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Putting the finishing touches on at Cornerstone / Image: CORNERSTONE SEPT 2020 @lateef

The impossibly abstract themes. The bleeped expletives. And, of course, those mind-bending, edible works of art… No show gets our mouths watering quite like Great British Menu, where the nation’s best chefs go toe-to-toe for the chance to cook a classy banquet for Britain’s top brass. But you don’t need to be a dignitary or a judge to try their delicious grub – get yourself down to one of these spots, where GBM contestants helm the kitchen and wow diners with their off-camera creations.  

Cail Bruich, Glasgow

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We're not crabby about Cail Bruich's delicious food / Image: Clair Irwin

Series 14 had some stiff competition, but Scottish dab-hand Lorna McNee blew her rivals out of the water with a sunny, citrussy dessert that bagged her the title. Now the chef – who trained under Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Scotland’s only two-Michelin-star restaurant – is making big moves in Glasgow. She took over as head chef at French-ish West End institution Cail Bruich in September, and has been dazzling punters with her thoughtfully crafted nine-course tasting menu ever since. A night at Cail Bruich doesn’t come cheap, but the £90 splurge is more than justified by beautiful dishes like just-fished crab sprinkled with luxe caviar or fresh hand-rolled pasta dish in a gluggable Madeira sauce.  

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Fenchurch, London

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Dine with a 360 view of London's skyline at Fenchurch

Sitting pretty on top of the flat-topped Walkie Talkie building, the glass-walled Fenchurch overlooks both the jungly, 43rd-floor Sky Garden and twinkling London below – the perfect perch, then, from which to sample chef Michael Carr’s exalted food. The series 14 finalist took over the kitchen this summer after a stint at the Michelin-starred Box Tree in Yorkshire, and he’s put his own masterful stamp on the menu with outrageously flavourful dishes that spotlight seasonal British produce. The monkfish doused in seaweed butter is an umami bombshell, while the Scottish scallop and bacon jam starter comes dolloped with a green purée that somehow tastes more courgette-like than fresh veg. In other words: it’s a tasty spot.

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Deanes EIPIC, Belfast

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Venison plated to perfection / Image: Martin Irvine photography

Series 13 champ Alex Greene has been heading up the kitchen at this Michelin-starred Belfast restaurant for a few years now after training under original boss Michael Deane. Since Greene has taken the reins, he’s kept up the resto’s starry standards while injecting a bit of his own folksy cooking style into the menu. The Northern Irish chef is inspired by memories of his childhood farm, where his granny would rustle up amazing meals using the produce they grew. Now, he tries to emulate that hyper-local approach at Deanes by sourcing 90% of ingredients from local suppliers. The result is always outstanding – think melt-in-your-mouth Venison with carrot, boulangère potatoes and sorrel.

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Number 10, Jersey

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Try the scallops if they're on the menu / Image: Number 10

Two-year GBM vet Joe Baker keeps it in the family at his restaurant in St. Helier, which he runs with his mum, dad and sister. Good taste must be hereditary, because since opening in 2016, Number 10 has established itself as the star of tiny Jersey’s impressive food scene. It’s a warm place, with a bijou dining room that’s awash with soothing blues and flickering candle light. On the menu, you’ll find creative dishes made with produce from the island – like the monkfish and salt-baked celeriac dish drenched gloriously in roast-chicken flavoured butter, or fresh hand-dived scallops plucked from the Jersey coast. 

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Little Chartroom, Edinburgh

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Beef two ways: braised beef brisket and flat iron steak / Image: Amelia Claudia

This snug (just 18 covers total) restaurant in recently-revived Leith is a labour of love, helmed by married couple Shaun McCarron and series 13 alum Roberta Hall. You can feel the care and attention McCarron and Hall lavish on their food-baby as soon as you walk through its steel-blue door, as the first thing you’ll spot is speechless diners slowly chewing their food, savouring every morsel of Hall’s glorious cooking. Little Chartroom opened without fanfare in 2018, and word quickly spread of its expertly-honed menu that’s known to induce out-of-body experiences. Deceptively simple dishes – braised beef brisket and flat iron steak with barbecue sauce, salsify and wild garlic – are elevated by Hall’s skillful hand, and the three-course option with a bottle of wine is a steal at £65.

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Cornerstone, Hackney

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The crumpet is the star dish here / Image: CORNERSTONE SEPT 2020 @lateef

This seafood-focused restaurant has been drawing foodies from every London postcode to the far reaches of Hackney Wick since it came onto the scene in 2018. It must have something to do with Tom Brown – the two-time GBM finalist and Cornerstone boss is magnetic, with tattoo-scribbled arms, a rakish smile, and a cult following of in-the-know diners who are mad for his fishy dishes. Brown knows how to play the classics: Cornerstone’s tidy menu lists just 15 dishes at a time, each one obsessively tweaked and twitched by the man himself. Go for mind-blowingly tasty grub like the insanely buttery crab crumpet piled-on with celeriac and brown butter, or the Baron Bigod (a brie-like cheese), carrot, and walnut cake.

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