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Reviewing The Oxford Blue restaurant in Windsor

PUBLISHED: 16:02 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:02 07 January 2019

The pig's trotter starter

The pig's trotter starter

Jonathan Thompson Photogography

First-class service and delicious, imaginative dishes make The Oxford Blue in Royal Windsor a real dining destination

It was a cold and wet Saturday lunchtime when we arrived at The Oxford Blue, but our welcome couldn’t have been warmer. Our coats and umbrellas were whisked away and the smiling front-of-house staff guided us to our window side table where we could gaze (albeit through the rain) at the lovely countryside view.

After extensive renovation, Chef Proprietor Steven Ellis opened his pub/restaurant in 2017, and word has travelled fast since then about its food, service and all-round fabulousness.

Steven cut his culinary teeth at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, working alongside the charming Joint Restaurant Manager Daniel Crump. Add Daniel’s wife, wine expert Margriet Vandezande-Crump, to the mix and it’s no wonder The Oxford Blue has such exacting standards.

The joy of this place though is that by moving out of the capital, Steven has been able to create a more relaxed venue where local produce inspired by the restaurant’s proximity to Windsor Great Park takes pride of place on the table. So gone are fussy offerings in French, replaced by an à la carte menu and a good value set lunchtime deal, packed with dishes you’ll actually want to eat.

Despite the rain, The Oxford Blue was booked out for a lunchtime sitting, with couples and groups of friends of all ages enjoying the professionalism and sophistication of the food and staff. Margriet is on hand to help guests with their wine choices, and she suggested we start our meal with a sparking British wine, Bolney Bubbly, which is crisp and delicious. An amuse- bouche of venison croquettes, fresh out of the oven, arrived to take the edge off our hunger as we looked at our menus.

Whilst carnivores will love this place, the menu doesn’t skimp on vegetarian options either, and my mushroom tart starter with its deep flavour and crumbly pastry was good enough to make me seriously consider turning veggie.

Every dish on the menu has been created with love, tested out time and time again, and presented in such a beautiful manner that you’ll find yourself reaching for your phone to photograph what’s on your plate. But don’t be fooled, it’s not just the presentation that’s first class, the sheer depth of flavour in each dish will make you say “wow” out loud.

The stand-out dishes for us were the very clever pig’s trotter starter, with its incredible flavour combinations and flamboyant presentation, complete with mini crab apple and egg yolk, and the moreish apple tatin with gingerbread ice cream.

But food aside, the staff here deserve a pat on the back too. From the unseen chefs to the charming cheese waiter, everyone here goes the extra mile for their guests.

The Oxford Blue is serious about its food and customers, yet there’s a real joie de vivre in the dining room and its adjacent bar. A visit here will make you fall in love again with eating out and it can only be a matter of time before it earns its first Michelin star. Book now before the waiting list gets too long.

10 Crimp Hill, Old Windsor SL4 2QY; oxfordbluepub.co.uk; Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday–Saturday plus Sunday lunch.

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