New Michelin star restaurant for Oxford in the 2019 guide
Oxford kitchen is the only Michelin starred restaurant within the town of Oxford and gained its star in the 2019 guide. Paul Welburn is the head chef and this was a very cosy experience. The restaurant feels like a proper establishment with good and unpretentious service combined. This set lunch was a very welcome addition to the Michelin starred family with quality breads and skilful handling of simple ingredients. It was also a very reasonable 3-course set menu for £28.50. More detail on the food can be found at the expansion button as usual, but this is a quality option in Oxford.
I didn’t have a reservation and chanced a lunch space for this visit and was immediately greeted by a well swept up and professional front of house. The lunch menu options ranged from a la carte, tasting and set menus, all of which are preceded by their rather lovely thyme brioche which was quality and served with a side and herb butter (also very good). Marmite butter is not a favourite flavour of mine but this was done with a gentle twist. Canapes included a pork croquette with sorrel which had lovely consistency and was not too fatty; the gel also worked very nicely with it. A light and airy beetroot macaron with goats cheese and fennel pollen had a great texture with a slightly heavy goats cheese in contrast.
The starter of mackerel came with pickled fennel, treacle yoghurt, oyster leaves, seaweed powder and cress. I found all these to work together nicely and the mackerel itself being allowed to take centre stage. The main of confit lamb with set pea custard, walnuts, shoots, salsa verde, creme fraiche was a satisfying dish. A few more nuts might have been good to boost the contrasting textures as the overall feel of this dish was soft and loose in texture, but the lamb being of good quality and was absolutely melt in the mouth. The plum dessert with lemon verbena jelly and plum compote was a pleasant finish with a more original jelly and good combination.
Service varied from endearing to a little layman (“which one is for you?” is friendly but not as professional as it can be). However, the welcome here is not in question and was, in fact, one of the best lunch environments I have come across in a while. I have no doubt this will be equally pleasant for dinner as well and if I were to choose a place for dinner in Oxford it would definitely be here.
Food Grade: 72%
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