Chef John McGinn was absolutely thrilled when he learned he had won the Peterborough Telegraph’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year award.... in fact you could say he was “smokin”.
John, who has owned and run the Dog in a Doublet pub and restaurant with rooms near Thorney with wife Della since 2011, is no stranger to awards. He already has the PT Pub of the Year 2015 and 2017 trophies behind the bar and a third place certificate from the 2018 Restaurant of the Year competition.
But he puts his latest success down to a great new team and changes in the restaurant – a smoker and an Oxgrill firepit which cooks over wood and charcoal –and a new name to reflect it, Smoke and Embers
“Everyone has worked really hard this year to get the food just right and the service levels right up there,” said a delighted John.
“It has been possible because we have such a good team and it is great that we have got this award for them.
“ I am well happy.”
He added: “We have changed what we do so much in the last few months, since we started smoking the meat and cheese, and it is not just a normal kitchen any more with the Oxgrill.
“The place is still and always will be the Dog In A Doublet, but it seemed a good time to change the name of the restaurant to Smoke and Embers.
“No matter how it is cooked though, it is still my sort of food with a twist.”
Lunchtime now sees street food offerings cooked on the firepit, breakfasts are proving popular, Sunday carvery continues to pull in the punters and midweek evenings are themed – all you can eat ribs and wings on Tuesday; pizza cooked on the Oxgrill then finished in the oven (the best in Peterborough, says John) and Thursday is the 16oz mixed grill night.
John and Della’s victory came after two rounds of voting with readers first whittling the list down to a top 10 and, ultimately, the top 3.
One man who might differ on John’s pizza claim is Peter Fierro, owner of The Pizza Parlour & Music Cafe in Cowgate, Peterborough city centre, which for the second year running was voted into the runners-up slot – not bad for a restaurant that is still to celebrate its third birthday.
Peter, who opened the venue famed for its wood fired oven pizzas and its live music offering in 2016, said: “We are extremely grateful to the readers of the Peterborough Telegraph for voting us their favourite city centre restaurant, and after just three years in business, the region’s favourite Italian eatery.”
Third place, and clearly a favourite with Peterborough Telegraph readers is Sonargaon Tandoori in Market Square, Whittlesey, the 2017 and 2018 winner of the competition, which is voted for by readers.
“It would have been great to win again, but it is also nice to be consistently recognised for our food by readers.” said owner Abul Kahar Babul.