One of the most popular fine dining restaurants in the West Midlands has lost its coveted Michelin star in the latest edition of the UK’s Michelin Guide.

La Becasse, in Ludlow, Shropshire, run by chef Will Holland, lost the single star it was awarded four years ago.

Malbec Petit Bistro, in Stratford-upon-Avon, also lost out, being stripped of its Bib Gourmands award, given to establishments offering good cooking but at moderate prices.

Meanwhile, three restaurants in Birmingham managed to hold on to their one-star Michelin ratings in the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2012 – Purnell’s, in Cornwall Street; Simpsons, in Edgbaston; and Turners in Harborne.

Other West Midlands restaurants to keep their one-star rating were The Stagg Inn, in Herefordshire; Mallory Court in Leamington Spa and Mr Underhill’s at Dinham Weir, in Ludlow.

Birmingham hopefuls Edmunds, in Brindleyplace, and Lasan, in St Paul’s Square, both of which had been tipped as favourites to gain a Michelin award, missed out.

The Butchers Arms, at Eldersfield, on the Worcestershire border near Gloucester, made its debut in the guide with a one star rating.

Editor Rebecca Burr said the latest guide had been well researched.

“The guide is much more than a listing or directory of restaurants,” she said. “It is a professional rating of quality restaurants based on a unique, time-tested methodology that ensures that a Michelin star stands for the highest quality.

“We employ full-time, professional inspectors who anonymously visit restaurants and evaluate them on a range of criteria.

“Our evaluation process has been honed over time to identify consistently high-quality establishments to suit a range of budgets and across a range of styles and cuisines.

“All evaluations involve anonymous test meals at each establishment to assess the quality and the reliability of the experience.

“If our inspectors are impressed by a restaurant, they visit the establishment again and again.

“It is this sort of obsessive research that makes the Michelin Guide such a reliable source of recommendations.”

The guide, which costs £14.99 and will be hitting the shelves of bookshops on Fridayhas been published early this year. 

Traditionally it is released in late January, but the guide went to press three months earlier than usual – a move criticised by some restaurants which have said their establishments opened too late to be in with a chance of clinching a star.

A spokesman for the company said the decision was made by Michelin’s head office in France to bring the UK edition in line with the other European guides.

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What are the criteria for receiving Michelin stars?
• The inspectors judge only what’s on the plate, meaning the quality of products, the mastering of flavours and cooking, personality of the cuisine, value for the money and the consistency of what the restaurant offers to its customers both throughout the menu and the year;
• One star indicates a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard;
• Two stars denote excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes, with specialities and wines of first-class quality;
• Three stars reward exceptional cuisine where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients. The wine list features generally outstanding vintages and the surroundings and service are part of this unique experience, which is priced accordingly;
• In addition, the guide provides a comfort rating represented by the use of one to five forks and spoons for restaurants. These symbols take into consideration the decor, service, cleanliness and upkeep of the surroundings.

 > Full list of restaurants in the 2012 guide (pdf)