Returning with an in-person ceremony for the first time in three years, and hosted by TV presenter Gabby Logan, the awards honoured the best hospitality establishments in the UK across twenty-six categories, including AA Restaurant of the Year, AA Hotel of the Year, the newly launched AA Accessible Award, AA Spa Hotel of the Year, AA Wine Award, AA Chefs’ Chef, AA Lifetime Achievement Award and AA Housekeeper of the Year.
While restaurants and hotels in Glasgow and Edinburgh won top awards, it was a Fife eatery that took home AA Restaurant of the Year.
The Cellar in Anstruther, which has had a Michelin Star for years, scooped the top award, beating off competition.
The AA Restaurant of the Year recognises restaurants that provide cuisine of a truly excellent standard, as well as demonstrating innovation and ambience and providing a high standard of hospitality.
Billy Boyter, Chef and Co-Owner of The Cellar Restaurant, said of the award: “I’m not the type of chef that is driven by accolades or awards.
"However, having The Cellar named as the AA’s Restaurant of The Year for Scotland is an incredibly humbling and special moment.
"Especially when you look at the standard of some of the restaurants we have in Scotland now. I know this means a lot to all of the team.
"I could see how proud they were once I shared the news with them. And I know this means a lot to my parents. They have put as much into this restaurant as anyone.
"If it wasn’t for them The Cellar wouldn’t have even been here. They really do deserve it as much as anyone.”
An AA Inspector said of The Cellar: “The fishing harbour of Anstruther is a fitting location for chef Billy Boyter’s restaurant housed in a 17th-century former smokehouse and cooperage just off the quayside.
"With beamed ceilings, stone walls and wood-burning stoves, the ambience is rustic and Boyter’s inventive modern Scottish cooking sticks faithfully to the seasons on the nine-course tasting menu at dinner (six at lunch).”
The Balmoral in Edinburgh was named AA Hotel of the Year, Scotland; The Bonnie Badger in Gullane won the AA Restaurant With Rooms Award, Scotland and UNALOME by Graeme Cheevers in Glasgow won the AA Wine Award, Scotland.
Fife restaurant Haar was also recognised at the awards, as it landed a coveted three AA Rosette rating.
The long-established AA Rosette scheme recognises successful cooking at different levels across the UK.
Success or failure in achieving Rosettes is based on one or more visits by an AA inspector to a hotel or restaurant.
Essentially, the visit is a snapshot, whereby the entire meal, including ancillary items (when served), is assessed.
Establishments with three AA Rosettes are all outstanding restaurants achieving standards which demand national recognition well beyond their local area, while those awarded four AA Rosettes are considered among the top restaurants in the country.