Brookes Restaurant - Oxford

My husband works at Oxford Brookes University and has always raved about the onsite restaurant, run in part by the students. So when both parents came to visit the other week it seemed the perfect opportunity to try it out and see what all the fuss was about.

We were greeted charmingly and warmly by James, the Assistant Manager of the establishment. Although slightly early for our reservation, we were escorted to our table and promptly served with homemade bread and menus.

The menu had a refreshingly 'summer' feel to it; well something has to, the weather certainly doesn't! Hampshire watercress puree with scrambled duck egg and soda bread graced the starters, while Glazed fillet of Shetland Salmon with lobster sauce and summer vegetable pilaf starred on the main courses.

There were five of us in our party; two plumped for the three course option at a very reasonable £15.95 while the rest of us opted for the two courses at £12.95.

My mother-in-law and husband both went for starters and enjoyed the Watercress and Pulled Pork respectively. Both dishes went down extremely well and set a good standard for the rest of the meal.

As a newly pregnant lady I missed out on the wine option! However, I have been reassured that the Reisling was a winner.

Anyway, back onto the food. The main meals arrived swiftly once the starters had been cleared with our party venturing for the char-grilled rib-eye with garlic butter, duck fat chips and a warm mushroom salad, the salmon and vegetarian option of Aubergine, goats cheese and red onion timbale and a salad nicoise. All dishes were attractively served with satisfying portions - certainly no-one was left feeling hard done by.

All the meals were received well, even if the nicoise salad did cause some discussions about that only parents can manage to draw out, about the 'traditional' ingredients and sadly lack of anchovies on the non-vegetarian portion! Anchovies aside, it was an extremely pleasant round of meals.

So onto desserts; the strawberries and ice-cream option was a clear winner with three of us opting for the delight. The menu proudly displayed the fact that the strawberries had come from the local Millets Farm. And rightly so; they were everything a strawberry should be; succulent, juicy and sweet. The balsamic vinegar jelly on the side was a unique twist to the otherwise traditional dessert. Other desserts enjoyed by the table were the Passion fruit brulee tart and a selection of British cheeses with home-made chutney.

All in all I am pleased to report that my husband continues to have good taste in restaurants and he picked a winner with Brookes Restaurant. The service throughout the meal was polite and prompt without being too overbearing and pushy - something not every eatery has managed to suss out yet.

For the price of the food, the quality was exceptional. The general feeling of the restaurant is clean and crisp with plenty of space for diners. Brookes restaurant is clearly a must for anyone visiting the city of dreaming spires. Scrap that, it's a must for anyone who likes good food - local or otherwise.

Oxford Brookes Restaurant is based on the Brookes University Headington campus, Gipsy Lane. www.restaurant.business.brookes.ac.uk

Gem