What: A 16-cover first floor restaurant with just six tables situated in Embassy Gardens in London’s Nine Elms. Adjacent to Oxeye’s fine dining restaurant is Bar Rex (pictured above), an informal bar serving sharing plates with tables available for walks-ins only. The restaurant takes its name from the Oxeye daisy that thrives on roadside verges and wasteland and which flowers from July to September
Who: It’s run by Sven-Hanson Britt, a finalist on MasterChef: The Professionals back in 2014 and winner of the show’s 2019 Rematch special with Katrina Smith, founder of virtual wine tasting company Tipple Talk, overseeing the restaurant’s predominantly English wine list.
The food: Britt has opted for a tasting menu only approach with guests seated at the same time to help with the flow of the kitchen. Dishes change regularly but canapes include a wickedly good sourdough with smoked potato and an ethereal slice of sily pork fat served on a crisp potato. While there’s something Rogan-esque about the earlier smaller dishes, such as Scottish lobster with brown butter and black truffle; a consommé of chargrilled swede served with laurel-aged Charleston Gold Rice, which comes to the table in a Japanese clay pot called a donabe mixed with sweet chestnut and artichoke, Britt’s training under The Ritz’s John Williams also comes to the fore later on. This is especially evident in his dish of braised Cornish hake with girolles, beach herbs, cauliflower and a 'champagne' sauce made with Nyetimber Tillington sparkling wine; and the most interesting dish of all, a very accomplished Jacob sheep saddle with fresh seaweed and turnip that Williams would be proud of. Lunch is a shorter (and cheaper) affair than dinner (£65 vs £99) with lunch taking around one-and-a-half hours and dinner twice that length.
The drink: Oxeye’s commitment to local sourcing extends beyond food, with a wine list of more than 200 English and Welsh wines by the glass. There is a rest of the world section should anyone not want to put their trust in Smith but many of the English options, in particular the sparkling varieties, more than hold their own against their more far-flung counterparts. In a fine dining restaurant first, Oxeye also serves a British class drinks flight comprising sparkling and still white English wine as well as a beer thrown in for good measure.
And another thing: Britt had originally intended to open Oxeye in rural Derbyshire and almost did so in early 2017 when he submitted a planning application to take over a disused building near Sutton on the Hill. He eventually abandoned the plans due to financial constraints.