English accent: Parsonage Grill in Oxford piles on luxury and ravishing flavours
Assuring imperial hospitality and immaculate cooking in bohemian-lit surroundings, Parsonage Grill in Oxford piles on luxury and ravishing flavours
Adjacent to the St. Giles Church at the northern end of Woodstock Road, a trail leads to the hub of
the town, filled with fitting long-standing pubs and Oxford academies with their bright green courtyards opened by petite wooden entries.
Sitting pleasingly relaxed among them is this Oxford favourite called Old Parsonage. The name is as historic as the place. The priest of the medieval hospice, which stood on the site since the Norman Conquest, had his dwelling here next to the ancient church of St. Giles.
The Old Parsonage is a unique boutique hotel. Past an appealing piazza with sizeable umbrellas for summertime dining and the unique front door understood to date from 1660, one reaches the reception hall, with a novel stone fireside and sizzling fire.
With its impeccable setting in the core of Oxford, amid institutions and picturesque old pubs, Old Parsonage relishes an exciting assortment of guests, such as professors, parents and vacationers who have come to absorb one of the loveliest metropolises in the UK. Syndicating unprecedented charm and charisma, its restaurant Parsonage Grill is renowned for its avant-garde, cliquish ether, exhibiting an incredible pool of varied oil paintings.
As your furs are taken and reservations chequered, you’re steered to the bar, which is a destination in its own right. Wear your heels or best threads and book ahead for a cocktail. That eating continues to the dusky, whimsically lit elevated dining room, lined by proprietor Jeremy Mogford’s extensive collection of English portraits, mainly of celebrated authors and artists. The contemporary kitchen uses the finest local produce to make classic, humble yet pioneering British dishes, a masterwork of contemporary aspirations.
Although the 55-day matured ribeye, hand-cut chips, green salad and horseradish butter, plates of seafood salad with Greenland prawns, hot smoked salmon, white crab and grilled gamba hold centre stage, don’t ignore their memorable starters as seasonal British ingredients are the leads. Expect imaginative small-plate dazzlers along the contours of the twice-baked goat’s cheese and thyme soufflé, for example.
There are so many outstanding small plates, we’ll have to rattle them off like a shopping list: dense, meaty hand-picked white crab with a punchy mayo; perfect juicy seared king scallops with shallot purée drizzled with over tangy brown butter and bacon; ruby beetroot tartare with hazelnut butter.
Smoked haddock, Cod fish cakes and confit duck with red cabbage are hot favourites. The dishes surprise and delight. All spot on, from the cast of clever wasting snacks (made from ingredients fated for the bin) to its excellent home-cured meats, Cornish fish and seasonally bag the game.
Unexceptional? Yes. Reasonable? Yes. Superb? Yes. All in all, an utterly glamorous experience. From Edward Selwood’s 17th-century lodge to the existing tasteful hotel, Old Parsonage lingers to be a retreat of worthy cordiality.