Well, this is an unusual review for me. It’s a review of what would usually be Michelin starred restaurant, Oxford Kitchen, but had since re-branded to 215 Kitchen & Drinks. The review would usually take place in the actual restaurant, but it’s now a takeaway, in my kitchen.
COVID has flipped the dining world upside down, and many venues have since launched takeaway services. I recently chatted to 215 Kitchen’s Exec Chef, Paul Welburn, about the why and what behind the change, so won’t go back over all of that. Let’s just get straight into a 215 Kitchen takeaway review…
So what is takeaway from a Michelin starred chef like?
It’s not your average food delivery. The food arrives all portioned out in various containers and vacuum packing, ready for you to heat up and plate up yourself at home. Not great if you’re trying to reduce plastic and packaging, but I think many venues will struggle with this and learn to develop more sustainable solutions.
You get a menu with instructions, and can also access videos on the @215Kitchen Instagram page for how to plate up. There were also some added extras included to create more of an experience – a candle, some umbrella straws for the cocktails, face mats. There was also a small bottle of hand gel included – which says ‘stolen from two one five’ on it, so no telling!
Our order included the 3-course Saturday night menu (currently £25pp) of gin & tonic cured salmon, glazed pork and chocolate pudding. We were also given samples to try of the country bread and flavoured butters (£5), chicken caesar arancini (£6), and two vegetable sides (£4 + £5), plus half bottles of the recommended wine pairings.
I’ll let you in on a little secret before I continue. It was bloody good. All of it.
Firstly, let’s start with the bread and pre-starter of arancini balls.
Those little risotto balls can often be a miss with me – too dry, too tasteless, too dull. Not these. These were moist, plump little bombs of flavour. Needing fifteen minutes to warm through in the oven, these were a lovely scene setter for the menu to follow. And the butters that came with what was also an excellent bundle of bread – freshly warmed through in my own oven – were heavenly. One butter full of yeasty marmite flavours, the other with a citrussy salmon taste.
Honestly, those butters, that bread, those arancini balls, THAT MAYONNAISE. It’s entirely unadulterated food porn, one mouthful after another. We saved any leftover mayonnaise for sandwich levelling up the next day.
Our starter of gin & tonic cured salmon is a classic of Paul’s, making a regular appearance on the menu at Oxford Kitchen. It’s a well-deserving dish to reappear. Light, fresh, fragrant; with another spoonful of excellent mayonnaise on the side, this time dill.
Our wine pairing absolutely sung with the fishy dish, and I’ll be looking that bottle up again.
Mains and dessert continued to please
I really struggle to fault the food so far. All of the individual ingredients were good enough to be noteworthy. Combine the flavours together though, and wow, it hits all the right notes.
The glazed pork, meltingly tender and full of flavour. The carrot and cardamom puree, sweet, silky and dense of flavour. The potato and truffle gratin, full of truffle flavour with potato sliced perfectly thin.
I almost missed out the crackling crumbs, not seeing them on the instructions menu, but they were a pleasing addition of seasoning and texture.
There were some powerful flavours on that dish, but not a single one outshone another when eaten together. And again, another very well-paired wine.
The chocolate pudding dessert was simplicity done well. Warm chocolate sponge with a passion fruit curd and vanilla crème. Not too dense, not too rich, not too big. A good way to wrap up after all those flavours.
We finished the meal with clean plates, empty glasses and none of that gluttonous feeling. Everything had been portioned correctly, without being overly heavy, so no need to roll away from the table. Despite the proximity to our sofas!
At this level of cooking, I won’t bother mentioning the fact we didn’t need to season a thing, how we didn’t need to trim anything or set something aside. It was as close to perfection as you’ll get at this price point.
And “what is that price point?”, I hear you ask.
The introductory offer is an astonishing £20 for two-courses (normally £25) or £25 for three-courses (normally £30). You can add to that too if you’d like the bread, side dishes, cheese & crackers, cocktails, or wine.
For everything that came in our delivery, including the alcohol, you’d pay £119 for two people.
Would I order it again? Absolutely. Both of us enjoyed the entire menu and wine pairings, I also enjoyed the experience of finishing and plating the food myself. The quality is absolutely worth it, too, especially if you’re looking for more of an experience or celebration meal. I can’t wait to try it ‘in setting’ when we’re allowed back inside restaurants.
Collection or Delivery is available from 12:00pm – 8:30pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday each week. If you have a dietary requirement, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Pescatarian options are also available.
215 Kitchen & Drinks
215 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7HQ
01865 511 149
We sampled the delivery as complimentary, all views remain our own.
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