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The Oxford Blue Pub – Old Windsor

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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The Chef’s Table team chat with George Blogg, Head Chef Gravetye Manor

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Growing up in Dorset the young George Blogg was fortunate enough to be introduced to meals containing fresh produce, rather than the prepacked food prevalent at that time. Meals at home more often than not had vegetables or fruit from the family allotment with George helping his mother to prepare dinners evenings and weekends. However, his route into restaurant kitchens came about by chance. Originally studying to be a Geologist, when his mother had to turn down a few shifts at the local Italian restaurant she put George forward to cover. Washing up led to Veg prep and then to junior chef roles. So what started as a means of paying for his studies evolved into a vocation. In his early twenties, the then geology graduate gave up the Earth Science’s to follow a full-time gastronomy career.

His résumé makes for impressive reading with time spent at two Michelin-starred restaurants: Philip Howard’s The Square in Mayfair and David Everitt-Matthias’ Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham. George has also completed stages at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, The Ledbury in Notting Hill and Noma in Copenhagen. Each playing a part in forming his chef’s style and they instilled many of the benefits around his use of locally sourced and foraged produce. Then following a very successful tenure as executive chef at Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire George moved to the AA Hotel of the Year England 2013-14, Gravetye Manor in June 2014. Gravetye was awarded a Michelin Star which has been retained for the past four years.


Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?

A: That fine dining, or whatever you would like to call it, is not dying. No matter how many places are moving towards more casual dining concepts, this is as much to do with companies trying to improve profits/costs as it is a shift in public need. People expect good value for money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to spend less.

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Q; Have you been featured or would you like to be featured on any TV food programmes, are these types of shows a good thing for the restaurant industry and chefs?

A: I’ve been fortunate enough to host a semi-final of Masterchef Professionals in the kitchen here at Gravetye, filmed over 2 days. As a marketing vehicle, TV is an excellent way to get noticed and improve business. The downside, that I feel some chefs fall into, is that it takes you away from the kitchen, and ultimately that is where you need to spend your time making sure that your guests receive the best experience possible.

 

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Q: How important is a Michelin star? a growing number of chefs and restaurants have recently asked that they are removed, because of the pressure – your thoughts

A: If you cook for the recognition of any guide, you are not cooking for the right reason, which is for your guests. If you care about offering your guests the best experience, then should it make a difference if you receive an accolade or not? Pressure only exists if you care more about the guides than your guests. So I don’t really understand why anyone would ask for a Michelin star to be removed unless they were worried about losing it and/or trying to implement a controversial marketing strategy.

Q: What do you think about negative reviews?

A: I don’t mind negative reviews as long as they substantiate why something is bad in a considerate way instead of being negative just for the sake of elaborating a story.

Q: What would be on your menu if you were creating a diner and could have all the previous owner of Gravetye – Richard Infield, Kathrine Compton, William Robinson, Peter Herbert and Jeremy & Elizabeth Hosking around the table?

A: I would serve them our current tasting menu. We call this menu Time and Place, and it reflects where Gravetye is at the moment. Hopefully, they would all be interested to see what Jeremy, Elizabeth and the Gravetye team have accomplished.

Click for Current Tasting Menu

Click for Current Tasting Menu

 

Q: What is your favourite dish on the current menu, that you have created in the past 6 months and why.

A: We have a cold starter using cured Isle of Gigha halibut, mussels, turnip, caviar, coastal herbs and sesame. It is a dish with a lot of interesting components. It is delicate, but has a healthy richness and looks beautifully natural.

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Q: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

A: Paul Bocuse, because who else could you choose?

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My Favourite Tables 

Two restaurants I have visited and why?

 

Restaurant (1): Umu, London. It’s a fantastic Kyoto style (more traditional food) Japanese restaurant off a side street in Mayfair that serves impeccably fresh fish and a stunning selection of Sake. It has 2 Michelin stars, and is excellent value for money considering the quality.

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Restaurant (2): Ynyshir, Wales. Gareth and Amelia have created a unique must-visit destination restaurant with rooms.

Ingredient led, flavour-driven, fat-fuelled, meat-obsessed. This is how Gareth describes his food. I love it.

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Favourite Tables Top Ten Restaurants

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The Favourite Tables Top Ten Restaurants from the last twelve months has been compiled from the number of visits to the restaurant’s page on the Favourite Tables website. This was then weighed against the social marketplace of active “Facebook” likes. More weight was given to restaurants with the most recent new likes on Facebook.

Unlike some other “lists” which are compiled from single “Food Experts” comments or the hit and miss “drive-by” reviews some “Travel” websites favour, the Favourite Tables list has been formed from analysing the locations that were most popular with ordinary people using the website to find great places to eat. With the restaurant’s social media activity across Facebook, where real people “like” a restaurant because they genuinely had a good experience and Twitter for follows and re-tweets were added as a rating.

The cumulative total creates a list of the most popular and best-loved restaurants: 


Topping the list is the very popular – Adams Restaurant in Birmingham

Head Chef: Tom Shepherd’s recent Interview with Chef’s Table HERE

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The Top Ten UK Places People Have Wanted To Eat At:

 

1) Adams Restaurant – Birmingham   Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 14.43.03

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/adams/)

Position Last Year – 03

2) Ynyshir – North Wales

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/ynyshir/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – Highest New Entry

3) Romulo Cafe – London

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/romulo-london/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – New Entry

4) The Dining Room at Chewton Glen – Hampshire

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/dining-room-chewton-glen/)

Position Last Year – New Entry

5) 64 Degrees – Brighton

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/64-degrees/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – 01

6) Lympstone Manor – Exmouth Devon

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/lympstone-manor/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – 04

7) The Old Downton Lodge – Ludlow

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/old-downton-lodge/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – New Entry

8) The Coal Shed – London Tower Bridge

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/the-coal-shed-london/)

Position Last Year – New Entry

9) Pale Hall – North Wales

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/pale-hall/) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – New Entry

10) Prevost – Peterborough

(http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/prevost) – Head Chef Interview HERE

Position Last Year – 05
A few restaurants have proved very popular recently and are just outside the Top Ten simply because they have only been listed for a short period so when looked at over the past twelve months the count of visits was lower.

Notably:
Alchemilla – Nottingham (http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/alchemilla/)

The Hand – North Wales (http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/the-hand-at-llanarmon/)

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Look what we discovered in Soho…..

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We were recently invited to a “Private” event in a Soho basement. The only information shared with us was that multiple guests could interact at the same time…

Yes we were intrigued!!!!

It turns out that the creative team at Inamo Restaurants had invited favourite tables to the Interactive Private Dining/Event video games room…phew

To be found below the Inamo Soho restaurant (http://www.favouritetables.com/restaurant/inamo-soho/ )

Inamo has always been inspired by technology, great food, and interactive fun. The Games Room is the next stage in that evolution. A unique private area to the heart of Soho with its own bar and private dining options. Double wall projections span more than 150 inches, there’s a choice of over 150 games on popular games consoles, and up to 8 players can game simultaneously. Yes, it’s massive.

A fantastic fun and flexible location for kids and adults alike! A sneak preview video can be seen below showing the projectors in action.

 

For an evening with your colleagues or a birthday party with a difference, the Games Room is the perfect location. Featuring 2 x PS4s, 2 x Wiis, and Atari gold for retro games, with Chromecast & Apple TV, you can play, drink, eat, sing(for those of a Karaoke persuasion!), watch TV (e.g. live sports), and even project your own content onto the walls for a private presentation, screening, or just showing off your favourite images, videos & music. Perhaps just a games night taking on your mates at Fifa18 on one projector, and watching a live football match on the second, or Wii tennis and a Grand Slam?

Contact Maria, the Party Manager, by email to events@inamo-restaurant.com or call 020 7484 0500.

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Chef’s Table – Anthony Wright – Head Chef L20 Restaurant

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Anthony Wright has been in the hospitality industry for over 17 years working in some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the North West of England. He has worked at Hugh Baird College’s, L20 Hotel School and L20 Restaurant for more than 5 years, starting out as a Sous Chef and taking the reins as Head Chef in 2016.

Since becoming Head Chef, Anthony has furthered the reputation of the L20 Restaurant with an appearance in the Liverpool Cookbook. L20 an open to the public restaurant where students delivering a 100% made on site menu. With Anthony and his team training students in modern cooking techniques in the flagship restaurant. During the college year, the restaurant is open 12-2 Tuesday-Friday lunch with dinner Thursday night 5-8 and we offer Sunday lunch 12-3. They also host guest chef evenings every month and have a themed menu each month.

Recently, he has also given demonstrations at the Southport and Formby Food Festivals. The L20 Restaurant was recently presented with a Highly Commended AA Rosette in the College Restaurant category and the L20 Fish Pie won an award in a food photography competition for the plating presentation.

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Question: Which Chef/s influenced you in the past? Who continuous to influence you now?

Anthony: My chef influences come from Grant Achatz, Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsey and Thomas Keller, each chef is very different but they all produce excellent food. They all continue to influence me day to day and they are always continuing to push themselves. I try to recreate this in the L20 kitchen with our students.

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Question: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet)

Anthony: There are too many restaurants to go on this list. But if I had to choose it would have to be the Holy Grail, Alinea in Chicago. I just love how you’re on the edge of your seat and you question everything that you’re eating.

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Question: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?

Anthony: Food has become more expensive especially with the dairy market rocketing with crazy prices, plus in general ingredients prices have also increased. So when you’re costing you need to cover for your overheads which include the staff that are cooking and serving the food to the cleaning of the plates. I think the public doesn’t see this side of thinking when it comes to prices. With so many chain restaurants that charge cheap prices on the high street, this is pushing the independent restaurants out of business.

 

Question: Have you been featured or would you like to be featured on any TV food programs, are these types of shows a good thing for the restaurant industry and chefs?

Anthony: I keep considering going on master chef the professionals just to give it a go and see how far I can get. However, the nerves set in and I withdraw the application. I just think the experience would get me with tops chefs like 2 Michelin star Chef Marcus Wareing and Monica Galleti. Sometimes I watch the skills test and I think I could do that. But in front of Marcus and Monica plus the cameras, it seems very daunting. I do think these types of shows showcase the current industry and the skills diversity. You can see what variation of chefs apply and how they improve throughout the show showing that you don’t need a specific skill set to apply.

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Question: If you received a call to say that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, are visiting the Hugh Baird campus and you are asked to create a Lunch Menu, what would you have the student feature?

Anthony: We would love to cook confit trout dish with trout skin quaver, ponzu, apple and watercress. For the main course would be L20s “scouse” or we could do our award winning Fish Pie, followed by my interoperation of a Lemon meringue pie

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Question: What are your personal favourite dishes that have been on menus in the recent terms, A) to cook and B) to eat

Anthony: A)”To Cook” – recently we had a cod dish with bacon, peas, bbq gem lettuce, potato crisp and dashi. Quite a simple dish but the dish is cooked to order, which makes it a good fresh dish.

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B) “To Eat” Would be white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake with mango sorbet and mango salsa, a very refreshing taste and classic flavours

Question: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

Anthony: I would love to cook in Grant Achatz Alinea kitchen in Chicago. I think he’s at the top of his game and has been for years. He’s a chef who makes the customer question everything they are eating, he brings fun to the dining room with a twist. Foods such as the edible balloon and bbq chicken thigh that cooks unexpected at the table. He brings desserts to life at the table.

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My Favourite Tables– Two restaurants I have visited and why?

 

Restaurant (1): El Gato Negro in Manchester. Great food and drink in a relaxing atmosphere. Sat on the chefs counter here and it’s great to see the food cooked fresh in front of you and the taste is awesome. Reasonably priced plus they stock my favourite beer the Estrella Indeit. @elgatonegrofood. Twitter

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Restaurant (2): Freemasons at Wiswell. Upmarket pub food with a twist and big bold flavours. I’ve dined here a few times and it just seems to get better every time. It must be truffle cheese hot dogs and Lamb fat Brioche (I’m addicted). It’s such a hidden gem in the small village of Wiswell.

@wiswellman Twitter

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Lympstone

Chef’s Table talk with Chef Michael Caines MBE

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Chef Michael Caines grew up near Exeter where his parents, who were school teachers recognised his early interest in food and cooking and set him on his way to a culinary career. Following two years of catering college, an Exeter chef sent him to the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. He was then recommended to Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire, for whom he had to do a three-day trial without pay. Three years later, Blanc arranged for him to cook at the Michelin three-star Cote d’Or in Burgundy. He cooked there for 15 months before moving to another three-star establishment, Restaurant Jamin, in Paris.

Michael’s career to date has been well documented, through to becoming Head Chef at Gidleigh Park Hotel in Devon.

Early In 2017, Michael opened Lympstone Manor, a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant set in Parkland overlooking the river Exe near Exmouth, Devon. He describes Lympstone as “the realisation of a dream, my vision of country house hospitality for the 21st Century”. This has been a very personal project for him and one that has seen him involved in every detail. From the first vines being planted to establish a vineyard in the estate to produce, in three years time, a house champagne-method sparkling wine.

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We asked Michael about his continued involvement in catering for the Williams Formula 1 team.

Q: You have spent a couple of seasons working with the Williams F1 team, in particular in Monaco… how much fun was that and what was Monaco in 2017 like?

A: Being anywhere with Williams F1 is amazing but Monaco is the best. This year I was able to cook on a yacht for Williams and go to their VIP party, along with attending events on the Financial Times yacht. I was also invited to Martini’s VIP party which was a brilliant evening. We have also just held a charity event with Williams here at the manor.

 

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Q: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you have not had opportunity to visit)

A: I would like to visit Japan, there are many restaurants there I would like to try in particular  Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo and Hujime in Osaka.

 

Q: Japanese cuisine sometimes includes ingredients we may not be familiar with, Is there a food you would not eat?

A: Bugs, or anything very obscure like a form of testicles or spiders.

Q: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”

A: I would make this the longest meal ever, most probably a tasting menu which included a seafood platter to start followed by roast chicken with a combination of summer fruits and sorbet to finish.

Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/food, what would they be?

A: I view food like it is an elite sport, great food, and food wealth is what it’s about. Not about the expense but how well it is cooked and how good it is. There is plenty of places that have great food and are cheaper. It’s to do with the combination of flavours and spices.

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Q: What is your favourite dish at Lympstone Manor in which you use produce from your most local supplier?

A: There is a number at present, however Jacobs Lamb, boulangerie & confit shoulder, pea puree and tapenade jus, the lamb is from Powderham Castle, which we can see from our terrace.

Q: If you could invite any Chef past or present to cook alongside you for one night who would that be and why?

A: Keith Floyd because he is a legend.

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Favourite Tables were delighted to include Lympstone Manor on our Unique Destinations pages and wondered what you would consider as your own favourite tables….

Firstly Zuma in London because of its fusion of Japanese cooking and Asian styled foods, and then  The Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc – it is my favourite country house hotel, the food and experience is exceptional.

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The Oxford Blue_main

Chef Steven Ellis talks to Chef’s Tables

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Steven Ellis

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.

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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.”

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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! “

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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”.

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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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Rubino Kitchen

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Rubino Kitchen is a lovely little restaurant set in a lodge on a farm in Maldon , Essex and a real credit to the county as this small team under the guidance of Head Chef Rob produces some great and interesting dishes from using great local produce.

 

It’s a small restaurant but has a great friendly feel from the moment you arrive until you leave . So onto the evening itself they have a good menu where you can choose from 1 to 5 courses which can come as a starter or main or as we did we went for the Tasting Menu so that we could try every course.

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We started with a nice and refreshing White Grape Gazpacho which was delicious before moving on to what was my favourite course the Haddock Scotch Egg with peas , raisin & curried puffed rice it was heaven. Then a Beef Carpaccio delightful followed by a Sweetcorn Risotto which came with Balsamic Vinegar interesting but it worked then to balance the Menu we had a lovely Cod with Octopus Caponata it was beautiful.

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Now onto the main course of Braised Lamb Tortellini & Smoked Aubergine Purée with Gem Lettuce & Beans a great hearty course to finish well almost because there’s always time for Desserts, yes Desserts .

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There were three on offer so of course we had to try them all the first being a Blackcurrant Panna Cotta with Honeycomb which I got to eat myself as my wife decided to have some Gorgonzola Cheese & Crackers. Next was Mille Feuille and to finish a Baked Alaska with Lemon Ice Cream nicely made by Dana .

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I have to say it was a really pleasant evening good food and very friendly service so look forward to returning soon 

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Review of Berry’s Restaurant at Taplow House

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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.

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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 .

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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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A Chefs Table feature on the family run Haywards

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Jahdre Hayward_FT

Jahdre Hayward was born in Bermuda, at 15 he moved to the United States to live with his aunt and uncle while he studied culinary arts in Tampa Florida. When his studies were complete he moved to the UK and gained a commis job at The Savoy Hotel, London under Anton Edelmann, where he progressed quickly up the rankings to Chef de Partie. Jahdre`s employment in London and the Home Counties also includes Hanbury Manor, Rules Restaurant, the Oxo Tower, Novelli in the City and The Ritz.

Amanda Hayward_FT

Amanda Hayward was born and brought up in Essex and lived in the family owned traditional 17th century free house the Forest Gate Inn which is situated on the outskirts of Epping Forest and the charming market town of Epping.  Amanda knew from an early age she was interested in cooking and after leaving school she took a place at Westminster College and trained to be a chef. She has gained experience in many fine restaurants in London and abroad including Simpsons on the Strand, London Capital Club, and then started her own catering company.

Jahdre met Amanda when they both worked at The London Capital Club. They travelled to Australia in 2003 and Jahdre worked briefly at Guillaume at Bennelong, Sydney Opera House whilst experiencing life in Australia. They returned to London for 3 years before migrating to Australia and settling in Melbourne. Jahdre worked as a sous chef at The National Gallery then moved on to become head chef at the Melbourne Wine Room followed by The Millswyn Restaurant. Amanda whilst in Melbourne went from being a chef to a waiter and after working at Grossi Florentino`s and Maze by Gordon Ramsey went on to work at Circa, The Prince and became assistant restaurant manager of the two hat restaurant.

After five and a half years in Melbourne and gaining Australian citizenship, Jahdre and Amanda decided to return to the UK to oversee the development of Haywards in the grounds of the family owned pub the Forest Gate Inn.

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The restaurant was converted from an old coach house, stable and skittle alley. Amanda and Jahdre oversaw the whole process to create their dream restaurant, sympathetically restoring the buildings and retaining many original features. Haywards opened in May 2013 and has gone from strength to strength and both Amanda and Jahdre are passionate about continuous development and progression for the business. The Haywards kitchen garden is thriving and the restaurant has been working with a local bee keeper to keep some bee colonies and produce their own honey.

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With Jadhre’s global background, our questions were many.  Here are some of them:

Influences – now and then?

“My grandmother, with her love of food and family, was really inspiring and I used to love to watch her in the kitchen.  The chef who has really influenced me is Brett Graham at The Ledbury.  His passion for the industry and for sourcing quality local produce is something that we have adopted at Haywards.  He is also passionate about his customers and our many conversations have influenced decisions we have made”

What are your views on the difference between Australian and British restaurant industries? 

“There are quite a lot of differences between restaurants and food styles.  All are positive differences, and in terms of gaining experience and developing my career, I feel very privileged to have worked in many great restaurants in both locations.   Australian restaurants are often slightly Asian inflenced and there are many different products available and not so much emphasis on the seasons. Due to the warmer climates across the country there is more produce available year round.  There is also access to beautiful and more unusual fresh fish such as snapper, barramundi (similar to sea bass and delicious!) and yabbies, which I love.  However, here in the UK I really enjoy the fact that our native produce is seasonal and we can change our menus accordingly.  We also have fantastic, quality British produce and our scallops are amazing!”

If you were not a chef – where would you be now? 

“My career path was destined to been an aircraft mechanic but whilst studying, I took a part time job in a kitchen and my fate was sealed!”

Are there restaurants you would like to go to? 

“If I am lucky enough to travel to the Far East again, I would love to dine at Sukiabashi Jiro, a three Michelin starred sushi restaurant in Japan.  Another three Michelin starred restaurant is Michel Bras in France which is also high on my list.

Haywards Honey – what is your favourite honey dish? 

“We have a beautiful dish on our menu described as Honey, Dill, Almond.  It is a honey parfait garnished with honeycomb, bee pollen and dill ice cream”

A chef to work with – past or present? 

“I would love to work alongside Michael Caines.  I have dined at Gidleigh Park twice and really admire him for his determination, drive and skill” I saw that his latest venue Lympstone Manor is featured on favourite tables so I will be booking dinner there soon.

Finally – where are your favourite tables? 

One of my favourite tables has to be The Ledbury in Notting Hill.  Always an amazing experience and I love everything about this restaurant.

I also think The Artichoke in Amersham is a fantastic restaurant.   They are gaining a lot of recognition but deserve more!

Finally, I celebrated my birthday just before Christmas at the Bildeston Crown in Suffolk.  We had a wonderful stay and a really great meal in their restaurant so I am sure that they will go on to achieve great things.

 

 


 

 

 

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