurant Fenix in Manchester and plans to open Tattu in Dubai later this year. On top if that they will launch yet another new concept in Manchester later this year. Called Louis, the Italian-American restaurant is due to open in Spinningfields in the autumn.

Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie 

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Image: Harriet Langford

Two of the trio behind successful Thai restaurant Som Saa in Spitalfields, Mark Dobbie and Andy Oliver have finally built on the success on their debut venture with a follow up. Called Kolae, their new Borough Market restaurant takes its name from a southern Thailand dish that is grilled on skewers and comes a mere seven years after the launch of Som Saa. It’s been worth the wait, however, with Kolae receiving rave reviews and bringung something new to Borough Market’s burgeoning restaurant scene.

Tom Hill and Clare Lattin 

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The duo behind London’s Ducksoup and Devon’s Emilia try and fly somewhat under the radar but - despite their best efforts - their latest opening Camille has attracted a lot of attention. Launched earlier this year in Borough Market, the small-yet-perfectly-formed bistro has captured the zeitgeist with its relatively affordable French-leaning cooking and easy-going nature. The last six months or so has also seen the pair launch a natural wine bar a few doors down from their Emilia restaurant in the South Devon town of Ashburton. Now largely based in the South West (Camille is being led by Meghan Morrell and former 107 Elliot Hashtroudi), the pair have reminded the industry that it is still possible to create great restaurants on tighter budgets.

Florence Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah

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With their Maginhawa Group Florence Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah have built a growing and eclectic empire of Filipino restaurants that include the hugely popular ‘dirty ice cream’ brand Mamasons, pan-Asian Bintang, Latin America and Caribbean restaurant Guanabana, bakery Panadera, and Filipino Japanese ramen concept Ramo Ramen. Their most recent endeavour is Donia in Soho’s Kingly Court, their 10th venture, which received a rare five-star review from The Standard’s Jimi Famurewa at the start of this year.

Joshua and Victoria Overington

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The pair behind now closed York restaurant Le Cochon Aveugle put everything on the line to launch Mýse (which is pronounced as in mise en place) last year. More spacious, ambitious and grown-up than the venture with which the Overingtons made their name, the Hovingham has been an enormous success winning a Michelin star just seven months after opening and also making our own top 100 list. Conceived as a softer-edged, more experiential counterpoint to Le Cochon Aveugle, the restaurant is a masterclass in progressive hospitality combining creative, produce-led cooking with warm service and a killer wine list.

Simon Rogan and Sam Ward

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It’s been yet another vintage year for the duo behind Umbel Restaurant Group. Still buzzing off finally securing that previously elusive third star for L’Enclume, Simon Rogan and Sam Ward continue to expand their restaurant empire both in the UK and further afield. The past year or so has seen the creation of innovative farm-to-table experience A Day At Our Farm, the launch of two further international outposts in Malta and Thailand and the extension and total overhaul of Aulis London. On top of all this, Rogan and Ward are also ushering in a new era for the business by backing Umbel Restaurant Group alumnus Tom Barnes to launch his own restaurant in Manchester. And the awards keep rolling in, with their Maltese outpost winning a second star and Aulis London also being acknowledged with a star.

The Restaurateur of the Year award is sponsored by Chapman Ventilation.​ The winner will be announced at the National Restaurant Awards, being held at Magazine in London on 10 June.

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