All you knead - the best bread

Bread at the Beach House, Oxwich

No longer a mere meal-time accessory, the staff of life is starting to be venerated as a course in its own right. To celebrate Real Bread Week (23 February - 3 March) here are a few of our favourites...

In Devon, Coombeshead’s sourdough is intense, dense and full of nutty, sweet-acidic flavour: best-in-class. Meanwhile Ballintaggart Farm’s ‘outstanding’ bread draws rave reviews alongside acclaim for its accompanying butter and Scottish rapeseed oil.

The Beach House celebrates its gorgeous location on Oxwich Bay by putting laverbread in the centre of its hot mini loaves, while Skye Gyngell’s deliciously nutty rye bread starts proceedings at Somerset House’s Spring restaurant.

Covent Garden’s Barbary teams its hot, blistered, chargrilled naan with zhug, harissa and pickled chilli, while the Tandoor Chop House serves a bone marrow butter-naan straight off the grill.

Flaky, buttery flatbread are the main draw at Roti King and are cooked to order in the open kitchen. Take them stuffed or as they come – just be prepared to queue.

And lest we forget where it all began, Mikael Jonsson continues to bake some of the country’s best sourdough at Hedone, his loaves the stuff of legend. Our inspectors consider his bread to be ‘truly special’.

You butter believe it

What is bread without it's best friend, butter? Just when you think you know what butter is, along comes a chef to reinvent it for you. Butter is having a moment in the UK’s restaurants, here are come of our inspectors’ favourites...

Butter with coarse salt and charred leek ash at Mayfair’s Kitty Fisher’s.

Whipped parsley-butter in a pool of chive oil at Liverpool’s Röski.

Funky, homemade wild ferment sour culture butter at Lake Road Kitchen, Cumbria.

Whipped, light-as-air brown butter at Magpie, Mayfair.

Lamb-fat butter (partnering seaweed sourdough) at Perilla, Newington Green.

Melted seafood butter at Peckham’s Kudu.

Guinness butter (with a mini Guinness loaf) at Restaurant Twenty-Two, Cambridge.

Caramalised butter at Wine & Brine, Moira.