Best Seafood Restaurant of The Year 2015

Two AA Rosette Gamba has been recognised as the best seafood restaurant in the UK  after scooping the Seafish, Seafood Restaurant of The Year 2015 title at a award ceremony at Michelin starred Benares Restaurant, in central London (Wednesday,  June 24 2015).

The inaugural Restaurant of the Year competition is designed to hunt out the industry’s best restaurants serving fish and shellfish and highlight best practice to a wider audience in association with The Caterer.

The only Scottish finalist, Gamba beat Outlaw's at the Capital in London, the Jetty in Christchurch, Rocksalt in Folkestone and Hix Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis,  after a top judging panel of a variety of renowned chefs and managing directors from across the industry, including John Campbell, chef and managing director at the Woodspeen in Newbury and Benares Restaurant and Bars’ managing director, Atul Kochar, championed the Glasgow restaurant.

Commendation was given for their dedication to working closely with local suppliers and community initiatives, their seafood sourcing policy and their commitment to introducing a variety of seafood species of fish and shellfish on their seasonal menus.

Derek says: “For the last twenty-five years I’ve been spellbound by the fantastic fish Scotland catches, farms and produces. At Gamba we’ve been championing sustainability and seasonality for a number of years and this award is an incredible endorsement for the work we do and a great motivator for the continued passion and service from all our staff.

“Introducing seafood varieties is something we’re passionate about; sometimes it can difficult as customers opt for their favourite dishes but we try to educate and shape choices through complimentary tasters, amuse bouche and market specials to utilise the variety of seafood species in our waters. All the finalists are very deserving and it’s a great honour and privilege to be recognised as the best seafood restaurant in the UK. Not only is this wonderful achievement for the full team at Gamba, but for the fantastic Scottish seafood industry and all its champions, suppliers and producers. I hope this award encourages other restaurateurs and chefs to continue to develop their seafood and shellfish offering.”

Alongside a bespoke trophy, Gamba will receive a seafood masterclass course at Billingsgate Seafood Training School, and a £200 Russums voucher.

All five shortlisted restaurants won an all-expenses-paid study trip to Brixham, Devon, which will take place later this year, courtesy of Seafish UK, to further hone their knowledge regarding the catching, processing, supply and transfer of seafood from the south west of England to other parts of the UK, and to meet a range of key industry players and experience some of the world’s freshest and tastiest seafood.

The finalists, selected for their expert use and knowledge of fish and shellfish, were chosen from a longer list of 10 selected restaurants visited by a mystery shopper, a Seafish-appointed auditor, last month.

The original paper judging and a roundtable discussion, which saw 10 shortlisted restaurants reduced to a top five and an overall winner, were judged by a panel comprising John Campbell, chef and managing director at the Woodspeen in Newbury; Atul Kochhar, chef and managing director of Benares restaurant & bar, London; consultant chef Alfred Prasad (previously with Tamarind Collection and Zaika, London); André Garrett, executive head chef at Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire; Will Smith, co-proprietor, Arbutus Restaurants, London; Xavier Rousset, wine consultant and co-founder of Texture and 28°-50°, London; and AA group area manager Giovanna Grossi.

The judges commented: “All of the finalists make you proud of the work going on in UK restaurants educating staff and customers alike about the merits of serving and eating fish and shellfish.

“Gamba submitted a brilliant entry, which was backed up by the mystery shopping exercise. All the menus make you want to go and eat there and they shout provenance and sustainability, and this is supported by the restaurant’s three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. It’s obvious that the team at Gamba work hard, day in, day out to deliver great-tasting food and they are clearly passionate about what they do.”

The Restaurant of the Year 2015 was created in 1988 to find restaurants demonstrating both excellent examples of the cooking and serving of fish and shellfish, as well as evidence of fish and shellfish knowledge among its staff, both front and back of house. The awards have gone from strength to strength as more businesses develop fish and shellfish dishes on their menus.

Seafish CEO Paul Williams said: “Celebrating the people and businesses that are the public face of our industry and who do such an amazing job in promoting the great wealth and variety of fish and shellfish available to the UK consumer is extremely important.

“That is why Seafish is honoured to be part of these awards, crowning Gamba as the 2015 Restaurant of the Year, and demonstrating the importance of the responsible sourcing of the freshest, sustainable produce which, thanks to the skill and expertise of chefs like Derek Marshall and his kitchen and restaurant teams, goes into creating inspiring cuisine for everyone to enjoy.

Seafish, the authority on seafood in the UK, is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) set up to improve efficiency and raise standards across the seafood industry.  Funded by a levy on the first sale of seafood products in the UK, including imported seafood, the organisation has a mission to secure a profitable and sustainable future for the UK seafood industry.