It’s rare to find a restaurant that offers a stunning location and unpretentious food. In London often you have to make a compromise between presentation and comfort. Travel into the Oxfordshire countryside and you’ll find a venue that impresses from all angles at Eynsham Hall.
The Brasserie at Eynsham Hall occupies what was once a billiards room and maintains much of that old-world charm and relaxed atmosphere. Comfortable banquet-style seating effortlessly combines with an impressive stone fireplace, and copper accents throughout the space give homage to the family that used to own the property, who made their fortune from copper mining.
As it’s only open for a couple of hours every evening, you really don’t get the sense that the staff are run off their feet when you arrive for dinner. My plus-one and I are greeted by a friendly Portuguese maître d’, who I later find out is from the beautiful Porto, where I’d recently visited on a press trip. He seats us straight away and offers a jug of water while we decide on drinks.
Head Chef Simon Bradley’s menu is uncomplicated and perfect for the chilly weather outside; there’s a few starters, a handful of mains and a couple of desserts from which to choose. I go for prawn cocktail to start, while my partner has the chicken liver and port parfait. Mine is slightly fishier than I’m used to, even for a fish dish, but it’s still a great opener to the meal.
It’s a difficult decision for the main, but I’m quite hungry so I settle for the Eynsham Hall burger served on a brioche bun with bacon, cheese and fries. The bacon, while normally the perfect addition to a burger, proves to be too much on the salty side for me so I go without, but that doesn’t detract from the satisfaction I get from the rest of it. The fries, too, could stand to have less salt. My guest, on the other hand, seems completely pleased with his lamb.
Full as we are, we can’t resist sharing a creamy rice pudding with our warming cappuccinos before retiring to the Gun Room bar for a cheeky G&T to finish off the night.
In addition to the Brasserie, Simon and his team serve up delicious dishes for private dining in Eynsham Hall’s event spaces.
The Brasserie at Eynsham Hall, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 6PN; 01993 885 200; eynshamhall.com/dining