The number of Scottish restaurants with a Michelin star has fallen to a new low, sparking frustration and disappointment among the country’s top chefs.

Three deletions in the influential Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2019 mean just eight restaurants across the country have retained their single star, which is awarded for “high quality cooking, worth a stop”.

Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles retains its two-star gong, awarded for “excellent cooking, worth a detour”, for the 12th year running.

By contrast, the Michelin Guide awarded a record 21 new stars for restaurants in England and Ireland.

With no new Michelin stars awarded to restaurants north of the Border, leading chefs have counselled their younger counterparts to “hang in there”.

Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond, The Albannach in Lochinver and Boath House near Nairn all lost their stars – the former because of a devastating fire at Cameron House last year and the others because they have changed their business models.

New Bib Gourmands, awarded for “good quality, good value cooking”, went to Sugar Boat in Helensburgh and Monadh Kitchin in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire. But The Gannet in Glasgow lost its Bib.

Speaking to The Herald after the Star Revelation event at London’s BFI Imax cinema yesterday, chef Andrew Fairlie said: “This is very disappointing for Scotland’s young chefs.

“The surprise for me is there aren’t new stars for more restaurants in Scotland because so many merit one – such as The Gannet and Cail Bruich in Glasgow, Inver at Strachur and the Three Chimneys on Skye.

“When you look at those restaurants elsewhere that did get a first star this year, you see they have waited quite a long time for it. So I’d say that if not this year, then definitely in the next couple of years Scotland will do really, really well.”

Tom Kitchin, of the Michelin-starred The Kitchin in Leith, whose sister restaurant again failed to regain the star it lost in the 2016 Guide, said: “It’s frustrating because I really thought there was going to be some movement this year. I believed Castle Terrace was worthy of getting its star back, and that Inver and The Gannet would get something. It’s a case of just keep going I suppose. I’m sure that soon enough Scotland will have one of those really great years.”

That was echoed by Michael Smith, chef-patron of Loch Bay on Skye, now the most northerly restaurant to hold a Michelin star.

He said: “I thought Inver and a couple of other restaurants might be on the inspectors’ radar this year. But I don’t think the lack of new stars means there’s any prejudice or political agenda. I think it’s a matter of time. Chefs need to stick to their guns and keep cooking from the heart and the stars will come.”

Gwendel Poullennec, international director of The Michelin Guide, said that, as the world of cooking is now dominated by online customer reviews and opinions, the view of its professional inspectors has never been so relevant. “Customers need a reference they can trust and to book a table safe in the knowledge they will get the very best quality of food and service.This is exactly what the Michelin Guide offers and will continue to offer.

“Gastronomy is a key resource in destinations all over the world. It makes a place more atrractive to visitors, so chefs are ambassadors of their countries.”