I like heading to Oxford for a day out; it’s not too far away and there are plenty of good places to eat and drink. I don’t know it terribly well so always tend to head to the areas I know rather than spending the day seeking out somewhere new. I recently used Quandoo for the first time to find somewhere to eat in Oxford; there were so many places I hadn’t heard of it was a bit of a job to choose where to go! Turl Street Kitchen sounded like my kind of food so I booked it online and went the next day.
Turl Street Kitchen is, not surprisingly, on Turl Street in Oxford. It’s quite unassuming from the outside but if you’re ever nearby make a beeline straight for it. This is some of the best food I have had in a very long time. The restaurant itself is very simple and basic; tables, chairs and not a lot else but I like that. The staff were excellent and really knew about the food they were serving.
I was pretty impressed with the range of drinks they had on the menu; soft drinks, a good range of wines, local beers and ciders, teas, coffees and more. Just reading through the drinks list took a while but there was something for everyone.
We started with bread and butter. Both made on the premises and both really delicious. The bread tasted like it was slightly enriched and for £2 a portion I loved that the price reflected the simplicity of the ‘dish’. There was no premium added for it being made on the premises and I thought that was a really refreshing attitude to menu pricing and not one you see very often.
I went straight in for my main: purple sprouting broccoli, white beans, herb crumbs, rocket and aioli (£11.50). I loved how the PSB was the main star of the dish; this was all about vegetables and making the best of them and it was really enjoyable. Immensely filling this is probably one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had out and it was so good to have several vegetarian options to choose from and I wasn’t just faced with a mushroom risotto. I’m not a vegetarian by the way but I think the vegetarian dishes offered at a restaurant tell you a lot about the chef.
The OH had beetroot, endive, Oxford blue, radish, apple (£7) which was a huge bowl of colour, texture and flavour. Surprisingly filling, fresh and with a lot of respect paid to the simple, but high quality, ingredients used in the dish.
Pudding was chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce, chocolate cornflake parfait (£6) which I’m so glad I saved room for. It had a fantastic balance of sweetness to bitterness and the sauce that came with it was melted dark chocolate whisked with water to give you an intense chocolate flavour without any creaminess which I really enjoyed. The chocolate cornflake parfait topped it off perfectly.
I mentioned that I used Quandoo to book this lunch so you might be wondering what it’s all about. It’s an online table booking service; the difference with Quandoo is that you collect points each time you book a table or leave a review and then when you have saved up enough points you can exchange these for a voucher for money off your next meal. I suppose it rewards you for having a meal out; not that I need any further encouragement! The majority of restaurants on Quandoo in the UK are based in London but there was a good range of restaurants (type, location and price) within Oxford and I wouldn’t have found Turl Street Kitchen if I hadn’t used it. It’s easy to sign up to and to use and I haven’t had any annoying emails since signing up trying to tempt me into booking another table so that’s always good!
Turl Street Kitchen was a great find and I loved the simplicity of the menu; one starter, six mains, two desserts. It was great to find that half of the main courses were vegetarian and that the price of a meal that included meat or fish wasn’t automatically more expensive but that the prices were reflective of the ingredients, time and skill involved in the dish. I will definitely be going again.
This meal was paid for by Quandoo. All opinions expressed and words are my own.