Bardwell Road, Oxford, OX2 6ST
Situated on the idyllic banks of River Cherwell, this beautiful Victorian boathouse treats diners to beguiling views, stunning modern British fare, and the opportunity to enjoy punting, one of Oxford’s best-loved traditional pastimes. Built in 1904, Cherwell Boathouse was taken on by Anthony Verdin, a local entrepreneur and connoisseur of fine food and wine, in 1968 and is now run by his eldest son John Verdin and his dedicated, friendly team. Steeped in charming tradition, the elegant restaurant is locally renowned for serving beautifully presented dishes that make the most of locally sourced, seasonal produce. Head chef Paul Bell leads a hard-working team, serving up the likes of pan-seared scallops with Puy lentils, smoked bacon and butternut squash purée, and roasted breast of guinea fowl with Dauphinoise potatoes, Mediterranean vegetables, and carrot and ginger purée. For a delectable seafood feast, plump for the grilled mackerel with saffron, orange and fennel salad, followed by the roasted hake with chive-crushed potatoes, pea purée, and white wine and caviar sauce. Strawberry mille-feuille with Champagne sorbet, and peanut and pistachio salted caramel with chocolate and ice cream are triumphant desserts worth saving room for. The food is complemented by an award-winning wine list, which offers great value for money and an exceptional variety of famous producers, rare wines, and vintage bottles. Weddings, parties and corporate events are hosted throughout the year in the restaurant and a spacious marquee, situated on the terrace overlooking the river.