A Lancashire restaurant has been crowned the best in Britain at a prestigious national awards ceremony in London.
Moor Hall in Aughton, near Ormskirk, was crowned National Restaurant of the Year at The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards 2019 yesterday (Monday, June 10).
The restaurant, situated in a refurbished Grade II-listed 16th-century farmhouse, is overseen by former Runshaw College student and chef-patron Mark Birchall, from Adlington, near Chorley.
Mr Birchall said he is "absolutely thrilled" that Moor Hall beat a number of London's world famous restaurants to the number 1 spot.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be number 1 in this year's National Restaurant Awards", said Mark Birchall.
"It’s a huge achievement and really shows the hard work and commitment the whole team have put in.
"We have had such a wonderful year and we are determined to keep moving. The hard work continues!”
But the Lancashire restaurant and its home-grown chef are no strangers to success.
The critically-acclaimed restaurant was bought by Andy and Tracey Bell in 2015, who oversaw its multi-million pound renovation in 2017.
And under the creative stewardship of Mr Birchall, the restaurant has already been awarded two Michelin stars. Its first star coming just six months after reopening in 2017, followed by a second Michelin star earlier this year.
Critics praised Moor Hall for elevating the reputation of modern British cuisine, with its emphasis on using local produce grown on the five-acre estate.
The National Restaurant Awards are judged by a panel of more than 200 experts including food writers, chefs and restaurateurs.
“Mark is an incredibly talented chef who has a clear ambition to not just create one of the best restaurants in the UK but in the world,” says Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant magazine.
“This award reflects that vision. Moor Hall is an almost immaculate experience – Mark’s food is clever and inventive but also delicious, the service is exceptional and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.
"It’s an outstanding restaurant that deserves its title as the best in the UK.”
Moor Hall’s leap to the top from No 6 last year means the No 1 slot returns to a restaurant outside of the capital.
This year also saw more Northern restaurants than ever before featured in the top 100.
In total, 46 of the top 100 restaurants are located outside of London, revealing the true geographical spread of Britain's fine dining.
Second place went to hit London restaurant Brat in Shoreditch, which is followed by four other restaurants in the capital.
Sixth place returns to the North West with Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume, where Birchall previously earned two Michelin stars as its former executive chef.
Lunch at Moor Hall is priced at £65 for four courses, or £125 for eight courses. Dinner is priced at £125 for eight courses.
Moor Hall and chef Mark Birchall have been approached for comment.
The full list of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants can be found here.