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Any Excellent Restaurants in Oxfordshire?


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We will be visiting Oxfordshire for a week and staying at the wonderful new small luxury boutique hotel in Woodstock called Hope House Hotel.

It's a once a year special splurge for us, so we're really going all out and not worrying about the budget.

(We have dinner reserations at Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons, and will be crossing our fingers to see if we can also get into Fat Duck one evening.)

But we are looking for truly excellent foodie experiences for our other meals, nearby to Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Waddesdon Manor.

These are the following recommendations we have gotten from the newspapers, but we were hoping that someone here who has actually dined there could give us some feedback as well.

Adam Simmonds at Danesfield

The Nut Tree in Murcott

Lords of the Manor

Feathers Hotel

Not sure if these are the BEST places to go as far as extrordinary food - or if LeManoir & Fat Duck will blow these others away and we shouldn't expect too much.

Please help, in as much detail as possible with regard to taste, presentation, quality, service, atmosphere, etc.

Or if you have some other suggestions that you think are superior to these four above, that would be welcome.

Thank you ever so much! It's hard to decide when we live so far away.

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Of the four places that you mention we have dined at three of them, however only one of them recently.

The Nut Tree is the odd one out as it is no where near as formal as the others its just a very special village pub, but we really enjoyed it and its Michelin starred and very good value indeed.

Of course The Feathers could be described as a village pub but from memory (admittedly along time ago)it seemed more formal, and of course the food is not recognized by the guides.

Lords of the Manor was a frequent dining spot of ours a decade or more ago. Classic honey coloured Cotswold country house hotel in a sleepy village. It holds 3 AA rosettes and is Michelin starred. During the week it used to be very quiet so if buzz is important you would need to choose your day.

Danesfield House has 4 AA rosettes but is not Michelin starred, I have seen photographs of Adam Simmonds(chef) food and it looks terrific so along with "Lords" a visit this year is for us in order. Again it can be described as country house hotel and somewhere in the past we visited it but not to dine just as a pit stop on the way back from the races (Ascot).

Hope this helps.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Dear David,

Thank you again, as you helped me on my other question as well!

Yes, it did help. I think it is worth it then to find the Michelin starred restaurants in Oxfordshire,

even if it means an hour's drive or so from where we are staying.

If we lived there, we would enjoy the more casual approach, but since this is such a special trip, we are going to go for the amazing memory venues!

Plus, the drive through the countryside should be pretty, if there is still enough daylight at 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the end of April.

Too bad there aren't any Michelin starred restaurants in Oxford! They must not get enough luxury traveller/diner traffic to justify it, shame.

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Yes Le Champignon Sauvage is always good.

If you want an excellent country pub try Ruchetta at Peppard - it is in the Chiltern Hills north of Reading between Reading and Henley. It is a lovely location for lunch and has an Italian owner and very good Italian chef. We had their set lunch today - two courses for £10 and it was superb. Wild mushroom with devilled kidneys were delicious followed by spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce with crab. Freshly made tomato sauce was made with flavoursome ripe tomatoes with a very fresh taste and not overcooked and stewed as so often is the case. It arrived steaming with a basil fragrance and the crab was all the way through the dish right down to the last delicious drop which I cleared up clean even though I was full to bursting! Their a la cart menu is not cheap but there are some superb dishes on it - it is well worth a visit :biggrin: .

Edited by Pam Brunning (log)

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

My link

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This isn't what you want to hear but I think Le Manoir is seriously over priced for what has become fairly ordinary food. Reservations aren't that hard to come by because the restaurant is huge for a 2 star place with I'm guessing 100ish covers.

I'd be very interested in how you find it because I've heard they have cycles of great and mediocre, and it's where I first took my wife before we were married and had our honeymoon and first anniversary. I want it to be good again. Both times I've stayed the rooms have been beautiful, and for the money they should be.

My cousin lives in East Hendred, Oxon and we had a very good meal in the Wheatsheaf there. Would certainly recommend that. It's not Michelin Star but very enjoyable highish-end pub food. We were there in October and they had some lovely game specials.

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Sheepish,

Totally agree with you. Went last April for lunch, and aside from how lovely the Conservatory room was at Le Manoir, my feeling was that it was 1 star food at 3 star prices. Except for the asparagus, which were superb:)

In that vein, found Waterside Inn to be an enormous disappointment.

Fat Duck's theatrics were wonderful with the molecular gastronomy, but the food at The Square and Hibiscus were both better.

Maybe it is just that everyone has their individual favorites, but it seems that 2 and 3 stars should consistently be superb - and they are not.

Michelin seems to be a way to gauge quality, but then maybe places get lazy after a while. I can't think of any other way to explain it.

If Adam Simmonds at Dansfield House has 4 AA rosettes and has been recently listed as the "19th best restaurant in England", then how is it that it doesn't have Michelin stars -- but a pub such as Nut Tree or the Hand & Flowers, has one?

Edited by Loving Annie (log)
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LA

You know I completely misread your first post and thought you were saying you were booked in the LMQS for this trip. I was in two minds whether to mention it because I'd hate to put a downer on anyone's bookings, and just because I thought recently it had slipped to very mediocre someone else may love it. The first time we ate there about 4 years ago we had 10 stunning courses and I can still name every one. The times since have drifted away significantly.

I've purposely not mentioned anywhere I've got The Square booked in April - first proper meal out we would have had in a year, small children and farm animals taking precedence. But as you've mentioned you liked it, and I still haven't found anything particularly ordinary written about it, I'll tempt fate and mention it now!

Edited by sheepish (log)
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Good Thursday morning to you, dear Sheepish.

Go to The Square! Most assuredly go to The Square. Had an excellent meal there last April, and also in 2008.

I have a website that has all my Michelin starred London restaurant reviews if you want to take a peek.

TrueTravelTreasures.blogspot.com

We just made reservations for Lords of The Manor.

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and has been recently listed as the "19th best restaurant in England",

This must be the listing in the Good Food Guide. And I have to confess I have no idea how they come up with this ranking. There is a whole group of "cooking score 7" places and it is claimed they are ranked "in order of merit" but there is nothing to indicate how this might have been determined. In the listing, Danesfield is sandwiched between Hibiscus and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

John Hartley

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As sheepish has said there are many pubs which offer good food, but in terms of the better places within Oxfordshire I would single out the following:

  • The Nut Tree - already mentioned and fairly close to where you are staying
  • The Mole Inn - at Toot Baldon just south of Oxford, which has a Bib Gourmand
  • The Magdalen Arms in Oxford - Duncan wrote up our visit here
  • The Boars Head at Ardington (near Wantage)

Further afield, but closer than Cheltenham, is Allium at Fairford, which is definitely worth a visit if you have the time.

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I have a website that has all my Michelin starred London restaurant reviews if you want to take a peek.

Some very interesting posts and pictures on there. I confess to being a bit of a meat and wine man on my rare adventures in high-end dining, but I like your approach lots, and unusual to see reports from the less artery hardening side of michelin stars.

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Sheepish,

Thank you.

You'd be fun to go to the Michelin Starred restaurants with then - I could cover the vegetables, pasta and dessert -and you could cover the fish, meat and wine! We'd have quite a comprehensive review to write up afterwards:)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good Monday morning to you, Bainsey. How are you?

I read that article.

If there is some additonal recognition given to them by Michelin, GFG or AA, then we would definitely try it on a future visit.

Read some 2010 local reviews which were not as favorable, which is why we are hesitant right now.

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