Higher Ground named amongst UK’s best restaurants just months after opening

"The future is very exciting indeed!"

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 13th June 2023

A Manchester restaurant has been named amongst the best in the UK just a few months after opening its doors.

Higher Ground restaurant, which comes from the same team behind Ancoats wine bar Flawd, was ranked in the UK’s top 100 restaurants at last night’s prestigious National Restaurant Awards.

The swanky eatery headed up by chef Joseph Otway was listed as number 51 out of 100 restaurants at the annual event, which is sponsored by Estrella Damm.

Judges praised its “impeccable sourcing and creative cooking”, describing the new restaurant as a “modern and thoughtful Manchester bistro.”

Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant Mana, meanwhile, ranked twenty points below at number 71 this year – moving up seven points from its 2022 placement.

Inside Higher Ground. / Image: The Manc Eats
Jane’s Farm pig shoulder ragu, Cinderwood Market Garden mustards, Marfana potatoes with smoked butter at Higher Ground. / Image: The Manc Eats

Other local eateries to be featured in this year’s list include popular pub The Parkers Arms in nearby Lancashire, which was awarded Gastropub of the Year and ranked at number 12 out of 100 in this year’s list.

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Higher Ground was first launched as a four-week pop-up back in February 2020, but closed when Covid struck and the country went into lockdown.

This February, the bistro made its return after securing a new permanent home in Chinatown’s Faulkner House.

The brainchild of chef Joseph Otway, front of house pro Richard Cossins and wine expert Daniel Craig Martin, dishes here change on a daily basis depending on the season and showcase organic produce grown on the team’s Cinderwood Market Garden in neighbouring Cheshire.

Mackerel, salted gooseberry, and elderflower at Higher Ground. / Image: The Manc Eats
Coal-smoked onions, Cumbrian goats curd, yeast Fosters Mill wholewheat rolls and Lancashire butter at Higher Ground. / Image: The Manc Eats

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Its wine list centers around small-scale, low intervention winemakers from around the European continent, whilst dishes put a focus on small-scale agriculture and small herd, whole carcass cookery.

With either a tasting menu or a la carte option to choose from, seating options span traditional dining tables and stools overlooking the open kitchen and charcoal oven.

Locally, Higher Ground is becoming famous for its ever changing daily pasta dish; hand rolled in the open kitchen every service, the super-value Chef’s Choice menu where the decision is in the hands of Joseph and his team, for just £35 at lunch and £45 at dinner.

Speaking on the win, the Higher Ground team said: “What a night. Incredibly proud of the Team who we are lucky enough to work with.


“Congratulations to all of the other teams involved last night – the future is very exciting indeed!”

The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards is Restaurant by BigHospitality’s annual countdown of the top 100 restaurants in the UK.

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More than 200 industry experts have voted for their best restaurant experiences over the past 18 months across the British Isles, taking into consideration not only the food, but the staff, atmosphere, music, design and price.

The academy of voters is made up of chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and critics and other food experts and gastronomes. 

Featured image – The Manc Eats