Cambridge restaurants served with top awards
Two very different Cambridge eateries won big at the fourth annual British Restaurant Awards 2022.
North African restaurant Bedouin, on Mill Road, won Best Restaurant in Cambridge, while Station Road-based Stem & Glory took home the award for Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurant in the ceremony which was held at the Porchester Hall in London on Monday, September 12.
Louise Palmer-Masterton, owner of Stem & Glory, and a columnist for the Cambridge Independent, said: “It’s a huge honour to have been selected from a fantastic list of the best of the best vegan restaurants from all over the UK. This is a new award and also highlights the growth and strength of the vegan movement in the UK.”
Djamel Rerizani, managing director of Bedouin, which opened in 2011, said that it was “amazing” when he learned at the ceremony that the restaurant – owned by Djamel and his four brothers – had won.
He added: “If you asked me from the start whether we were going to win or not, I wasn’t sure, but as we were there I had a bit of a feeling that it might be us, and they said our name and it was nice.”
What does Bedouin offer that has seen it recognised in this way? “I think first of all the quality of the food,” said Djamel, crediting his brother Samir, who was living in Spain for 15 years and returned to the UK after the first lockdown, for having had a “big impact” on the restaurant’s recent success.
“There’s a really chilled atmosphere – it’s in a real Bedouin tent. It all kind of adds to the atmosphere: the dim lighting, the candles, the camels everywhere, the wall rugs... The food is good, they’re decent-sized portions, and there’s the service as well. I’m obviously going to be biased but I think our service is really good, in terms of speed and quality.”
Djamel, who explained that after reopening after the first lockdown the restaurant introduced a range of non-alcoholic cocktails made by the London Cocktail Club, concluded: “It was just a massive achievement for the whole team. It hasn’t just come overnight, we do work really hard, and it’s amazing to get recognised.”
This year, more than one million members of the British public voted for what is the biggest award in the food and drink calendar representing restaurants nationwide. The evening was themed in memory of Queen Elizabeth II, with a special award renamed in her honour (the Queen Elizabeth Lifetime Achievement Award went to Michelin star chef Jean Christophe Novelli MBE).
Attendees wore black in respect of Her Majesty and the ceremony began with a two-minute silence.