Having eaten outside at some wonderful external spaces recently, it was lovely to venture into Brasserie Blanc in Jericho in our family bubble for a slap up festive meal inside the light, warm interior.

despite the reasonable prices – brasserie blanc still feels ultimately luxurious

The Christmas menu has just been released and it was nice to be back at one of my favourite Oxford restaurants, like meeting an old friend and remembering how well you get on.

But that’s the problem with old friends, you think you know everything about them, and yet they are still full of surprises, and our night at Brasserie Blanc was certainly full of them.

Raymond Blanc’s local is as elegant, stylish and understated as ever, beautifully decorated for the festive season, the competent staff and lovely friendly waitress had us seated in no time.

Discreet glass divides separate the tables to ensure maximum safety, so you feel relaxed and comfortable. And despite the very reasonable prices – £22.50 for two courses and £32.50 for three – it still feels ultimately luxurious there.

a triumph of a meal and a stern reminder never to take your favourites for granted

There were four of us, so some opted for the festive offering, others the a la carte, and there was plenty to choose from.

Perhaps wrongly, as a regular diner you return to your favourite dishes time and time again, and the souffles qualify.

The cheese souffle

With the ever-so-patient waitress returning for the umpteenth time, we finally chose; from the Christmas menu the classic prawn cocktail with prawn toast which is now so fashionable again, and from the a la carte the MUST HAVE cheese souffle with a Wyke Farm cheddar sauce and the interesting sounding Morteau sausage and potato salad with a poached egg, endive salad and a Dijon mustard dressing.

The star of the day: the Morteau sausage and potato salad

My daughter got stuck into the latter and allowed me a bite, at which point I immediately called over the waitress as if my life depended on it, and changed it for my main, which meant I never got to try the halloumi burger with winter slaw, but I’ll save it for another time.

Can I tell you know about the sausage and potato salad yet? It’s such a pleasure to even recount such an epic dish

But before I wax lyrical about this incredible dish, I mustn’t do a disservice to the other wonderful starters. The prawn cocktail was unashamedly old school and absolutely spot on. The cheese souffle, which arrived with the sauce on the side for you to pour decadently over, was delicate, tangy and a dream as ever.

Reluctant to move onto the mains after such a feast, they didn’t disappoint. The Holly Farm free range turkey with chestnut stuffing, slow roasted vegetables (including potatoes), bread sauce and port gravy, sounded remarkably English, but was very continental in its presentation. The flavour followed, the meat was moist, succulent, and actually tasted of turkey, which might sound obvious, but is often hard to distinguish. Ooh and some great stuffing.

The turkey main course

The kids had the burger (free range Cornish) and chips, and Le Grand steak frites with herb butter, which disappeared without a trace, and enabled us all to eat a family meal with great pleasure, for those worried about picky children.

Can I tell you know about the sausage and potato salad yet? It’s such a pleasure to even recount such an epic dish. It sounds so simple and yet there was so much flavour and texture packed in. The sausage for a start – soft, salty, flecked with fat and worth moving to Morteau for. But when combined with the perfect cooked marinated potatoes, the strong mustardy dressing, the crispy endive enveloped by the yolk from the poached egg, it was absolutely divine.

The irresistible selection of desserts made for rather a smooth transition.

Yes we had another souffle, but as it was the infamous pistachio with a rich chocolate ice cream I am completely unabashed about that. Deceptively brown, and softly crisp on the outside, green and sweet inside it was a delight as always.

The winter spiced bread and butter pudding with brandy anglaise was another exemplary dessert, softly soaked with booze and custard, suitably festive and a nice twist on a classic.

The chocolate fondant is always a test, here transformed with a spiced orange and passionfruit sauce, orange creméux, confit orange & stem ginger. The attention to detail was stunning, so despite coming up trumps with its oozing centre, it was the citrus inspired accoutrements that brought it together.

So a triumph of a meal and a stern reminder never to take your favourites for granted.

And yes, of course I’ll be back soon. I’m ready for some more surprises.

https://brasserieblanc.com/restaurants/oxford/#

KATHERINE MACALISTER

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