How do you measure a good meal?

Last week, I was honoured to be invited to take part in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards in London. Now in its fifth year, the Awards highlight some of the most outstanding restaurants worldwide. As chairperson for the Middle East, I was responsible for collating a number of votes from chefs, restaurateurs and gourmands from the region. A tough task! Especially as we were only given five votes each, and with so many great restaurants out there it really was like being in a candy store and only having enough money for one sweet.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  April 18, 2006

|~|50-best-06-l581L.jpg|~||~|Last week, I was honoured to be invited to take part in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards in London. Now in its fifth year, the Awards highlight some of the most outstanding restaurants worldwide. As chairperson for the Middle East, I was responsible for collating a number of votes from chefs, restaurateurs and gourmands from the region. A tough task! Especially as we were only given five votes each, and with so many great restaurants out there it really was like being in a candy store and only having enough money for one sweet. The winners were naturally the best of the best. The Roux brothers were presented with the Lifetime Achievement award, a truly well deserved accolade. While the top ten winners included such greats as Heston Blumenthal, Alain Ducasse and Pierre Gagnaire. Ferran Adria’s El Bulli in Spain filled the number one slot; a restaurant that has remained within the top three since the Awards was first launched in 2002. However, while meeting with the judging academy, a few of us were questioning how one can actually measure a restaurant experience? Sure, the Michelin Guide could be a good place to start, but then I have had equally outstanding meals and experiences from small Greek tavernas, unknown Italian bistros and noodle houses in London. Does a meal have to be expensive to be good? I am not convinced it does. So often it is the ambience and the service that leaves a great taste, and not only the food. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards is certainly an outstanding list, but is there now room for a more informal, casual dining accolade. If so, I am sure some of our outlets here in the Middle East could be certain of a top ten placement.||**||

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