Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Restaurant Review - Wolvercote Supper Club

Location: Wolvercote, Oxford OX2, UK

I had heard of supper clubs - the concept of dining, restaurant style, in someone's home - but was yet to try one for myself and had been intrigued for a little while; the clandestine feel, the exclusivity, the risk of sitting with total strangers (could they be fun and hedonistic or simply a total bore?), there was something, well, seductive about them. When I heard of a supper club starting up a mere 5 miles from my door, there was no way I could resist; so one ticket purchased for me and one for MrF, I was looking forward to popping my supper club cherry at their very first event.

Based in, errr, Wolvercote, the Wolvercote Supper Club is a new venture by the lovely Caroline Sweetman, running monthly from the comfort of her own home. Menus are posted on Caroline's website in advance of each event and tickets are purchased via the same site, with the address emailed to you upon booking. Incredibly, Caroline charges a mere £22.50 (plus a £2.25 booking fee) per person for a fabulous five course feast... I know, amazing right?!

The menu for the first event read as follows:
~ Kir Royales served with home-made Harissa and Lemon Peel Marinated Olives and Spicy popcorn
~ Tomato Tarts with Anchoiade and Salad Leaves
~ Campari and Grapefruit Granita
~ Lamb and Quince Tagine with Smoked Aubergine Puree and Pumpkin Pilau Rice
~ Cheeses and Homemade Oatcakes with Onion Seeds
~ Chocolate, Hazelnut and Sherry Cake with Sherry and Raisin Syllabub Cream
You may be as gob-smacked as I was about the price, but there is one key thing to bear in mind - and careful not to spit your drink out here - Caroline runs the supper clubs for enjoyment alone and not for profit. Satisfied with her job at local Oxfam headquarters, but with a penchant for hosting guests in her own home and armed with a large dose of bravery, Caroline is remarkably doing the venture for pure unadulterated fun.


You may also note, from the menu above, a nod to the Middle East and Africa in Caroline's food; this is something you can expect from Wolvercote Supper Clubs, as Caroline has a real love for this food and the colours, flavours and fragrances it provides.


Now, usually known to arrive fashionably late, I got my times muddled up (baby brain strikes again) and managed to arrive rather unfashionably early... however this did mean I got chance to catch Caroline out! The warm, calm and composed manor with which Caroline greeted our early arrival tipped me off that this was no mediocre hostess.

Kir Royale in the lounge anyone?

Welcomed into the stylish and homely lounge with a pretty glass of Kir Royale, we got nibbling on bowls of spicy popcorn, vegetable crisps and the most wonderful marinated olives, enveloped in a mixture of of homemade harissa and lemon peel - amazeballs as some may say.

As the other guests gradually arrived, Caroline's hostess skills continued to shine, gliding between lounge and kitchen, introducing each of the guests to the group and remembering names with an impeccable success rate - an impressive feat alone! This was the point where things started to feel a little Come Dine With Me, though we did manage to refrain from rifling through Caroline's drawers.


As the lounge began to fill with a mixture of local foodies, Caroline's friends and colleagues, it became apparent that there wasn't a single person attending that I would be disappointed to sit next to; I see now that only those of an open-minded, outgoing nature may be inclined to attend such an event, so for the most part, it's a bunch of fairly like-minded people getting together over fabulous food in a warm and inviting environment.

The table was beautifully set, with vintage tablecloth and cutlery, etched glassware, bejewelled with pretty little candles. Our meal began with delicious little puff pastry tomato tarts, topped with Anchoiade (think anchovy tapenade) and Salad Leaves - fantastic as a starter: just the right size, light, tasty and fresh.

Tomato Tarts with Anchoiade and Salad Leaves

Our second course was a palate cleansing Campari and Grapefruit Granita (a Pomegranate version was also provided for a non Grapefruit eater), served in little glass dishes with the daintiest little silver teaspoons. Pretty as a picture, the granita was sweet and refreshing, with just the right amount of sharpness from the fruit.

Campari and Grapefruit Granita

With conversation and wine both flowing (I should say at this point that wine is purely BYO), we moved on to a main course of Lamb and Quince Tagine, served up with a Smoked Aubergine Puree and Pumpkin Pilau Rice - the picture below does no justice to the fragrant, fruity, exotic feast. Caroline was beating herself up at this point for overcooking the rice, but everyone agreed it tasted perfectly delicious. The Lamb in the tagine was meltingly soft, with the quince providing a beautiful sweetness - perfect early autumnal food and just the kind of thing I'd happily cuddle up with on my sofa on a cold rainy evening. The aubergine puree, scattered with pomegranate seeds, was a smooth and enjoyable addition to the dish, though possibly not something I would actively seek out; bursts of beautiful pomegranate however are always a welcome addition in my book.

Lamb and Quince Tagine with Smoked Aubergine Puree and Pumpkin Pilau Rice

Knowing there were another two courses to go and with my belly quickly filling, I decided to leave room to continue - absolutely no reflection on my enjoyment levels though. Next up was a cheese course, comprising of cheeses sourced from The Cheese Shop in Oxford's Covered Market, offered up with grapes, plus some stunning onion seed oatcakes which Caroline had made herself - a simple yet effective selection, made special by a wonderful personal touch.

Dessert was a big, boozy finale of a pudding... Chocolate, Hazelnut and Sherry Cake with Sherry and Raisin Syllabub Cream. Sherry not being my choice of drink (give me port any day), the generous helping was somewhat lost on me, but you couldn't help but be impressed with Caroline's baking skills and do-or-die measure of sherry; after all, if you're going to describe a dish as containing booze you bloody well want to taste it!

Cheeses and Home-made Oatcakes with Onion Seeds

Chocolate, Hazelnut and Sherry Cake with Sherry and Raisin Syllabub Cream

Credit where credit is due, Caroline was a truly phenomenal hostess; throughout the entire evening she didn't seem to break a sweat, while serving up an impressive line up of well prepared and delicious dishes. There was no mess in the kitchen, everything was homemade, tasty and nothing like the food I make at home; this is exactly what I want from a dining experience, and more - for Wolvercote Supper Club also serves up the opportunity to meet friendly and fascinating people, possibly even the chance to make new friends.

If you're a little nervous at the prospect of dining with a group of total strangers, then I urge you to give it a try - it's unlikely you'll end up mixing with a bunch of weirdos (although I cannot guarantee...) and more than likely you will have a wonderful time. With tickets going fast, you'll have to book soon if you'd like to attend one of Caroline's upcoming events, I'll certainly be attending again.

Overall score: 9/10 - FOT Top Pick


There are still places left at Caroline's upcoming supper clubs on 2nd November and 7th December, click here for details and to book your place at the table!



Wolvercote Supper Club
Wolvercote
Oxford
OX2
Twitter: @WolSupClub
Facebook: @WolvercoteSupperClub
Website: www.wolvercotesupperclub.com

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Restaurant Review - The Flowing Well, by Phil B

Location: Sunningwell, Oxfordshire OX13 6RB, UK
 FoodieOnTour Guest Restaurant Review

My name is Phil and I can usually be found talking about all things coffee over at my own blog, coffeisseur. I am here at the invitation of Jacqui, writing a guest blog post while she does whatever it is mums do when they have a newborn on their hands. All I know is that it involves a lot of noise, mess and not much sleep - which probably explains why I have no children…

I didn’t have to think for too long when pondering where I should visit for my review, opting for The Flowing Well, a fabulous little place located only 5 miles from the centre of Oxford in the picturesque village of Sunningwell. Refurbished just under two years ago, the pub/restaurant has become a popular location for Oxfordshire diners and a hub for the local community and the surrounding villages.

Visiting early evening on a random Thursday evening we were warmly welcomed and given the choice of the tables not already reserved for the diners coming along later in the evening. Taking a table by the window we were handed menus and offered drinks, which arrived soon after.

The menu at The Flowing Well covers all the bases in a concise manner while managing to slip in a few surprises that manage to stand it apart from your usual pub fare. I went for the starter of Garlic, Chilli and Coriander Prawns with a lemon dressing while my OH sat it out to leave room for her pudding later. My starter arrived at the table soon after and it was delicious; well presented on the plate with fresh flavours, a nice dressing on the salad and the chilli providing background heat without being overpowering.

Oxfordshire Restaurant Review
Garlic, Chilli and Coriander Prawns with a Lemon Dressing

For the main event it was a simple choice for me as I opted for the Spiced BBQ Baby Back Ribs served with coleslaw and french fries while my OH went for the Quesadilla with Char-Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables. All too often the only veggie option available seems to be an after-thought to the menu and comes in the form of a predictable goats cheese tart so was good to see something a little different on the menu. The waiter helpfully suggested I include a portion of onion rings to go with the ribs which seemed like a fine idea! I think it is a good thing that suggestions are made when ordering, not in the ‘do you want fries with that?’ manner but when they really add to the meal or if a side is necessary then I am all for it.

Oxfordshire Restaurant Review
Spiced BBQ Baby Back Ribs served with Coleslaw and French Fries

Before long the food was presented before us and mine looked mouth-wateringly good, a big rack of ribs slathered in BBQ sauce together with a healthy portion of fries and inviting mound of coleslaw. I must confess that I have always been put off trying ribs when I see them on a menu, thinking they would be a bit of a faff to eat or that I would end up in a mess. As it turned out I couldn't have been further from the truth as these ribs were an absolute pleasure to eat, the meat literally fell off the bone. No scraping or gnawing of bones needed at all as they lifted clean away leaving the perfectly cooked meat ready to pop in your mouth. The BBQ sauce was tangy, smoky and unctuous (I have always wanted to use that word, coffee doesn't tend to be unctuous and you have to include it in a food review right?).

Oxfordshire Restaurant Review
Quesadilla with Char-Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables

The verdict on the Quesadilla wasn't quite as glowing as my ribs, my OH found that the ‘chive sour cream and mango salsa’ lacking and appeared to just be chunks of mango. She also reported that the vegetables didn't seem to be evenly spread between the parcels, with a couple of them seemingly just cheese filled tortillas. They were still tasty, just not what was expected and unlikely to be chosen again on a return visit.

I was suitably stuffed after a starter, followed by a main of such epic proportions but had to check out the pudding menu regardless... purely for review purposes you understand. I was intrigued by the Don Pedro that came in a variety of flavours and after a discussion with the waiter I was informed they were like a kind of naughty, alcoholic milkshake. While the thought of a bread and butter pudding had my eyes watering the prospect of a milkshake seemed a lot more manageable so I went with the Frangelico option.

Oxfordshire Restaurant Review
Apple & Pear Crumble

My OH had more room so went for the Apple & Pear Crumble which came served with cream. I must explain that she is a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to food so was somewhat dismayed when she was presented with her pudding; which had a roughly broken cakey/pastry style topping, rather like crazy paving rather than a good old crumble topping. Though the topping was a bit of a disappointment, the apple and pear mix underneath was well cooked with a good bite and flavour.

Oxfordshire Restaurant Review
Don Pedro Frangelico

My Don Pedro was very good indeed, served in a large wine glass with a straw it was the perfect mix of cream, alcohol and hazelnut without any of the flavours taking over and dominating. It makes for a great finish to a meal when you don’t quite have enough room for a pudding but want something other than the usual, predictable sorbet.

So, all good so far. The waiter was friendly, attentive and knew his stuff. The setting was lovely with a great atmosphere provided by the open kitchen and background chatter of the other visitors. The food was, for the most part, well cooked, delicious and served at the right intervals.

The sting in the tail came when we received the bill and it had a 12.5% discretionary service charge added on top. I know this practice is becoming commonplace in London and I saw the same thing on a visit to Bill’s in Oxford recently but I put that down to it being a faceless chain. In this instance I didn't say anything and paid the full amount of the bill as I felt the level of service and quality of the food deserved it but I think it sends out the wrong message and I am sure a lot of people feel uncomfortable in asking for it to be removed. A tip should be your choice, a way of showing your appreciation rather than having it forced upon you.

The sad thing is that we left discussing the service charge, rather than the quality of the food and that is a real shame. What do you think about tips and service charges?

Overall score: 7.5/10

The Flowing Well
Sunningwell
Nr Abingdon
Oxfordshire
OX13 6RB
Twitter: @theflowingwell
Facebook: @TheFlowingWellOX13
Website: www.theflowingwell.co.uk
Phone: 01865 735 846



A HUGE thanks to Phil for stepping in for me with such a fantastic guest review... it's got me hankering for ribs! 
Please do check out Phil's own blog, coffeisseur, you can also follow Phil on Facebook and on Twitter.

FoodieOnTour x

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Restaurant Review - Door 74 (Follow up)

Location: 74 Cowley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 1JB, UK
Oxford Restaurant Reviews, FoodieOnTour

With a few days together as a newly extended family, MrF and I took the kids out for a wander down Cowley Road, intending to check out Quarter Horse Coffee; I'd been told their coffee is the stuff of legend and some of the best available in our good city.

Unfortunately, upon arrival, it turned out there was no room at the inn, so with no space for a massive buggy and two adults - what now? A blackboard outside Door 74 advertising brunch gave us the answer!

Having taken over an entire corner of the restaurant, with buggy, kids, high chair, you name it, we hungrily eyed the menu... Full English (veggie option available); Bubble & Squeak; Eggs Benedict; Corned Beef Hash - these few alone are enough to have me coming back to try more!

While still choosing, the waiter asked us if MiniF1 might like a fruit berry smoothie (£3.25) - yes please, I answered hastily on his behalf. Smoothie delivered (very tasty is was too) and MiniF happily slurping, we got to ordering - after months of having to avoid poached eggs, what else could I chose?! Eggs Benedict (£7.35) for me and Bubble & Squeak (£5.95) for MrF, done!

Oxford Restaurant Reviews
Bubble & Squeak with Poached Egg

Now, here where I need to excuse the slightly blurry photo; but, well, it's pretty difficult to get bubble & squeak to look pretty anyway, so I'm not sure much has been lost in translation. MrF gleefully (as gleeful as he gets anyway) broke open the perfectly cooked egg, which proceeded to ooze lovely runny yolk over the dish. Yet again, MrF finished his dish before I got to try it, so I can only tell you he was very satisfied and that the plate was thoroughly clean by the end.

Note to self - insist on a bite BEFORE he finishes his food!

Oxford Restaurant Review
Eggs Benedict

To be fair though, I was pretty well distracted by the gorgeous plate of food laid before me... toasted muffins dressed with pretty pink parma ham, spinach and salad leaves, all topped of with pert poached eggs and draped with hollandaise. Now, I would say this is more of an Eggs Benedict/Florentine mash up, with the inclusion of the spinach, but it was AMAZING. The little swirl of balsamic glaze on the plate added a delicious sweetness to the meal, with beautifully cooked eggs, everything perfectly proportioned, this was heaven on a plate. Cue jealous looks from MrF... I even, rather generously, allowed him a bite (how good am I?!).

So there we have it, Door 74 do an awesome brunch. Oh, and the coffee was pretty good too!

Overall score: 8.5/10

You can also read my review of dinner at Door 74 here

Door 74
74 Cowley Road
Oxford
OX4 1JB
Twitter: @door74oxford
Facebook: @Door-74
Website: www.door74.co.uk
Phone: 01865 203374


Door 74 on Urbanspoon

Friday, 11 October 2013

Beef Dreams

Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK
The latest edition of my food column in Vale Life Magazine is now available to view online. For those who haven't seen it yet, here it is in full.

food writing, columnist
September / October column in Vale Life

As I write this I am on the verge of a major breakthrough, a breakthrough back into the world of proper food; and by proper food, I mean everything I've been forbidden during pregnancy.

While the advice changes from generation to generation, and from country to country, the NHS these days say no raw or undercooked eggs (goodbye pert poached perfection), no undercooked or raw meat (bye-bye Beef Wellington), no unprocessed cheese (au revoir Camembert), plus zero liver and pate (so long chicken liver parfait). Basically, lots of foodie favourites go flying out the bloomin’ window.

You may feel a (very small) pang of sympathy for me then, to learn my pregnancy was confirmed just one week before Christmas… a Christmas that involved a giant family feast hosted by MrF and I, including garlic & rosemary infused baked Camembert, charcuterie platters, stunning pates and enough booze to keep AA occupied for days! Grrrr, if only I’d found out a week later.

Oh how I'm bored of food restrictions, of having to analyse restaurant menus, avoiding all the best sounding dishes; in some cases, avoiding whole restaurants entirely because their menus are compiled purely of all my restricted items. In honesty, I'm looking forward to simplifying my dining experiences almost as much as I'm looking forward to the bounties that await me.

Beef steak platter
My dreams are made of... THIS!

I've certainly gained some insight into those with permanent food restrictions – I can only imagine the frustrations for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs, constantly having to choose from a reduced selection of dishes. The mixed knowledge of waiting staff, when asking about safe ingredients, has been somewhat disappointing too; one waitress amusingly told me she thought I should eat the questioned dish (featuring liver) anyway, as the restrictions were basically petty. Thanks for that, but I think I’ll pass.

During my last pregnancy, my main craving was for pate; MrF won major husband points by bringing some to the hospital for me, the very day after MiniF was born. There I sat, sleeping newborn by my side, blissfully tucking into a long awaited pot of pate. This time round, it’s been all about the beef; for eight long months, it’s all I've been craving... but not just any beef – medium-rare, juicy, lip-smacking, perfectly seasoned, caveman style, carnivoretastic beef! Nothing else quite compares or scratches the itch.

It is now, while I'm within weeks of my due date, that I can finally start preparing to tuck into a decent steak. So, dear readers, the next time you hear from me, I will be a new woman; I’ll be a sleep deprived, Mum of two, joyfully tucking in to plate after plate of juicy, pink steak! See you on the other side…


If you haven't had chance to pick up a copy yourself, then you can read the whole magazine on-line

Vale Life
Aylesbury & Thame
Twitter: @ValeLifeMag
Website: www.vale-life.co.uk

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Foodie Events - OCTOBER

Location: Oxford, UK

OXFORDSHIRE RESTAURANT AWARDS
Tuesday 1st October
The Manor, Weston on the Green, Oxfordshire
See the nominations and results in full here
Website: www.oxfordshirerestaurantawards.co.uk



CiCi CoCo COOKERY SCHOOL - L’arte di mangiare locale
Tuesday 1st October - Regional Cooking from Fruili Venezia Giulia £105
Sunday 13th October - The Northern Italian Sunday Lunch £105
Thursday 18th October - Pasta with Seasonal Meat Sauces £95
Location: Various

To book e-mail giuliana@cici-coco.com
CiCi CoCo return with another fab selection of courses from 'The Cook & The Kitchen Porter, featuring wonderful hand crafted Italian food.
Website: www.cici-coco.com





THE MONTPELLIER CHAPTER COOK'S CLUB
Wednesday 2nd October, 11.30am - 2.30pm
The Montpellier Chapter, Bayshill Road, Montpellier, Cheltenham GL50 3AS
£15 per person
An hours demonstration before you enjoy a two course lunch featuring Consultant Chef Simon Hpkinson’s dish of the month. October: Cooking with Offal. Dish of the month: Calf's Liver with Sweet & Sour Onions Website: www.themontpellierchapterhotel.com
(it's too late to book onto this, but they have more fantastic events coming up, check the website fro more details)


SOPHIE'S COOKERY SCHOOL
Friday 4th October - Bread! with Ursula Ferrigno
Thursday 10th October - We are 1 Year Old Party
Sunday 13th October - Risotto
Friday 18th October - Vietnamese Cooking
Sunday 20th October - Fishy on a Dishy
Wednesday 23rd October - Sausage Making Course
Friday 25th October - Totally Vegetarian
Sunday 27th October - October Cookery Book Club
Thursday 31st October - Riverford’s Halloween Feast at Jacobs Inn (with Sophie!!)

£60-70 per person, book now
Plenty to choose from for October, from Italian to Vietnamese, from Veggie to Sausage, with a bit of Halloween fun mixed in!
Website: www.sophiescookeryschool.com


CHEESE AND WINE TASTING WITH THE FINE CHEESE COMPANY
Sunday 13 October 2013, 12.30 & 2.30pm
Waddesdo Manor

£23.00 adult, £15.00 NT adult. Book now
Wine and Cheese is a match made in heaven, but with so many varying styles and flavours it can be difficult to know which best compliments the other. Join us in the Cellars for an informal tasting of six Rothschild wines and six European cheeses.
Two Sessions 12.30pm or 2.30pm lasting approximately 90 mins.
Website: http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/cheese-and-wine-tasting-with-the-fine-cheese-company


SEASONAL GAME DINNER
Friday 18 October 2013, 7.30pm, for 8.00pm Dinner
The Five Arrows, Waddesdon, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP18 0JE
£59.00 per person. To book call 01296 651727 or email 
Join The Five Arrows Hotel for a Seasonal Game Dinner. The dinner will be held in the charming restaurant, the perfect place for an autumnal evening. Aperitif and canapés on arrival, three course dinner with wine.
Website: http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/seasonal-game-dinner


THE DEPRESSED CAKE POP-UP SHOP
Sunday 20th October, 12-6pm
Albion Beatnik Bookstore, 34 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AU
Buy cake, eat cake, help raise money for mental illness charities & challenge taboos surrounding depression.
The Depressed Cake Shop is charity event, in aid of mental illness, running at various locations around the World. With one in four people suffering from mental illness during the course of their lives, The Depressed Cake Shop intends to raise awareness and encourage discussion, by selling grey coloured cake, with each of the pop-up cake shops donating any money raised to a mental health charity of their choice. Run by Caroline Knight (keen baker and employee at well known local cafe Jacobs & Field), the event needs your support... whether by baking cakes, buying cakes, or simply turning up to support! Contact Caroline at caroline@billiondollarboy.com to offer your support.
Website: http://misscakehead.wordpress.com/the-depressed-cake-shop/


RUMSEY'S CHOCOLATE COURSES
Sunday 27th October, 10.30am-12 approx, Make a Chocolate Figurine
Minimum age 16 / £57 per person
Sunday 27th October, 3-4.30pm approx, Chocolate Heaven
Minimum age 16 / £96 per person 
To book call 01296 625060 or email office@rumseys.co.uk

Join the fabulous Chocolatiers at Rumsey's to learn how to make something amazing out of, well, chocolate. I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday!
Website: www.rumseys.co.uk/events-courses




All these events, plus local Farmers' Markets on the Foodie Events Calendar
you can even download events straight to your own calendar!

Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards 2013 - Results

Location: Weston Manor Hotel, Weston-on-the-Green, Bicester, Oxfordshire OX25 3QL, UK
Oxfordshire Restaurants FoodieOnTour
Winners Enclosure at The Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards

After months of organising and voting, the third annual Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards, founded and organised by In Oxford Group, finally culminated this week at a glittering ceremony in the grounds of The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green. I went along to check out the winners and losers... 

Catering for the elegant event was produced in-house by the team at The Manor, with their Executive Chef working closely with event sponsor, Roots of Oxford, to devise a menu sourced from local producers, showcasing the best in Oxfordshire. Arriving rather fashionably late (the joys of having a newborn in the house), I made it just in time for dessert but not in time to sample to ox cheek main - which I was reliably told was the menu highlight. I may have missed the cheeky main on this occasion, but with another upcoming opportunity to sample The Manor's food, I will be reporting back fully; from what I've heard of late this could be a pinpoint to remember on the local food map!

2013 Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards - FoodieOnTour
2013 Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards Menu

Chaired by Alain Desenclos, Ambassador for Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons (himself a previous winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award), the awards judging committee was made up of high level Oxfordshire businessmen and women, supported by a team of reviewers. Every Oxfordshire eatery was invited to take part, with participating venues individually reviewed by one of the review team.

I was a tad disappointed to see a number of my favourites, plus some obvious contenders, missing from the nominations; seemingly choosing not to participate, there was no sign of Magdalen Arms, Port Mahon, Rusty Bicycle, Sojo, or even Oxordshire's three Michelin starred restaurants... to name a few. There were, however, a number of interesting (and surprising) additions, a couple of which I'd been disappointed by over the course of the last year and reviewed accordingly.

L: The Living Room & Big Bang celebrating their nominations & awards
R: Fallowfields & Jacobs Inn at the after party

The big winner of the night was The Star Inn, Sparsholt, scooping the coveted Restaurant of the Year Award. Open since July 2012, Owner Caron Williams said “this is a fantastic reward for all those difficult days when we were setting up.” The Star's Chef, Dave Watts, has already won Good Food Guide Chef to Watch 2013... DEFINITELY one on my list to visit.

The Star Inn also went home with an Award for best Gastro Pub / Brasserie, with The Lamb Inn claiming a hotly contended prize for Gastronomic Restaurant. Head Chef of The Lamb Inn was understandably “over the moon”; dating back to 1402, the beautiful 17-room Lamb Inn has held two rosettes for over 9 years (already added to my ever-expanding list of places to visit). 

Oxfordshire Restaurants FoodieOnTour
The team at The Star Inn make it a double with Awards for Restaurant of the Year and Gastro Pub / Brasserie

For the second year running, the Award for Outstanding Service was made to Oxford Brookes Restaurant. Individual contributions were recognised for outstanding achievement including Anthony (Tony) Verdin of The Cherwell Boathouse, Max Mason of The Big Bang for the creativity he showed in building a beach in Oxford, and Patrick Greenberg of La Cucina who won Trainee of the Year.

A Recognition Award was also made to Browns, an Oxford Institution for 40 years; with the Editors Award (chosen by In Oxford and B4) going to The Quince Tree in Stonor.

Oxfordshire Restaurants, FoodieOnTour
The Quince Tree collect their Editors Choice Award


AWARDS & NOMINATIONS IN FULL:

Restaurant of the Year Recognising the best in Oxfordshire, the overall winner, Oxfordshire Restaurant of the Year has been selected from the winners in the other categories (see below), and is decided on by the committee. Last year’s Restaurant of the Year winner was The Feathers in Woodstock, with The Feathered Nest at Nether Westcote in the Cotswolds scooping the prize in 2011 - once of my favourites for Sunday lunch.

Gastronomic Restaurant Formal restaurants that seek to build reputation on dishes that exhibit finesse, complexity and considerable skill in execution; extensive product knowledge of staff; and attentive yet unobtrusive service.
Nominees: Fallowfields, The Feathers, Pierre Victoire, The Turl Street Kitchen, Manor Weston on the Green, Le Kesh, Cherwell Boathouse, Brookes Restaurant, The Lamb Inn Burford
Third: Cherwell Boathouse
Second: Brookes Restaurant

Gastro Pub / Brasserie Relaxed, often informal or semi-formal settings, in which there is much emphasis placed on the quality of food and service. Menus often contain culturally-specific and possibly ‘rustic’ dishes, which require considerable skill to execute.
Nominees: Plowden Arms, The Chequers at Burcot, The White Hart at Fyfield, The Quince Tree, The Mole Inn, Cibo, The Living Room, Kingham Plough, The Star Inn at Sparsholt
Third: Living Room
Second: Kingham Plough

Traditional Pub Restaurant A uniquely British creation, informal establishments that promote a sense of conviviality and community, which serve good quality food (often, but not exclusively British) and a range of beers.
Nominees: The Big Bang, The Oxford Retreat, The Black Horse Kidlington, The James Figg
Third: The Black Horse (Kidlington)
Second: The Oxford Retreat

Asian A defining characteristic of the Oxfordshire restaurant scene – establishments serving exclusively Asian cuisine. Note: those serving only ‘take-out’ food were considered as part of the ‘express, deli and café’ category.
Nominees: Spice Lounge, Snooty Mehmaan, Gurkha Village, Yeti, Jee Saheb, First Floor
Third: Gurkha Village
Second: Spice Lounge

Express, Deli, Café Food outlets that enable us to dine whilst ‘on the go’, or when we want a quick meal in an informal setting.
Nominees: The Rose, Gatineau, Jacobs and Field, The Old Studio, The Bakehouse, Reg's Cafe Banbury, Burford Garden Centre, Oxfork
Third: Oxfork
Second: Reg's Cafe, Banbury

Outstanding Service Award Based on interpretation of scores and reviews, the judging panel will identify the restaurant that offered the most outstanding quality of service.


Award for Creativity: Max Mason, The Big Bang

Recognition of Service: Anthony Verdin, The Cherwell Boathouse

Apprentice of the Year: Patrick Greenberg, La Cucina

Editors Award (awarded by B4 / In Oxford): The Quince Tree

Special 40th Birthday Presentation: Browns Oxford

2013 Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards - FoodieOnTour

Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards
The Firs
Headington Hill
Oxford
OX3 0BT
Twitter: @inoxfordawards
Facebook: @oxrestaurantawards
Website: www.oxfordshirerestaurantawards.co.uk
Phone: 01865 742211
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...