Popular restaurant guide announces award winners including Norn, Bilson Eleven and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
The 2017 edition of The List Eating and Drinking Guide is out and available to buy Wed 19 Apr. In the guide, the 24th annual round-up of the eating out scene in Edinburgh and Glasgow, nearly 1000 eating and drinking venues have been covered by a team of over 70 locally based reviewers, with over 150 new openings included across the two cities.
In the guide the best of these newcomers are recognised in the annual Eating & Drinking Guide Awards, presented in association with guide sponsors Birra Moretti.
Selected by The List's experienced team of reviewers and editors, the awards highlight and celebrate the venues which have brought something genuinely new, inspiring and original to the local scene in the last 12 months.
Edinburgh's Newcomer of the Year winners:
Freshly foraged, home-fermented, sharply seasonal, ultra-local – it's all right on the zeitgeist, and happening at an unassuming Leith side street in the capable hands of Scott and Laura Smith. From the first mouthful of crusty homemade beremeal sourdough to the final sip of natural wine, Norn is razor-sharp, offering plenty of evidence that contemporary Scottish dining is on the move.
There's no doubt that this Leith corner is warm and welcoming and that the food produced offers hearty, wholesome hugs in a plate or bowl. But peer behind the counter at Ostara and you'll find David McVey and Carey Morrison nurturing a community of customers and suppliers with quiet, steadfast commitment. Simple neighbourhood pleasures encapsulated.
Glasgow's Newcomer of the Year winners:
Boutique fine dining in Dennistoun? Surely you meant to say 'Finnieston'? Any doubts about the credentials of Glasgow's East End to make a mark on the dining scene have been overturned at 1860s townhouse Bilson Eleven, where Nick Reitz is delivering confident, creative and technically adept dishes that celebrate Scotland's larder while cleverly reflecting the tastes of the city. Insightful and inventive dining has dawned in the East.
At the centre of Barras Art and Design (BAaD), the creative hub in the Barras Market run by Ricky Scoular and Brian Traynor, A'Challtainn taps into the social importance of our food and the way we eat. Imaginative, seasonal, affordable and beautifully presented dishes from head chef Garry Gill are the focus, but togetherness, neighbourhood and creativity are the wider aims. Gather here for creative food centred in community and culture.
Edinburgh New Bar Award:
Good Brothers Wine Bar
Across the city's wine lists terms like organic, biodynamic and natural are becoming common sights. But, until now, this movement has perhaps felt inaccessible to the casual bar-hopper. Step forward two wine-obsessed brothers, Rory and Graeme Sutherland. Their new wine bar in Stockbridge is a relaxed corner where an intelligently sourced and equally carefully priced list brings the best of the new techniques alive, supported by a simple menu.
Glasgow New Bar Award:
The Drugstore Social
On a tranquil corner close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery, this newcomer from local group Kained Holdings is an indication of how far they have come in ten years. Beginning with Lebowskis, which trailblazed Finnieston's current scene, they've brought seafood, steakhouse and cocktail venues to the city. The Drugstore Social's small kitchen delivers hearty rustic meats and foraged delights paired with top-notch wines and invigorating cocktails, all in a well-pitched pharmaceutical setting.
Special Award 2017
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
The List's annual Special Award for 2017 goes to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, an antidote to the marketing cliché and heavy branding of the whisky industry. Since forming in the 1980s, the society has demystified great whisky with an independent, democratic, inspiring spirit. In its newly refurbished premises on Edinburgh's Queen Street they've shown their continued commitment to bring the best of whisky and its conviviality directly to members, casual customers and aficionados alike.
This year also sees the return of The List Readers' Award in association with Birra Moretti, and after several months of voting the best restaurants as chosen by you are Edinburgh's Dishoom and Glasgow's Grill on the Corner.
The 24th edition of The List Eating & Drinking Guide is available from bookshops, newsagents and direct from The List's online shop, priced £5.95.