7 Nov 2020
Why Moor Hall is still Liverpool’s closest two-Michelin-star restaurant
Moor Hall is officially still the closest two-Michelin-star restaurant to Liverpool, after Michelin judges announced that the award of any new stars would be delayed until next year.
Occupying a beautifully restored 16th Century manor in Aughton, West Lancashire, the multi-award-winning restaurant and hotel is less than thirty minutes’ drive from Liverpool’s vibrant docks.
New Michelin stars are usually awarded in October, but the Michelin Guide team chose to push the 2021 guide back to January because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry.
Moor Hall’s Chef Patron Mark Birchall said: “The day the latest Michelin guide is released is a big date in every restauranteur’s diary. It’s very stressful, but seeing those stars next to your restaurant’s name makes it all worthwhile.
“The proximity to Liverpool was a major factor in choosing the site for this restaurant. It was about more than being close to a major city – we wanted to capture some of Liverpool’s special energy to enhance our distinctive restaurant experience.”
Delaying the publication of the next Michelin Guide means that each restaurant retains their awards from the previous year’s guide.
This means that the only Michelin-rated restaurant that’s closer to Liverpool is the single-Michelin-star Restaurant Fraiche on the Wirral Peninsula.
Moor Hall and L’Enclume in Cumbria remain the only two-Michelin-starred restaurants in the North West of England.
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michel Guides, said: “Our inspectors are eating out and supporting the industry across Great Britain and Ireland.
“Moving the event to January and launching a digital-only guide gives us the time we need to be fair to restaurateurs and to ensure the consistent, expert advice our customers demand.
“Restaurants have been through challenges we previously couldn’t even have imagined – and I want to applaud chefs and owners for the passion, ingenuity and entrepreneurship they have shown this year.”
Moor Hall’s rapid rise to Michelin stardom
Opened in March 2017, the Moor Hall team has achieved a lot in a short space of time.
The restaurant bagged its first Michelin star within just six months and added the second a year later, becoming one of the fastest restaurants to achieve two stars.
Moor Hall’s entry in the 2020 Michelin Guide describes “refined, highly original dishes, featuring terrific English produce.”
It continues: “[this] versatility results in a range of cleverly blended flavours, textures and temperatures. The wine list with have oenophiles in raptures and contemporary bedrooms complete the package.”
In addition to the two Michelin stars, Moor Hall also holds 5 AA Rosettes and was recently crowned ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the National Restaurant Awards.
Moor Hall’s major accolades
- Two Michelin stars
- Five AA Rosettes
- ‘Restaurant of the Year’ Award at the National Restaurant Awards 2019
Mark said: “Me and the team are incredibly proud of everything we’ve achieved in the last three and a half years, but we’re also motivated to go on and achieve even more.
“Like everyone else in hospitality, we’ve had our fair share of challenges this year – but the way the team has come together to make our guests feel comfortable and welcome reflects our amazing spirit.”
Born in Lancashire, Mark’s produce-driven menus takes inspiration and ingredients from the five-acre grounds surrounding Moor Hall, as well as a patchwork of local suppliers for the finest modern British cuisine.
One of Mark’s latest achievements is in opening The Barn in the grounds of Moor Hall. The Barn is a neighbourhood restaurant offering a delicious and varied menu and received a Michelin Plate accreditation in 2020.
Earlier this year, The Barn received more than 5,000 restaurant bookings within six hours of announcing its involvement in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Liverpool’s history of Michelin stars
Despite its rich and diverse cultural history, no Liverpool restaurant has ever held a Michelin star.
The quality of Liverpool’s restaurants has increased markedly in recent years, and several restaurants have come close to winning the city its first star.
Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Guide for the UK and Ireland said: “We couldn’t give a star just because somewhere was the best restaurant in Liverpool.
“It’s a standard that’s set worldwide, so a restaurant that has one star in the Lake District has to be as good as somewhere with one star in France or in Japan. We rate against that standard of restaurant across the world.
“We would like there to be a star in every city but we have a level to maintain and readers have an expectation.”
For some Liverpudlians, winning a Michelin star isn’t everything. The Liverpool Echo even printed a list of 21 cafes, takeaways, fish and chip shops and restaurants that will never win a Michelin award, but are still well-loved city institutions.
Anybody that does want too see Michelin-quality dining within the city limits can take comfort from nearby Manchester, where Ancoats-based Mana won the city it’s first Michelin star in more than 40 years in 2019.
Even Manchester is bottom of the table compared to London’s 67 Michelin star restaurants. After London, Birmingham has a total of six stars while Bristol has five, Edinburgh four and Belfast three.
The affluent village of Bray on the River Thames is home to two three-Michelin-star restaurants – Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn.