Top 10 restaurants shortlist revealed for 2017

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The Caterer and its partner Seafish UK have published the shortlist for their Restaurant of the Year Competition in 2017. With an emphasis on fish and shellfish, the competition was set up to recognise knowledgeable front-of-house staff and excellence in the kitchen for the preparation and presentation of seafood.

This year’s shortlist includes:

• The Idle Rocks (Cornwall)
• The Kilted Lobster
• Ninth Wave (Isle of Mull)
• The Old Boat House
• Rockfish (Brixham)
• Rocksalt (Folkestone)
• The Salt Room (Brighton)
• The Staith House (North Shields)
• The Three Chimneys (Isle of Skye)
• Wright Brothers (Spitalfields)

These restaurants will be visited by a mystery shopper from Seafish UK in the coming weeks and will be judged on the facilities, the service and the food. These scores will be combined with the scores from earlier rounds and submitted to the judges for a final decision.

The judging panel includes restaurateurs Will Smith, Giovanni Grossi and Callum Richardson; Westminster College lecturer Paul Hurren; the AA’s Jose Souto; and the 2015 winner, Derek Marshall of Gamba. Representing last year’s winning restaurant The Jetty, Christchurch, will be Alex Aitken.

Results will be announced in September, with the new winner receiving a trophy, vouchers to spend on cooking equipment, and some specialist training for staff.

What makes a winner?

The competition is looking to promote quality and knowledge in the cooking and serving of seafood. Although restaurants don’t have to have fish-only menus to qualify, they do need to feature fish. Mystery shoppers are looking for a combination of great front-of-house skills with perfectly cooked food.

To ensure excellent presentation, restaurants should consider using commercial warewashers, such as those at, to ensure dishes are sparkling clean and do justice to the food that is being served on them.

Using the best-quality ingredients is the surest path to success. If you need to locate a reliable supplier in your area, contact the National Federation of Fishmongers for help and advice.

Entering a competition can be a great way to focus your staff on improvement. Winning an accolade can be a real boost for a small business, and focusing on your speciality increases your chances of success by playing to your strengths. Best of luck to all the shortlisted entries!

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