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Published October 25th 2016
Dining in the heart of Timaru
Crumbed Sole Fillets, green pea & potato mash, lemon, bacon mayo @ The Oxford Timaru (photo instagram @neelsmcgee)
Step into The Oxford in New Zealand's South Island and you will feel like you have entered a modern yet authentic British pub. This is testament to the vision of the venue, which was created by Michael and Clarissa Doran. Both Michael and Clarissa have worked and travelled overseas working in some of the UK's best dining establishments and front of house (respectively). After twenty years abroad and opening his own restaurant in Queenstown, Michael and Clarissa head back to Timaru to create a gastro-pub menu with quality local produce and low and behold; The Oxford is born.
Located on Stafford Street, The Oxford serves up a mean lunch to patrons and visitors alike. The menu is centred around simplicity with many of the ingredients left to shine in their best form on the plate. The bistro menu with a Kiwi and European influence, works harmoniously to create tantalising tastes for the palate. Hearty meals, a reminder of grandma's kitchen, are at play, with favourites such as pork chops, Yorkshire puddings and crowd favourite mac and cheese.
Sirloin Minute Steak Medium Rare or Well Done Creamy mash, sautéed cabbage, gravy, onion rings @ The Oxford Timaru (photo instagram @neelsmcgee)
The Oxford has three distinct areas which will suit all patrons. Firstly, there is The Bar, which is popular for those who are after a drink. With local and international craft beers, wines and spirits, there is an option for everyone. There are also non-alcoholic options such as fresh squeezed juices, coffees and teas.
The Brasserie, is home to most of the action and buzz, great for light meals to kick off the afternoon. The menu consists of varied snacks including Duck Wontons, Garlic Loaf, Olives, Cheese Platters as well as their signature Makikihi Fries, which go down a treat when teamed with their homemade tomato sauce.
The Dining Room is the main attraction and a perfect setting for those who want to focus on their company and the food in front of them. nestled in a cosy area at the back of the venue with wooden dining tables, paintings and heritage chairs, giving it a very sophisticated feel.
Mac and Cheese with crispy bacon @ The Oxford Timaru (photo instagram @neelsmcgee)
The food at the Oxford is a knockout. It is easy to see why the venue has been voted #1 best restaurant in Timaru time and time again on Tripadvisor. The staff are attentive always alert so you will never be without your cup full. The food options and serving portions are just the right amount and priced reasonably for the quality and freshness of the produce.
Our party of six enjoyed our selected items. The Mac and Cheese with crispy bacon was hearty and creamy without leaving you feeling too heavy. The Sirloin Minute Steak with creamy mash, sautéed cabbage, gravy and onion rings also adorned our table and was cooked medium. The knife just carved through the portion effortlessly and was perfectly balanced with the sautéed cabbage and creamy mash.
The standout dish for seafood lovers will be the Crumbed Sole Fillets Green pea & potato mash, lemon, bacon mayo. The fish is crumbed and the inside light, white and fluffy. The restaurant serves a few pieces 2-3 of the sole so you will not be hungry. The bed of pea and potato mash is a fantastic filler with the bacon mayo, or what I like to call, baconaise perfectly complimenting the fresh sole.
The Oxford is a must for anyone passing through or staying in Timaru. The restaurant also caters for children with a specialised kids menu. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the dessert but the sound of the Salted caramel sundae seems too good to be true and a must for anyone who still has room left in their tummies.
Quirky Photograph @ The Oxford Timaru (Photo by Praneel Lal)