This year’s Bib Gourmand awards were announced today by Michelin, ahead of the launch of The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2020 taking place at The Hurlingham Club in Fulham on 7th October 2019.
Named after Bibendum – the Michelin Man – the Bib Gourmand distinction highlights restaurants offering ‘good quality, good value cooking’ at €40 or under for 3 courses. 22 restaurants have been newly honoured for 2020 in the UK and Ireland.
Omissions from the 2020 Guide
Interestingly, and what has got tongues wagging today ahead of Monday's big launch, is the deletion of nine restaurants – one in Waterford, six in Dublin and two in Northern Ireland – from the 2020 Michelin Guide.
The restaurants in question who lost their Bib Gourmand are: The Copper Hen in Fenor, Co Waterford; Bastible, Delahunt, Etto, Pig's Ear, Craft and Forest & Marcy in Dublin and Bar + Grill at James Street South in Belfast and Fontana in Holywood, Co Down.
Why do many? (we hear you ask)
The responsibility falls on the restaurant to let Michelin know of any changes to ownership, location or of a closer, so they can keep the Guide as up-to-date as possible. For example, Damien Grey lost his star last year when Heron & Grey closed as the restaurant ownership changed, reopening as Liath and Damien with sole ownership. He is expected to be awarded a star once again on Monday (and we have our fingers crossed for him here in FOOD AND WINE HQ for that to happen).
The Copper Hen in Fenor changed location to Tramore this year, but failed to let Michelin know so, unfortunately, they have lost their Bib as a result.
This is the only one really where the reason for the loss is apparent. There is a lot of speculation around the reasons for the other Bib loses, and of course, no one really knows, but, here are two reasons we can think of:
1) There is nothing but speculation and excitement at the moment about Monday's launch of the 2020 Great Britain & Ireland Guide and with it the announcement of new stars and those being retained. It is very unusual for a restaurant with a Bib Gourmand to get a star because the Bib is given to symbolise great value for great quality. One star restaurants tend to get eliminated by the €40 cut-off for this accolade. So, in theory, some of these restaurants may have lost their Bib in order for them to be awarded a star. Bastible is one restaurant that everyone has high hopes for, ever since Cuan Greene, previously of Noma, has taken over at the helm of the kitchen.
2) The VAT increase after the last budget really hit the industry hard and most restaurants can't absorb this cost and it has been reflected in the menu. Prices have increased on menus in Dublin and Ireland the past year and the average spend of a meal has risen dramatically. It means that restaurants can't stay within the €40 cut-off for a Bib.
One thing is for sure, this year is going to be big for Irish food with the amount of stars given by Michelin. Unprecedentedly, a lot of Irish food media have been invited to attend, why would they do that? Something amazing is about to happen. Get excited!
Live Stream at the Michelin star announcement
On this coming Monday, 7th October at 4pm, the stars for the 2020 Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland will be announced at a ceremony in The Hurlingham Club in Fulham. Our editor Dee Laffan will be in attendance and will be streaming live on our Instagram Stories.
Afterwards, we will have comments and video from the winners, retainers and other people in attendance at this year's ceremony. Make sure and follow us and tune in so you don't miss the announcements, excitement and celebration from the event!