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Foodies urged to ignore Michael Winner by joining food festival in Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 11:00 07 September 2014

Philip Matthews, owner of The Hampstead Butcher. Picture: Thomas Alexander

Philip Matthews, owner of The Hampstead Butcher. Picture: Thomas Alexander

Copyright: Thomas Alexander

Famous foodie Michael Winner once trashed them all – but with a new festival, Hampstead’s defiant restaurants are aiming to shake off any lingering doubts and prove they cut the mustard.

Undated ITV handout photo of Michael Winner. Photo credit should read: Tony Ward/ITV/PA WireUndated ITV handout photo of Michael Winner. Photo credit should read: Tony Ward/ITV/PA Wire

More than 20 restaurants, cafes, gastro pubs and food shops in Hampstead Village are set to serve up a mouth-watering selection of culinary events and discount deals as part of the first-ever Hampstead Restaurant Week.

The venture, organised by the Hampstead NW3 Business Association, is seeking to boost the profile of the area’s eateries and place NW3 firmly on the foodie map.

It comes two years after the late Hampstead-born director and food critic Mr Winner sparked anger among NW3’s restaurateurs when he told the Ham&High that the area had “never had any good restaurants”.

“I don’t know of any good restaurants in Hampstead and I don’t know anybody else who knows one – there aren’t any,” he added during an interview in 2012.

Anyone who took his comments to heart has now been invited to come along and make up their own mind by co-organiser of restaurant week Philip Matthews, owner of The Hampstead Butcher & Providore.

“There seemed to be an appetite for such an event,” he said. “There is such a strong and diverse food offering in Hampstead.

“We have a really good international mix of restaurants, some of the best gastro pubs in north London and some great food shops.

“Whilst we might not have satisfied Michael Winner, I think he’s wrong because you can get great value and great experiences in Hampstead – but we’ll let the public decide.”

The week-long event runs from Monday, September 15 to Sunday, September 21 and highlights 
include wine tastings, cookery classes, jazz nights and special menus.

The businesses are also hoping to raise £10,000 for the festival’s chosen charity, Kids Company, and its Kilburn-based centre, The Treehouse Project, which helps vulnerable children.

The charity’s founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, said: “We are grateful for the partnership with the locals around Hampstead Restaurant Week and look forward to attending.”

n Visit hampsteadrestaurantweek.com for more information on all the events and offers.

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