We've been really spoiled for new restaurant openings in Bicester over the past few months. We've had several new chain outlets open in the new development, all of which I've enjoyed visiting, but nothing has excited me as much as hearing about the new independent offering, "The Copper Kitchen" which has recently opened up the top of Sheep Street opposite Denis and Shakil's.
Unlike the other new openings, I wasn't aware of this one in advance. It opened quietly without a lot of fanfare a month or two back, but soon came to my attention as I began to read glowing comments about it on the Bicester Town Centre Chat page. I was keen to get down there and try it as soon as possible and so last night (Saturday 15th February) we booked in and headed up there to find out if it really was as good as everybody says.
It was a three-pronged celebration last night. Firstly it was the day after Valentine's Day, secondly it was the day before my birthday and thirdly I was celebrating finishing and publishing my new book "The Sausage Man". I have been working really hard on this over the past few weeks, determined to finish it before half term so that I could have a proper break from the children. It was all done and dusted by Thursday so now we can relax a bit and enjoy half-term. We've got all sorts of outings lined up.
So with work all done and dusted we were able to head off last night to Copper Kitchen. As soon as I walked in I felt at home. It's a small and intimate Bistro setting - the main dining area being not much more than a large front room seating about twenty. In this era when everything is big brash and bold this makes a refreshing change. It's all very rustic too - bare wooden tables and exposed stonework with an open fireplace. It's the perfect place if you want to go for a quiet meal with your partner.
What about the menu? Well it's simplicity itself, just a single sheet of A4 paper with a selection of about four starters and eight mains. This also meets with my approval - I can't be doing with huge elaborate menus of several pages where you have to wade through looking for what you want. There's something for everyone in the choices and we didn't have any difficulty choosing what we wanted.
We also didn't have any problem choosing the wine. My eyes were instantly drawn to an Argentinian Malbec, the same one I've bought from Majestic in the past, so I knew I couldn't go wrong.
The food is all freshly prepared on the premises and it certainly showed - lovely fresh bread and salads. I had the mackerel pate for my starter which came in a little pot reminiscent of the rillette I had in Paris. It came with some deliciously warm fresh bread. Claire had a Parma Ham salad which she assured me was excellent. For our mains we went for Sirloin Steak (me) and Confit of Duck (Claire) both of which were top notch. As it was a special occasion we pushed the boat out and had desserts too - a rather nice selection of cheese and biscuits in my case.
After the meal the owners both came out and had a chat with us - that's another beauty of a small intimate setting - you just wouldn't get that in the branch of a restaurant chain. I explained what I did for a living and that I would give them a good write up.
Some would probably do this before the meal in order to try and get preferential treatment but I prefer to remain anonymous until after the meal to get an unbiased perspective. I certainly would never want to turn into one of these egotistical "Do you know who I am?" type characters, that's for sure. If they are reading this and want to thank me, they could always buy a copy of my book!
Not for the first time I was thinking I really should get myself some business cards with details of my books on them, because often when I meet people I tell them about my books but I've nothing concrete to show them. That's definitely going on the things to do list!
To sum up the Copper Kitchen then - lovely intimate little Bistro with gorgeous home cooked food - just what Bicester needs to complement the current offering. I highly recommend giving it a try, but make sure you book first to avoid disappointment. Here's a link to their facebook page:
After the meal we did a little tour around town. First we went to see our singer friend Mark "Sparky" Harding who was performing his repertoire of swing classics at the Ashton Club. Then we went on to the White Hart and the Kings Arms where another friend, Duncan was on DJ duty.
All in all a most enjoyable night, just what I wanted for my birthday and now I'm enjoying a leisurely morning at home with the family. Claire has bought me the film "Rush" for my birthday which I never got round to going to the cinema to see so tonight we shall be watching that tonight. The perfect treat for an F1 fan of the classic era!
Jason's third book, an hilarious account of his adventures in the world of sausages, is now available. Click here for more details: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Sausage-Man-Britains-Official-ebook/dp/B00IF4LB8S