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Oxford and Cheltenham


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i am sure this has been covered to a certain extent elsewhere, but i am a selfish chef and want a thread all to myself! :raz:

Staying in both places and would like dinner and lunch imbetween if possible. will probably do champignon savage one night. other recommendations welcome.

matt

Matt Christmas.

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i am sure this has been covered to a certain extent elsewhere, but i am a selfish chef and want a thread all to myself! :raz:

Staying in both places and would like dinner and lunch imbetween if possible.  will probably do champignon savage one night.  other recommendations welcome.

matt

It's slightly off the most direct line between Oxford and Cheltenham, but I would definitely recommend a visit to Allium in Fairford.

If you are prepared to go a bit further east than Oxford, you could start (or finish) with a visit to the Goose at Britwell Salome.

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Pub-wise, you could do worse than the new-ish Kingham Plough. The place is run by an ex-Fat Duck chef, but aside from a bit of sous vide steak and some triple cooked chips, the food is properly pubby. Great, cheap, and freshly cooked bar snack menu, too - pork pies, rarebit, scotch eggs, potted rabbit, etc.

restaurant, private catering, consultancy
feast for the senses / blog

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couldn't get a table at champignon so david recommended 5 north st in winchcombe.

it has one star, slightly reminiscent of the merchant house. 20 odd covers, husband and wife team.

The good food guide says there is no choice in the evening, so having a fussy wife had to call and check. Turns out they have been slightly misrepresented in the guide. They have three menus at different price points that are totally interchangable. this seems silly to me, why don't they just do the same as the merchant house and have three choices but then charge alc? they also have a few specials and the table next to us were regs and asked if they had any pheasant in the house, it tuyrned out that he did and it was prepared for them, nice touch.

the food nothing really to write home about, although nicely prepared and very tasty. Rarebit and rhubarb chutney very tasty canape. amuse, cauliflower and rosemary soup with pumkin cream, tasty enough but could only taste rosemay. i hate pointless amuses. scallops with porkbelly and a puree i can't remember, it was two flavours and i think one was jerusalem chokes but it didn't taste like it. this was tasty and well cooked but the belly could have been crisper and the flavours wern't distinct. main: sirloin of beef with horseradish mash and pot roast/glazed root vegetables. sirloin very good, mash muted horseradish flavour but nice. veg crap, came as a beef stew on the side, not glazed at all, and not the best cut for braising, a little stringy, oxtail or cheek would have been so much better, veg just like after you have cooked a sauce and wish to discard it, over cooked completely. too much meat on the dish. shame because the stuff on the plate was lovely, just some green veg would have set the dish off perfectly imho.

didn't have desser6t, trying not to eat sugar and there were very long waits between courses. i think they are trying to give a special prolonged dining experience. admirably they don't charge service or leave the slip open. i asked how you are meant to leave a tip if you have no cash. luckily we had some cash as service was very good from his wife.

Matt Christmas.

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  • 1 year later...

Just thought I'd add in a post about the Royal Well Tavern in Cheltenham. It's been open six to seven months and I went again this weekend. It's just been awarded a bib gourmand so I went whilst I could still get a table.

What was a rundown pub is now a great little brasserie. The menu is simple, you get exactly what it says. There's a range of dishes from £4 (rilletes with pickled chicory) up to £40 (whole fillet of beef) so you can go for the standard 3 courses, mix and match a few smaller dishes or just share one huge one.

The cooking has been spot on every time I've been, really good ingredients carefully handled with no frills.

Puddings are limited to just 2 or 3 and the cheeseboard is sizeable slab of one cheese that rotates daily (I think).

The daily changing set lunch looked a great deal, 2 courses for £10 or 3 for £12. (It was on the day we went, a salad followed by black pudding with mash and poached egg and a chocolate pot)

The winelist is entirely French and quite short and they have Kronenbourg and one ale (St Austell Tribute) on tap.

All in all, 3 courses for two with a mid-priced bottle of wine comes in around £80. If you're in Cheltenham and looking for reasonably priced great food, I'd recommend the Royal Well

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Just thought I'd add in a post about the Royal Well Tavern in Cheltenham. It's been open six to seven months and I went again this weekend. It's just been awarded a bib gourmand so I went whilst I could still get a table.

What was a rundown pub is now a great little brasserie.  The menu is simple, you get exactly what it says. There's a range of dishes from £4 (rilletes with pickled chicory) up to £40 (whole fillet of beef) so you can go for the standard 3 courses, mix and match a few smaller dishes or just share one huge one.

The cooking has been spot on every time I've been, really good ingredients carefully handled with no frills.

Puddings are limited to just 2 or 3 and the cheeseboard is sizeable slab of one cheese that rotates daily (I think).

The daily changing set lunch looked a great deal, 2 courses for £10 or 3 for £12. (It was on the day we went, a salad followed by black pudding with mash and poached egg and a chocolate pot)

The winelist is entirely French and quite short and they have Kronenbourg and one ale (St Austell Tribute) on tap.

All in all, 3 courses for two with a mid-priced bottle of wine comes in around £80. If you're in Cheltenham and looking for reasonably priced great food, I'd recommend the Royal Well

What you said there and the menu on their website just convinced the lady to choose RWT for birthday dinner, good work! Very glad about it, chosen over brasserie blanc :raz:

Was the menu when you went similar to the website?

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Good stuff, hope you enjoy it :smile:

The menu was very different. It changes regularly, almost daily I think, so don't set your heart on anything.

Last saturday there was an excellent choice of dishes. On the smaller/starter side of things this included leek and parmesan tart, rilletes and prawns with aioli. The larger dishes included a whole fillet of beef, hot foie gras with rhubarb, rack of lamb with artichokes and a pork belly dish.

What you said there and the menu on their website just convinced the lady to choose RWT for birthday dinner, good work! Very glad about it, chosen over brasserie blanc :raz:

Was the menu when you went similar to the website?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Went tonight (last night now) to RWT, having been to lumiere on the night mentioned before instead.

Food was great all the way through, service was mediocre to unnecessarily/frustratingly disappointing. Will write up when i find the effort or time, which is more than likely to be a 3 hour train journey on sunday.

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  • 2 months later...
Went tonight (last night now) to RWT, having been to lumiere on the night mentioned before instead.

Food was great all the way through, service was mediocre to unnecessarily/frustratingly disappointing. Will write up when i find the effort or time, which is more than likely to be a 3 hour train journey on sunday.

Sounds like you didn't a great time? We go fairly often and has always been spot on even when the head chef doesn't seem to be there. Jay Rayner did a write up a while ago now in the guardian

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If i manage to find my notes (not even sure i wrote any), i really will try to do a write up tomorrow. I'm currently trying to conjure up a write up of anthonys piazza as well.

But to briefly answer your question/point, much along the same lines as my previous post. I really did enjoy the food, excellently prepared seafood, a fine steak, great chicken. I just thought that the service was just not on. Even if a restaurant is full, surely the staff and kitchen should be able to keep up. If not, why make more tables available than possible to cater for. It struck me as really quite unprofessional. More tomorrow, if i wake up.

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  • 1 month later...

Will be leaving in a few days to Oxford for a week for spouse's work. I've done a fair amount of research already on center of Oxford eating and most reports seem sadly pessimistic, but I've had a few good tips. My questions: can someone suggest a good place for fish and chips? We'll be staying near the center and will not have a car, so within walking distance is key. Also, where is the best place for Indian? Will be on a budget, so around 12 GBP each is the limit (no alcohol). Thanks!

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Will be leaving in a few days to Oxford for a week for spouse's work.  I've done a fair amount of research already on center of Oxford eating and most reports seem sadly pessimistic, but I've had a few good tips.  My questions:  can someone suggest a good place for fish and chips?  We'll be staying near the center and will not have a car, so within walking distance is key.  Also, where is the best place for Indian?  Will be on a budget, so around 12 GBP each is the limit (no alcohol).  Thanks!

The go-to place when I was there was Carfax chippy on the High St. I remember quantity rather than quality being the priority but it wasn't bad.

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Will be leaving in a few days to Oxford for a week for spouse's work.  I've done a fair amount of research already on center of Oxford eating and most reports seem sadly pessimistic, but I've had a few good tips.  My questions:  can someone suggest a good place for fish and chips?  We'll be staying near the center and will not have a car, so within walking distance is key.  Also, where is the best place for Indian?  Will be on a budget, so around 12 GBP each is the limit (no alcohol).  Thanks!

The go-to place when I was there was Carfax chippy on the High St. I remember quantity rather than quality being the priority but it wasn't bad.

Oh God, that takes me back thirty years to going there for saveloy, chips & curry sauce. Funny how one's tastes change over time...

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Any other recommendations for the centre of Oxford?

I'm just there one night and on my own - casualish place would do nicely.

Head in the direction of Little Clarendon Street and/or Jericho and have a look at the menus in some of the restaurants to see what you fancy.

We had lunch in Pierre Victoire a few months back and it was pretty decent brasserie food (but I've no idea how they do for dinner). Branca in Jericho is supposed to be good (but we haven't been there for several years). If you fancy Lebanese then try Al Shami. There are plenty of other options in that area if none of the above take your fancy.

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  • 2 months later...

Greetings,

Just to keep this alive, and apologies for any duplication and Oxford-focus: I think the Nut Tree in Murcot near Oxford is a good choice if you're mobile (and have a good satnav). There's a dedicated thread on it elsewhere here.

For a celebration there's always Le Manoir, but that's expensive and is mainly for the ambience and service (I'm not sure the food matches the location, though the food is certainly fine, and service the time I went in May 09 was wonderful, as good as anywhere I've been except Arpége in Paris and the Quay in Sydney). For business lunch in the city centre, Quod in the Old Bank Hotel is fine. For something also central but groovier/alternative you could try Vaults in the basement of the University church. For a hasty central sandwich lunch you could do worse than Mortons in the covered market.

Branca is ok, a short walk from the centre, and has nicely flexible hours and is very kid friendly. It can be quite cheap if you go early. The Old Parsonage is a bit too over-the-top-traditional-English ambience-wise but can be nice in winter time. For an informal pub meal you could do worse than the Rose and Crown, a short walk from the city centre on North Parade, with the falafel, or the pint of sausages, being a good choice. If you're positioned more towards Magdalen College, then I'd recommend the Cous Cous cafe on St Clements (an obscure but genuinely amiable choice), or, if you have a lot of time on your hands and are eating late, you can try the Hi-Lo Jamaican Eating House on Cowley Rd (though the food there is not super). For Thai the Chiang Mai Thai Kitchen is central and reasonable (and the fave of some of my more established colleagues here in Oxford) but can require a booking in term time. I often take visitors to Aziz on Cowley Rd because it's low key but nicer than the average Indian/Bangladesh place.

V.

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