North Yorkshire pub The Black Swan has been named the best restaurant in the world in a TripAdvisor poll based on millions of customer reviews.
The family-run inn, located in the tiny village of Oldstead, beat out the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Raymond Blanc to top the site’s Travellers’ Choice Favourite Fine Dining Restaurants Worldwide poll.
Local farmers Tom and Anne Banks bought the Black Swan in 2006 and set about revamping the dilapidated boozer with the help of sons James and Tommy.
The pub’s kitchen is the domain of younger son Tommy, the youngest ever chef to receive a coveted Michelin star and a familiar to TV audiences as a contestant on last year’s series of Great British Menu.
Remarkably, Banks, 28, has no formal training and started out in the kitchen as a teenager simply to help the family business.
“My dad said, ‘Well you’ll just have to cook’,” Banks told the Daily Telegraph.
After heading to London to hone his skills with unpaid placements alongside some of the capital’s top chefs, he took over as head chef in 2013.
The Black Swan won its Michelin star in 2011 with classic French cooking, but when Banks took over he decided to stay close to his roots, developing a menu of seasonal British fare, using ingredients grown in the pub’s own vegetable garden.
What's underneath that %uD83D%uDE0D Wild Garlic leaf. Our new dish on the menu tonight… %u2022 Corn Fed Chicken. Charred Onions. Rapeseed emulsion. Last years Garlic Capers. %u2022 #newdish #tastingmenu #localproduce #preserved #produce #supportlocal #makethemostofit #spring #wildgarlic #capers #chef
The gamble paid off. The Black Swan has retained its Michelin star for the sixth year in a row, while the latest honour proves that Banks’ menu is a hit with customers, too.
Banks told the Yorkshire Post that tougher financial times following the 2008 crash paradoxically helped turn the Black Swan into an upmarket foodie destination.
“We are sort of in the middle of nowhere, so people would not travel here for a two-for-one steak meal,” he said. “We had a choice to make: we would have to go cheap or hit the top end of the market and try to become a real destination place.”
Second place in the global ranking went to another British kitchen, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir in Oxfordshire.
Here are the top ten restaurants in the world, as per the TripAdvisor’s poll
1. The Black Swan, Oldstead, North Yorkshire, UK
2. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, UK
3. Maison Lameloise, Chagny, France
4. L’Auberge de l’Ill, Illhaeusern, France
5. Martin Berasategui, Lasarte, Spain
6. Daniel, New York City, United States
7. La Colombe, Constantia, South Africa
8. David’s Kitchen, Chiang Mai, Thailand
9. Maido, Lima, Peru
10. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain