Skip to main content

No results found

Eat, Sleep, Drink, Eat

Top 5s of 2018:

Restaurants

divider
“This is certainly not cooking by numbers, nor is it unhindered flamboyance or sous-vide over substance.”
the pointer 1

It's been an incredible year in the culinary world of Oxfordshire's resaturants, Michelin stars have been won and Kuba Winkowski of The Feathered Nest won National Chef of the year. Here Jack Rayner and Toby Hambly offer their thoughts on the top 5 restaurants of the year.

Jack Rayner said…

The Pointer, Brill

Thick cuts of grouse come with a fragrant juniper gravy that you wish came by the half-pint, and fondant potatoes caramelised to the point of near-indecency... I’m not even going to attempt to give off an air of balanced argument or detached criticism: this place is absolutely fabulous on every conceivable level – from the unusually spacious table layouts to the flawlessly attentive and palpably engaged front-of-house staff, and from the bold flavours on the plates to the satisfying weight of the cutlery you enjoy them with.

Top 5 of 2018 Restaurants The Pointer at Brill Dining Room
The Pointer at Brill Dining Room

Orwells, Shiplake

When the menu begins in earnest you really begin to appreciate chefs Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman’s skill, not just in their ability to deconstruct British classics and assemble witty amuses-bouches, but in dreaming up exceptional flavour combinations and executing them with utter finesse. Squid and oxtail comes accompanied by ice-cold horseradish cream, samphire and a crisp, paper-thin sourdough cracker, a deft balancing act of meaty depth and ocean salinity… This is a truly special place to eat.

Tpo 5 of 2018 Restaurants Orwells Ryan and Liam Simpson Trotman
Orwells, Shiplake L-R: Ryan and Liam Simpson-Trotman

The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote

A sliver of cured salmon is brought to life with a trio of multi-coloured beetroots, dill and caviar. A rich, tender sweetbread carries assertive depth without straying towards becoming overpowering, and an obscenely large scallop is draped with air-dried ham, the flavours elevated with a sweet-sour hit of vinegary escabeche. This is smart, assured cooking laced with just enough of head chef Kuba Winkowski’s Polish heritage to provide a fabulous reimagining of the ‘modern British’ formula.

Top 5 of 2018 Restaurants The Feathered Nest Westcote
The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote

The Bell, Ramsbury

This is ludicrously confident cooking, never looking to reinvent the wheel but rather pushing each dish that little bit further than you expect, with absolutely knock-out flavours at every turn. The people of Ramsbury are blessed to have this place on their doorstep, and I implore you to go and try it for yourself. Phenomenal.

Top 5 of 2018 Restaurants The Bell at Ramsbury
The Bell at Ramsbury

Toby Hambly said…

The Greyhound, Letcombe Regis

A single octopus tentacle comes still seething from the grill, arranged dramatically against a ridge of cooling watermelon and tomato tartare. A dollop of charcoal mayonnaise marries the two, bridging the gap between the smoky mollusc limb and its refreshing counterpoint… This is certainly not cooking by numbers, nor is it unhindered flamboyance or sous-vide over substance. The Greyhound’s humble a la carte menu is staffed by fundamentally robust flavours, each dish focusing on the quality of its protagonists.

Top 5 of 2018 Restaurants The Greyhond Letcombe Regis
The Greyhond, Letcombe Regis © Ben Nicholson

RECOMMENDED

Mothers Ruin July Isle of Harris Gin Highland Cow
Tue 9 Jul 2019

Mother’s Ruin July

Isle of Harris Gin

The Isle of Harris lies off the far north-western coast of Scotland, separated from a distant mainland by the rough seas of The Minch. In a modern world, tradition holds fast there through a Gaelic culture of language and song. Among this rich heritage the Isle of Harris Distillery produces spirits worthy of bearing the island’s name...

Core Values July Water Pouring into Cup
Tue 2 Jul 2019

Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water; it’s the primary building block of our cells. It makes up around 73% of our heart and brain, 64% of our skin and 31% of our bones. Even our body fat is 10% water. It’s such an important tool for our overall health, wellbeing and performance and yet it’s one most of us neglect on a daily basis...

Eid Street Party Eid Mubarak Candlelight Letter Blocks
Wed 29 May 2019

Eid Street Party

Restore, The People's Fair & The Asian Cultural Centre

Restore, The People’s Fair and The Asian Cultural Centre are hosting an Eid Street Party for hundreds in Manzil Way on Saturday 8th June! Their family fun day will be packed with lots of stalls, live music, and a food court with Fresh BBQ and Halal Food. They'll also have face painting, Henna, and Restore’s beautiful gardens to relax in...

Beer You Can Feel Good About Customers and Containers
Thu 23 May 2019

There are around 2,500 breweries in the UK. Given the sheer quantity of beer out there, how do you set yourself apart? While some plumb the depths of Willy Wonka flavours (avocado stout anyone?), others look to flashy branding and catchy names. Stroud Brewery, in contrast, looks to the environment and its community, making beer that doesn’t cost the earth...