MARLOW chef Tom Kerridge said he is proud to win Gastropub of the Year – despite being knocked off the top spot overall at this year’s National Restaurant Awards.

Tom and his wife Beth accepted the prestigious category award at this week’s glitzy ceremony at London’s Hurlingham Club.

But the couple’s double-Michelin Star winning restaurant the Hand and Flowers on West Street lost its title of best UK restaurant to London Indian eatery Gymkhana, finishing fourth.

But the multi-award winning chef said he is chuffed to pick up the gastropub gong for the third year running and paid tribute to his team for their hard work.

He said: "The whole team at The Hand and Flowers are incredibly proud to have picked up this great award voted for by industry peers.

“It’s nice that all of the hard work that everybody at the Hand and Flowers puts in is recognised, allocates like the National Restaurant’s Gastropub of the Year helps raise the profile for customers, but more importantly, is a huge boost for staff morale. We are all very proud!”

Now in their seventh year, the National Restaurant Awards are seen as the definitive prizes for the UK’s burgeoning restaurant industry and sees the largest gathering of top chefs and restaurateurs in Britain.

Gymkhana, in London’s Mayfair, toppled Tom and Beth’s Marlow operation from the top spot and became the first Indian restaurant to take the overall national crown.

The awards are decided by a panel of chefs, food critics, restaurateurs and industry experts.

As well as becoming the first pub to be awarded two Michelin stars, Tom topped the cookbook charts with his book Proper Pub Food, with an accompanying BBC series.

The husband and wife team recently revealed plans to open their second eatery, applying to overhaul the Coach and Horses pub on West Street and install a new kitchen and bar area.