Cotswold Lodge Hotel
On a chilly evening in the pouring rain, we found the perfect spot for some delicious dining and respite from the unappealing conditions outside. The Cotswold Lodge Hotel, on Oxford’s Banbury Road, is a stunning establishment both inside and out, with its attractive Victorian architecture for arriving guests.
Once inside, we were directed to 66A – the venue’s outstanding restaurant – and promptly seated. My dining partner and I perused the menu, tempted by each and every mouth-watering option on offer. We eventually settled on the Devonshire crab with gazpacho dressing, endives and pickled raddish along with the rabbit ballotine with fig chutney and puff barley, and we were most defi nitely not disappointed. Both dishes were works of art, clearly assembled with care and attention, and the flavours equalled this extraordinarily high standard. The fig chutney and the ballotine was a perfect pairing, while the puffed barley provided an additional texture to round off the dish. Equally, the crab was a resounding success and was thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish by my companion.
For the main course I opted for Salt Marsh lamb rump and braised shoulder accompanied by boulangére potatoes, artichokes, baby gem and lamb jus, while my companion plumped for steamed brill with langoustine bisque, lemongrass gnocchi, and autumn baby vegetables. Once again both dishes were a delight to behold and we devoured every morsel with gusto. The lamb was succulent and tender, with an unashamedly rich flavour, while the boulangére potatoes were simply irresistible. My partner was delighted with her exquisitely cooked brill, which she declared a symphony of beautiful flavours. We were also treated to sides of truffled French fries and tenderstem broccoli, which both more than met our expectations.
Dark chocolate marquise with damson sorbet and hazelnut praline, and banana parfait served with blackberry ice cream, salted caramel and popcorn crumble rounded off our feast. The two dishes were decadent and luxurious, a theme which ran through the entirety of our wonderful meal.