Ben Bullen, head chef at The Feathers in Woodstock, loves his job and is never happier than heading up his team in the historic hotel’s busy kitchen, creating some stunning dishes.
Which was good to know when we arrived for a late summer date night dinner this week.
The hotel, bar and restaurant is bustling, which is unsurprising as Ben’s food has a reputation all of its own, and as we made our way out to the garden with two very fine botanical G&T’s following closely behind, we felt like we were on a mini break in a top European destination – well I guess we were!
“Oxfordshire has some fine eateries and this hotel is right up there with the best”
It was a glorious evening, and it was increasingly clear that everyone was as pleased be “out out” and making the most of eating alfresco on the final days of what has been a strange summer, as we were.
We could have had inside seating but wanted to enjoy the garden while we perused the deceptively simple menu.
READ ABOUT HEAD CHEF BEN BULLEN HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/two-aa-rosettes-masterchef-the-professionals-and-a-new-head-chef-position-why-ben-bullen-is-at-the-top-of-his-game-at-the-feathers-in-woodstock/
This hotel has taken Covid-19 restrictions firmly in its stride with calm and grace and the new rules certainly did not take anything away from our evening.
We started with the chargrilled courgette salad with watermelon, feta and a herb vinaigrette which was sharp, light and very tasty.
“We didn’t chat – we just ate. It was sublime”
Inspector Morsel’s first choice was always going to be the Fowey mussels with confit onion, chorizo and parsley with sourdough. Plump, full of flavour and cooked to perfection. We didn’t chat – we just ate. It was sublime.
For the main event we went for the crispy Windsor pork belly with braised cheek, watercress mash and spring onions.
we began wondering if we could move into The Feathers permanently so that Ben and his team could cook for us all day every day
This was declared an ‘award winner’ by Inspector Morsel, and I had the roasted fillet of cod with roasted garlic white beans, fennel and a caviar dressing. Delicious, moist, full of flavour and lots of it – a delightful fish dish.
It was at this point that we began wondering if we could move into The Feathers permanently so that Ben and his team could cook for us all day every day.
Ben’s passion and love of food is obvious, and he cooks with ambition, skill, love and attention to detail
The dishes we enjoyed sounded simple but the skill and finesse evidenced in their creation was obvious from the start.
Although entirely full already, it was date night so a pudding was a must.
A dark chocolate pot with mango salsa for Inspector Morsel and I went for the raspberry frangipane tart (of course I did – I can never resist pastry).
The chocolate pot was indulgent, sexy and beautifully naughty, a real treat. My tart was divine – delicious flavours and the crispiest, lightest pastry.
I always love an expert’s advice, so when the attentive and lovely staff made suggestions for the perfect drinks to pair with our food, we were putty in their hands; from the welcome gin and tonics through to Inspector Morsel’s dessert wine, they were spot on.
Our evening at The Feathers was memorable for all the right reasons. Oxfordshire has some fine eateries and this hotel is right up there with the best.
Ben’s passion and love of food is obvious, and he cooks with ambition, skill, love and attention to detail.
Go to The Feathers for lunch or dinner and see for yourself. Highly recommended.