The Nut Tree in Murcott

The Michelin awards were held virtually tonight (Monday) and while only two Oxfordshire establishments held onto their Michelin Stars, with no new names being added, 33 Oxfordshire pubs and restaurants are now listed in the esteemed guide.

“I would like to thank and congratulate each member of my team for retaining our 2 Michelin stars and also to be given a green star for sustainability” Raymond Blanc

The esteemed hotel and restaurant guide, which awards up to three Michelin stars for excellence to a select few establishments, made the announcements last night, in what was intended as a boost of positivity to the industry.

The Nut Tree in Murcott held onto its Michelin star for the 13th year in a row. Run by husband and wife team Mike and Imogen North, the pair told Ox In A Box. “We are so pleased to have retained our Michelin star for the 13th year and are so incredibly proud of all of our staff who have helped us maintain this accolade. 

“Since the outbreak it has been so difficult for everybody both business-wise and personally, and it continues to be incredibly worrying.

“We hope The Nut Tree can survive and reopen, as this is not only our business but our home. We look forward to welcoming all of our guests back with warmth and gratitude and hope for a brighter future.”

Mike North (far right) at the Oxinabox Food Awards last year with fellow chefs Paul Welburn and Kuba Winkowski

Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir in Great Milton retained its two Michelin Stars for the 37th year in a row, an astonishing achievement and one that all of Oxfordshire will be celebrating, alongside exec chef Gary Jones.

Raymond Blanc told Ox In A Box: “I would like to thank and congratulate each member of my team for retaining our 2 Michelin stars and also to be given a green star for sustainability. It is now 37 years that Le Manoir has retained its 2 Michelin stars and has kept this level of excellence.  

Raymond Blanc at his beloved Le Manoir

Paul Welburn, head chef of 215 Kitchen and Drinks, which was awarded a Michelin star last year under the auspices of The Oxford Kitchen, forfeited its star when the Summertown restaurant changed its name last year to adapt to the pandemic.

Paul said: “After a tough and devastating year it’s great to see that the Michelin Guide has brought positivity to our industry and so many new restaurants being awarded stars.

“I was also pleased to see the two jewels in the Oxfordshire crown retaining
their stars – a testament to the teams and owners of The Nut Tree and Le Manoir.

“I am happy to have 215 entered in the guide and look forward to pushing on again when we can safely reopen, welcome our loyal customers back again, continue the hard work and who knows…..try to bring the star back to Oxford again.“

Raymond Blanc and Paul Welburn at The Oxinabox Food Awards last year. Picture by Ed Nix

Michelin itself acknowledged the difficult times being endured by the hospitality industry due to the pandemic, with so many restaurants and pubs closed, saying that 2021’s awards aimed to “promote the industry as much as we possibly can.”

“We are not blind to the harrowing times we live in,” the statement continued, “and are more than aware of the hardships being faced by so many. No one can deny that what the hospitality industry is suffering through is nothing less than tragic.

“We want to celebrate the many amazing restaurants in Great Britain & Ireland and all the hugely talented chefs and restaurateurs. We want to shine a light on our industry, to keep people talking about it in the media and remind everyone of what we have, and to bring news of our great restaurants to a global audience.” 

Mike North of The Nut Tree (left) with Paul Welburn (right) of 215

On another positive note 33 Oxfordshire restaurants now warrant a listing in 2021’s Michelin Guide.

These include The Bell at Langford, Five Alls in Filkin, The Plough in Kelmscott, Eyston Arms in East Hendred, The Chequers in Berrick Salome, The Greyhound Inn in Letcombe Regis, Killingworth Castle in Wootton, The Bell at Hampton Poyle, Pompette in Summertown, 215 as mentioned.

Pompette team

Plus, The Lamb in Crawley, Harcourt Arms in Stanton Harcourt, Arbequina on Cowley Road, The Old Swan in Minster Lovell, The Red Lion in Northmoor, Oli’s Thai in East Oxford and its neighbour The Magdalen Arms, The Swan in Ascott under Wychwood, Wild Thyme in Chipping Norton, The Swan in Swinbrook, Chequers in Churchill, White Hart in Fyfield, Muddy Duck in Hethe, The Wild Rabbit in Kingham.

Oli’s Thai’s aubergine curry

Olivier at The Red Lion in Britwell Salome, The Sir Charles Napier in Sprigg’s Alley, The Miller of Mansfield in Goring, Crockers in Henley, Bistro at The Boathouse in Henley, The Bottle and Glass Inn in Binfield Heath and Orwells in Shiplake Row.

Ryan and Liam at Orwells

Katherine MacAlister

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