Brookes Restaurant

Lunch at Brookes Restaurant, Oxford

Brookes Restaurant is part of Oxford Brookes University and enables students to hone their skills if they are training in hospitality management.

Brookes is situated on Gipsy Lane and is easily accessible by bus and car. For parking onsite I would advise you to  book in advance to reserve a space, as it can get busy.

Brookes Restaurant, Oxford

The restaurant aims to help students embrace the culinary and ethical principles in a ‘real life’ setting and students also have the opportunity to run themed events at the restaurant.

They run a 2 hours service to the public from 12pm to 2pm Monday to Friday, where the students help in the kitchen and front of house. Brookes Restaurant can also be hired out for meetings, weddings, private dinners and canapé receptions; the restaurant itself can comfortably seat up to 80 people.

Brookes also runs courses which begin around April every year. The Cookery and Wine School, is now recognised as one of the county’s top cookery schools.

I came here last week with my mum to try their lunch menu, as each month they change their menu to suit each season. The menu we tasted was their May menu which will end Friday 1st June.

The menu was clearly written and presentable, with 2 courses for £14.50 and 3 courses for £16.50. They also provided specials but we thought the main menu sounded more intriguing!

My mum and I decided to have the 2 course option; she started her dish with a Devonshire Crab – Smoked Salmon & Avocado. Fennel & Apple. For her main she chose the Kelmscott Pork Belly & Fillet – Jersey Royals & purple sprouting broccoli with spiced Rhubarb, which I also ordered the same. For my dessert I decided to try their Mango Panna Cotta which was topped with Pineapple & Spiced rum syrup and coconut snow.

They bought out the starter with warm homemade bread, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle just how I like it – my mum praised the bread, some may know that when I go out with my mum she can be very particular about her food having owned a restaurant herself, but hallelujah she loved it!

The starter mum had chosen had a dominant salmon flavour, which paired nicely with the apple slices, creating a fresh and sweet aroma. The presentation was creative, with a delicate portion, and a great palette cleanser to begin the experience.

Our main was the Kelmscott Pork Belly & Fillet – another creative dish, with great flavours and textures that worked well together, however I do prefer my pork less on the tough side but all and all the dish was superb!

The Mango Panna Cotta was great. The flavours were delicious! The mango and pineapple captured the tropical flavours that danced around my tongue, which created a creamy and smooth finish to a wonderful lunch experience with my mum.

To top it off a perfect lunch we ordered a hot chocolate that came with a sugar powdered cubed marshmallow, which we added to sweeten the chocolatey flavour. Before our drink reached our table we could smell the strong coco flavour, making us excited to drink the hot chocolate. The taste was slightly bitter but it balanced my taste buds after my rich dessert!

I mentioned earlier that Brookes hosts cookery classes; last year I attended one of them- a 10 Week Cookery class – which was held every Wednesday evening. Each week we were taught something different!
They covered the basic knowledge in the kitchen, to starters and right through to the end of a course the desserts –

Week 1 – Knife skills, soups and garnishes Week 2 – Yeast (bread)
Week 3 – Stocks and sauces
Week 4 – Pasta and risotto

Week 5, 6 and 7 – Meat and fish (starters and main courses) Week 8 – Pastry – rough puff, choux, shortcrust and batters Week 9 and 10 – Desserts

Sharing my pictures and experience from last year’s cookery course:

It was a great experience to be taught by passionate chefs. They were happy to help and share their cooking expertise, very knowledgable as most of them have had previous experience in catering and hospitality before working for Brookes University. I highly recommend their courses. It was a very insightful experience, you get to meet likeminded people willing to learn and gain culinary skills. To find out more about their courses please see link.

My overall experience of Brookes Restaurant dining was superb! The customer service was on point, a big smile when you walk in. Front of house staff (3rd year students) were professional, they were very knowledgeable when we asked about the dining events that are held at Brookes. The restaurant itself is clean and spacious, I felt the restaurant was open and airy with natural light flooding through and plenty of room in between tables. I would highly recommend having lunch here, if you fancy being looked after and enjoy eating delicious food!

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