Earlier this week I caught up with Paul Welburn, Executive Chef at 215 Kitchen & Drinks, which was recently awarded it’s first Michelin star and 3 AA Rosettes as The Oxford Kitchen. Straight after receiving such grand accolades seems an odd time to re-brand, but then we’re not in usual times!
So with 215 sharing quotes online like “food that tastes as good as it looks, but won’t break the bank”, what is the new concept?
Here’s what you can expect from 215 Kitchen & Drinks:
1. Paul Welburn remains Executive Chef
Meaning the food itself won’t be making any dramatic changes; so fans of the restaurant need not panic. Fundamentally, Paul’s style and quality of cooking will remain true for the new concept.
For those unfamiliar with Paul Welburn:-
He hails from Scarborough in North Yorkshire, where he began his culinary journey in catering college while working in The Star Inn’s kitchen, in Harome. Paul later moved to London, spending two and a half years at Rhodes in the Square under Gary Rhodes.
In a move that sounds very appealing, Paul then took on a role as a private chef on a yacht in Cannes, in the south of France. This helped to further broaden Paul’s experience and knowledge of local food.
Paul’s next moves included a tenure at The Gherkin, under Brian Hughson and Richard Corrigan; then Rhodes W1 at The Cumberland, initially underneath Gary Rhodes but later on his own, after the restaurant achieved a Michelin star and three AA rosettes.
Another change saw Paul join Searcys, overseeing several restaurant openings before taking on his own with them, Tonic and Remedy in Hoxton. Before taking on the role of Executive Head Chef at The Oxford Kitchen, Paul took the reins of The Leconfield restaurant in Petworth, West Sussex.
Paul also appeared on series 9 of Great British Menu in 2014, representing the North East. His ‘Blackout Beef’ for the main course looked absolutely amazing – with caramelised ribeye, deep-fried bone marrow, ox heart, potatoes and carrot, and a glass of stout on the side.
If you haven’t tried Paul’s food before, you can read our latest review of Oxford Kitchen.
2. Many dishes from The Oxford Kitchen will remain for 215
Paul has been taking to Instagram to highlight a number of dishes from Oxford Kitchen that won’t be going anywhere – see below.
View this post on Instagram
Dishes like this will return when we reopen .. gin cured halibut , chilled oyster cream, cucumber , lemon and radish @215oxford soon we are launching our take home weekly menus .. beginning the rebuild @michelinguide @oxinabox_new @bittenoxford @stayhomeeatout @thestaffcanteen
View this post on Instagram
This octopus , romesco , squid ink , ajo blanco will be hitting the menu again when we reopen .. our new website will be launching very soon and our take away / delivery menu packages will be starting in the coming weeks also .. @215oxford @michelinguide @bittenoxford @oxinabox_new @stayhomeeatout @thestaffcanteen @thecaterermag
And fans of the Gin Cured Salmon can breath a sigh of relief, that’ll be back too!
3. Tasting Menus give way to Three-Course Menus
This is one of the biggest changes, bar #4 & #5 below.
In the past, three-course menus were only available at The Oxford Kitchen on a weekday. To make 215 more simple, less restrictive and more accessible, three-course menus will be the new norm.
That being said, tasting menus won’t be gone completely for the long term, and if you’d prefer a multi-course meal, you can still order larger volumes of smaller plates.
The ‘on the side’ extras the new bistro theme will be offering for takeaway are designed to add to the experience also. And don’t be surprised if VIP dining and a Chef’s Table appear in the future, when social distancing is no longer an issue.
This is all meant to offer better value for the customer, as the minimum cost of a meal will be reduced, but do not expect a decline in quality of produce or cooking expertise.
4. New Look, New Name
The restaurant has been repainted and renamed 215 Kitchen & Drinks. According to Paul, the intention was to become more of a neighbourhood venue, rather than mostly a destination venue. So the same quality food, but with the hope you eat there more often.
The name comes from it’s location – 215 Banbury Road in Summertown.
5. Delivery & Takeaway services will be available!
Now this is a biggie. From 11th June, 215 Kitchen & Drinks will be offering takeaways, with deliveries to follow too! Takeaways will be available from Thursday – Sunday to begin with, with a separate three-course menu for each. Additional extras like wine flights, more drinks, bread, snacks and cheese will also be available to order.
Orders will be taken via the website, with a limited number available for launch. The new website with ordering function is set to launch 1st June: twoonefive.co.uk.
We’ll be trying it out soon so we can let you know what we think!