If you’re looking to enjoy fantastic food & drink with excellent friendly service in a relaxed atmosphere at a fabulous countryside location then look no further than the Oxford Blue Pub. This was a truly fantastic evening and one I’ll definitely be looking to repeat in the not too distant future.
So how did we hear about this place? I had seen it on Favourite Tables and then when a chef I know from a restaurant not to far away visited for Sunday Lunch and the pics looked great. So visited their website to see who the chef was plus take a look at the menu and all seemed good so with that in mind made a reservation and on a recent Saturday, we made the trip from east to west to see for ourselves.
We were lucky enough to find a B&B just a short walk away. We arrived on Saturday and the outside was impressive especially as it was all lit up. On entering we received a delightful welcome as we arrived early to sample one of the beers from the local breweries. While we were looking at the drinks we received our first nice surprise as two complimentary glasses of champagne from the chef arrived at the table.
Also at this time out came some amazing Venison Bon Bon’s that were just little balls of heaven. We then followed this by enjoying an aperitif where I did get to try well a local beer which had to be the Oxford Blue Ale of course.
While enjoying our drinks it gave us the chance to look around. As you enter the bar is on your immediate left. To the right is the main dining area with additional seating area straight ahead. We were seated in the main area at a table that overlooked the front and to which in daylight would give you the chance to look at the stunning views. Once seated it was time to look at the A la Carte menu which had some amazing game which is inspired by the area. Before our starters, we got to enjoy some delicious warm Sourdough Bread.
Our first courses were a fantastic Braised Suckling Pigs Trotter with Black Pudding, Apple Carpaccio & Sauce Gribiche accompanied by three thin slices of crackling which not only tasted amazing but the apple really refreshed the palate. We also chose the amazing Shellfish Rarebit with Lobster, Scallop & Cockles which was rich and creamy but just heaven. Before we had our mains we received our second delightful surprise as the chef sent us out a little extra course and fantastic it was to a beautiful Mushroom Tartlet with Truffle & Wild Mushroom Veloute.
Now on to the main. courses which were also amazing and of course we chose two incredible game dishes, the Windsor Great Park Red Deer with a Braised Shoulder Croquet and a Caramelised Pear & Chicory Tart. The other dish was the Roast Crown of Woodcock with Confit Leg, King Oyster Mushroom & Spring Onion Spelt Risotto. These dishes were just sublime & enhanced as we also ordered the mixed green vegetables and the beef fat chips. It was now time for a rest before moving on to desserts.
This is where the amazing creations of Ami take over and we weren’t let down here either as each dessert was an absolute treat. The Rhubarb & Custard Mille Feuille did not only taste delicious but was a work of art. We also had the fabulous Banoffee Soufflé with Banana Ice Cream & Toffee Sauce as well as the Milk Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Malt Ice Cream. Both of these desserts were simply chocolate heaven. We then finished with tea & coffee. With this came a thick slice of Salted Caramel Chocolate and a little hammer which you use to break the chocolate into pieces.
So this brought an end to a fantastic evening well or so we thought as there was one final surprise in store. We were asked if we’d like to go into the kitchen as Head Chef and Owner Steven would like to meet us. This was an honour and gladly accepted as we also got to meet wife & pastry chef Ami. You could clearly see the passion for the area and the produce they use. We had the pleasure of telling him his food was amazing and matched by excellent friendly service from his team and to tell him we were looking forward to returning again soon. Then before leaving, we were given a glass of homemade Limoncello to truly finish the evening in style. This to me is a must visit so yes I would highly recommend making a reservation and I certainly can’t wait to return. Thank You to everyone at the Oxford Blue for a fantastic evening and wishing you All The Best for the future[shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="7569756"]
It is our great pleasure to speak with Steven Ellis, who is Chef Patron at the newly opened Oxford Blue, “a pub that serves great food” – that’s his introduction to what is one of the most popular New Openings of 2017.
Originally from Lancashire, Steven spent most of his childhood growing up in the Middle East. Aged 16 he returned to England, enrolling at the Birmingham College of Food & Tourism, before moving to London to follow his dream.
Steven’s talents were developed working in well-known restaurants such as Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and the three Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, but his vision of creating an extraordinary culinary experience within the comfort of a country style gastro pub came from his time spent at Andrew Pern’s Star Inn in Harome.
His passion to promote a part of our country’s heritage that hasn’t so much been forgotten but needs to be brought back to life drives him. His dishes are sophisticated yet familiar, a perfect match for the relaxed surroundings that this charming pub has to offer.
We asked chef how he would best describe the Oxford Blue:
” I think of the Oxford Blue very much as a pub. We have locals who come in for a drink and also people who like to come in to dine with us. The beauty of the Oxford Blue is that you can come for a casual drink while reading the newspaper by the open fire or come in with friends for a meal. But also you can bring the other half and enjoy a romantic meal for two. The Oxford Blue has the ability to change for everyone’s needs whether it be a quick meal at lunch or a long evening of 3-4 courses with friends and family.”
The Oxford Blue has had some amazing reviews and coverage in the press, we asked – What do you think about reviews?
“I feel reviews are healthy for restaurants but only if they are presented in a constructive way, so the owners and staff can take it on board and help better themselves and their business. It’s always good to get an outsiders opinion as sometimes the obvious things can be overlooked when you are working long hours and focused on delivering what you believe to be the best you can do. What I don’t agree on is when someone has a grudge towards a business or just unhappy with them and because of this come in with a negative attitude where everything the restaurant does is seen as ‘wrong’ “
You have worked in Fine Dining Michelin Star awarded restaurants. How important is a Michelin star?
“The benefits I feel a restaurant achieves by obtaining a star is that one, they earn the right to be listed in this exclusive guide but also become noticed by a wider audience of foodies, people who share the same passion for eating out as we do for delivering a high level food and service. But can also attract people who appreciate the hard work that is put into delivering a great experience.”
Achieving your dream here at Oxford Blue must have been hard work, who influenced you in the past?
“One of my biggest idols, since I was young, has to be Marco Pierre White. The passion he had to deliver the best experience to his guests is inspiring but, also the way he liked to push boundaries and not follow the trends proved to me that if you believe in something don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise because you have a responsibility to yourself to make sure it comes true! “
If you could invite any Chef past or present to cook alongside you for one night who would that be and why?
“As I mentioned previously my idol being Marco Pierre White it would only feel right in saying that I would love to cook alongside this industry legend for one night”.
What is your favourite dish on the Oxford Blue menu in which you use produce from your most local supplier?
“My favourite dish has to be my ‘suckling pig’s trotter’. But, in regards to local suppliers and having such a huge passion for using game, I work very closely with the head game keeper of Windsor Great Park. Being able to use an abundance of different types of Game, it allows my imagination to run wild with ideas I only once dreamt of being able to create”.
Staying with favourite dishes, What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”
“Most likely a Venison Wellington, being such a lover of all things ‘game’ “
Finally, Favourite Tables, where do you like to dine when you get the chance and the time away from your own kitchen.
To be Confirmed…..
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We had A really delightful evening meal set in the lovely Berry Restaurant at the Taplow Hotel. On arrival we were seated on the patio where we browsed the Menu, which is very English. Overlooking the lovely grounds of the Hotel while enjoying our Aperitif was a perfect start to our evening. When we moved into the restaurant it seems we were very warm welcomed by almost every member of staff and this level of personal service continued throughout the evening.
We started with a fantastic Bread selection before our lovely starters of a Beef Tartare & Ham Hock Terrine. We then moved onto the mains which were Cod Fillet & Chips with Samphire and my lovely Lamb Loin with Boulangere Potatoes and amazing beer braised Shallots accompanied by a nice bottle of the Berri Estates House Wine .
Then came desserts, a deconstructed Rhubarb Crumble & my Olive Oil Cake. We finished with coffee & Petit Fours in the lounge . I have to say the quality of the food was really good and the friendly service we received made for a lovely evening, as part of our overnight stay.
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