I had been to The Yurt at Nicholsons Garden Centre years ago and had recently heard that, under the direction of a new Head Chef Andrew Carr who joined last March, the food offering had been taken up quite a few notches. So we went along one lunchtime to find out for ourselves. One quick look at the menu confirmed that this was indeed the case.
Andrew one of Oxfordshire’s most renowned chefs certainly knows his stuff. The new menu reflected the turnaround he has made to the food offering and they are now well on the way to establishing The Yurt firmly on the culinary map. All of the food sounded marvellous and immediately tempted our taste buds.
It was explained to us that it is locally sourced and sustainable, predominantly using North Aston Organics, Mayfield Eggs, Four Seasons Fruiters, Forge House Bakery, Martins Meats, local farmers for the supply of seasonal produce and not forgetting Nicholsons very own Kitchen Garden. So the menu now always contains fresh food all year round.
Quite frankly the menu was so enormously enticing that we did not know where to start.
So to kick things off we started with drinks Raspberry Lemonade, Organic Helles Lager and a glass of Tempo Al Vino Lianto Primitivo.
Followed by nibbles of Forge House Bakery sourdough with salted butter and extra virgin olive oil, Freshly baked homemade focaccia with Bessera dip and olive tapenade and a Bowl of house marinated olives.
The starters began to arrive and we greatly enjoyed the Twice baked Montgomery cheddar cheese souffle, pears, hazelnuts, and watercress with a sherry and balsamic vinaigrette. Uig Lodge smoked salmon scotch egg, village herb emulsion, cucumber and avruga. Longhorn beef tataki, satay aubergine, coriander, and radish.
Choosing our mains had been a formidable challenge but we finally settled on:
Pan roast Cornish hake fillet, confit fennel, spinach beet, Jerusalem artichoke ravioli and crab bisque.
Wild mushroom arancini, roast butternut squash, confit onion, sage and kalesalsa verde, crispy kale and tomato dressing. Slow braised Cotswold lamb shoulder, white beans, rainbow chard, creamed celeriac, and village herb gremolata.
To accompany these we had sides consisting of Shoestring skin on fries with truffle aioli, Sauteed organic greens with chilli and lemon butter and House salad with sherry vinegar and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Andrew has a well-deserved reputation for his desserts and we chose Frozen blackberry parfait, candied salsify, beetroot meringue, blackberries and sorrel. Dark chocolate delice, raspberry sorbet, candied hazelnut and chocolate tuille.Orchard apple tart, caramel, crème pâtissière, toffee ice cream and apple glaze. Homemade ice cream and Cotswold’s sorbet.
All of the desserts were breathtakingly good.
Whilst we selected from the main menu, they also have a very reasonably priced Set Lunch Menu on Tuesday to Thursday from 12.00 pm to 2.30 pm providing 2 courses for £20 and 3 courses for £25.
They also serve a wonderful brunch from 9.00 am to 11.45 am.
Many of us have met up with friends at a garden centre café and had a spot of lunch. Lunch at The Yurt at Nicholsons greatly transcends this. The food was a truly glorious eating experience full of exciting flavours and we all agreed that it was thoroughly exquisite.
It is a unique experience to enjoy fresh high quality food from local sources, perfectly prepared, brimming with flavours, artfully presented in a unique setting by knowledgeable, engaging staff.
The Yurt at Nicholsons
The Park, North Aston, Bicester
Open Mon to Sat 9.00 am to 2.30 pm
Closed Sundays and Mondays