Top awards for the best restaurants in Oxfordshire
"Oxford is one of the country’s most multi-cultural cities and two of the restaurants shortlisted for Best Asian Restaurant are based in the city, Yeti Nepalese on the famously foodie Cowley Road, and Shanghai 30’s"
The overall 2015 Restaurant of the Year title was awarded to Kay and Mark Chandler of the White Hart, Fyfield
The couple have been at the historic fifteenth century inn for 10 years. Kay was delighted with their double win – they also received the top prize in the gastro pub/bistro category, beating The Castle at Edgehill, The Quince Tree at Stonor and The White Horse at Kings Sutton.
Kay said: “We are honoured and excited to receive this prestigious award. We genuinely love what we do and gaining this recognition makes all of the hard work and long hours we have put in worthwhile. We could not have achieved this accolade without the support and hard work of our fantastic team, who share our passion, dedication and enthusiasm. This is the hugest well done we could ever hope to receive!”
The White Hart was voted top restaurant of the year by a team of judges chaired by Alain Desenclos, Ambassador for Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons where he was restaurant director for more than three decades, and himself a previous winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award. Elvio Freitas and Mourad Ben Tekfa presented the Belmond Le Manoir Award for Excellence to The Mole Inn at Toot Balden.
Helen Brind, Head of External Development and Partnership at the City of Oxford College (part of Activate Learning) was on the judging panel and led the team of 16 and 17 yearold college students who prepared and served the three-course gourmet dinner. The students are all studying BTEC and NVQs in public services, travel and tourism and hospitality and catering.
Helen said: “It is an amazing event for the students to be involved with, many of whom only started at the college a few weeks ago.” The students prepared a menu which not only looked but also tasted amazing, and received a standing ovation from Oxfordshire’s top gourmets and restauranteurs.
She said: “The awards are not just about the food, it’s about the whole experience: the welcome, the venue and the facilities. It’s about the whole rounded experience.It’s important to recognise the amazing food we have in the county.”
Last year’s overall restaurant of the year winner, Shaun Dickens at The Boathouse, Henley-on-Thames was just pipped at the post by Restaurant 56 at Sudbury House Hotel, Faringdon for the county’s best gastronomic restaurant award ahead of The Kingham Plough.
Oxford is one of the country’s most multi-cultural cities and two of the restaurants shortlisted for Best Asian Restaurant are based in the city, Yeti Nepalese on the famously foodie Cowley Road, and Shanghai 30’s. They were joined in the shortlist by The Snooty Mehmaan in Faringdon. Yeti Nepalese won the top accolade.
Best traditional pub was won by another White Hart – The White Hart at Minster Lovell, beating the Baskerville at Henley-on- Thames and The General Eliott, Oxford.
The public vote, a hugely rewarding category to win, was presented to The Greyhound at Besselsleigh, and The Living in Oxford Magazine Editor’s Choice went to The Oxford Kitchen while Malmaison won best service.
In one of the most hotly contested categories, Aston Pottery was presented with the prize for best Express/Deli/Café ahead of Café Aloha and Oxfork.
The ethos behind the awards is not just to celebrate the best dining in Oxfordshire, but also to nurture new talent. Nick Lander, restaurant critic of the Financial Times said: “The restaurant profession is the most open profession in the world.The willingness of chefs to share with other people is phenomenal, and second to none."
To underline this, The City of Oxford College Trainee Award marks a huge boost of encouragement at the beginning of Amy Bulgin’s career. Amy is an apprentice working at the The Red Lion, Northmoor and the two runners up, James Kenny and Joshua O’Rourke at the Eyston Arms, Wantage.
The Award of Distinction for his outstanding contribution to hospitality and catering was presented to Donald Sloan of Oxford Brookes University, founder and chair of Oxford Gastronomica.
The beautifully crafted awards were designed by the National School of Furniture and the evening raised £3,500 for British Red Cross, the food supplied by Aldens, one of Oxfordshire’s oldest family owned businesses having been established in 1793 with wine supplied by Oxford Wine Company and champagne by Laurent-Perrier.
Next year there will be a new Award for sustainability, sponsored by Good Food Oxford. To find out more, and to enter next year visit oxfordshirerestaurantawards.co.uk
Related Articles: Sudbury House Hotel