July 27, 2018
The Oxford Blue at Windsor: The Pub of Sir Elton John
Windsor may be famous for the Queen’s castle getaway and the recent pomp and fanfare surrounding the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Central Windsor town is so often full of tourists taking advantage of the various eateries, but how about thinking outside the box (and the main town) and going to eat at a wonderful haven in Old Windsor, only a mile from the town centre! Easily accessible by car, taxi and on foot (if you love walking, it’s not impossible), you must experience the Oxford Blue.
The Oxford Blue is situated in this very location, in a peaceful part of Windsor and the only likelihood of catching a glimpse of ‘royalty’ would be to see Elton John, who lives only a stone’s throw from this fine pub and restaurant. Who knows, you may rub shoulders with him and his family.
Back to the Oxford Blue – it’s location is enviable, its ambiance supreme, but what really stands out is the quality and innovative food. With local provenance of high quality food, some of which is supplied by the Queen’s own farm at Windsor, you cannot fault any of the dishes, the ingredients of which are delivered fresh to the door. As for the staff – they really deserve applause.
Think country cooking with finesse – after all, the Chef Patron, Steve Ellis, did work with Gordon Ramsey and has now branched out on his own, accompanied by his girlfriend (soon to be wife!), who is an excellent pastry chef in her own right. Talk about a ‘Supreme Team’ – this is exactly what you get from the moment you put a foot inside the door of this lovely venue. This is a restaurant with passion, which is hard to come by these days. Coupled with excellent service, a clever sommelier (Margriet), you will get perfect food with accompanying, well-selected wines. Do consider having a ‘flight’ of wines, to accompany your choices from the menu – her selections are spot on the money.
Little touches really make this place. Try their homemade snacks, such as Smoked Cashews with a drink before eating – I never knew cashews could taste SO good! Fresh baked bread is served in a paper bag, ceremoniously ripped open in front of you, which adds to the flavour, the experience and the enjoyment. Beer fat chips as an accompaniment to any of the dishes are a great change from the frequent ‘soggy and tasteless’ ones in many other restaurants. These are just a few of the touches you will find make all the difference to your meal. By the way, the truffle mash is to die for!
The menu is not vast, but the quality is, if you are looking for beautifully cooked food that shows so much love by the kitchen. We started our experience with a glass of sparkling English wine from their great wine list and some delicious venison croquettes, which were moist and cooked to perfection. This venison came from the Royal farm – no carbon footprint here, it’s just down the road!
Both the signature dishes of Braised Suckling Pig’s Trotters and Beetroot Cured Salmon were a fabulous entry into our meal, served just as we were ready to pick up our knives and forks! The presentation for both was impeccable, particularly the pigs trotters, with a melting and slightly gelatinous texture. The contrasting apples on which this ‘boudin’ was placed, gave a wonderful acidity. Homemade black pudding and crackling made this dish complete. Licking our lips, we couldn’t wait for our main courses!
We both opted for meat for our main course – after all, with such meltingly delicious meat all but walking past the door, who wouldn’t? The steak was incredibly tender, full of flavour, and topped with a layer of oxtail and liver butter which really awakened your taste buds. Our other choice was the Roe Deer, which run freely in the Great Park. Such tender meat was incredible, and oh! the wild garlic mash and wild mushrooms gave the dish that special ‘something’ that only the taste can prove to you. Make sure you have the perfect wine to go with the main courses – Margriet will steer you in that direction for sure.
Even though we felt replete, we couldn’t refuse the scintillating desserts on offer! Lemon parfait hit the spot with a touch of genius mixed up with ginger ice cream – a colourful spectacular! Our other choice was Banana Soufflé – we were a little concerned that this would be on the heavy side after such a filling meal, but our worries were unfounded – it was light and a totally sweet dream with chocolate and a toffee sauce. Making that at home would never be the same!
A huge stamp of approval for this great chef and his team. Food was above excellent, service impeccable and surroundings wonderful. Even though we visited on a sunny day, this place will still have the ambiance in the winter months – a pure haven to enjoy such wonderful food and presentation. We are dying to go back and try the Sunday Lunch or get a group together for the famous ‘Wine Attic’ with picturesque views over the countryside. It’s a must do, and Steve will take full advantage of the seasonal changes and local provenance.
10 Crimp Hill Road,
Old Windsor Berkshire,
T: 01753 331077
W: Oxford Blue Pub
Written by Rapha Zurita for Luxuria Lifestyle International