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“If you're not in a hurry...”

Rooftop Restaurant Ashmolean
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Ranked #97 of 691 Restaurants in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $27
Cuisines: French, Welsh
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Delivery, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Home Style
Transit: A 10 minute walk from Oxford train station, and very close to Oxford bus station.
Description: A celebration of food and wine alongside art and culture. The Ashmolean Rooftop Restaurant provides the spectacular setting for Oxford's first and finest rooftop restaurant. Our menu is fresh, seasonal and inspired by current exhibitions.
Reviewed December 13, 2011

Most of the criticisms of the Ashmolean Dining Room, seem to be directed at the service and on the basis of my visit, I can understand why - sort of.

We arrived, on time, for our 1330 lunch booking. We stood next to the sign asking patrons to wait for seating and we waited…and waited. We made eye contact with a man who seemed to be the manager, as well as a young waitress but neither spoke to us, or even acknowledged us. The problem was plain to see. Potential diners were entering from another door, enquiring about the availability of tables. As the restaurant was absolutely jammed, they were given a lengthy apology and (I presume) a time at which a table would become available. Meanwhile, those of us fortunate enough to have booked a table were left to wait. I can’t be sure of the exact duration but it was long enough for me to consider abandoning my booking. After all the “walk-ins” were dealt with, we were eventually shown to our table, with no apology for the extended wait.

From that moment on, the service became very professional. After seating us, our waiter asked would we like a pre-prandial drink. My wife and I ordered drinks but the waiter returned with just a jug of water. He apologised, saying that our drinks would be delayed, as the bar had “run-out” of one of the ingredients. After ten more minutes, we eventually got our drinks - one of which, (a Negroni), was very poorly made. At this point, I had very low expectations of what was to come.

However, my fears were unwarranted. We both chose ham starters, my wife the Serrano, figs, Chardonnay vinegar and honey syrup, whilst I had the Trealy Farm air-dried, with celeriac rémoulade - both were first rate. For the main course, I had the lamb rump, which was simply delicious and my wife had the braised rabbit which was also very good, if a little heavy on the grain mustard in the sauce. The excellent waiter suggested that we may need a side order, so we had some French fries – extremely good. The portion sizes were a little on the small side but for the price, about right. We both had the mixed cheese plate for dessert and the whole thing was washed down with a bottle of Merlot/Corvina blend from Ponte Pietra.

The cooking and our waiter, really saved the day. The dining room is undoubtedly popular and when busy, cracks in the service are evident. Had we been forced to wait a mere two minutes more, then I would have simply walked out and delivered the appropriate review. Is it acceptable to have patrons waiting for an eternity, whilst you engage potential diners in lengthy discussion, regarding table availability? I do have some sympathy but then again, all I want to do is sit at the table I booked, at the time I booked it, and not fifteen minutes after arriving at the restaurant.

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Thank JandApe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,024 - 1,028 of 1,087 reviews

Reviewed November 28, 2011

If it isn't enough to visit the newly refurbished Ashmoleum then to make your day complete visit the Dining Room.
It is on the top floor and offers panoramic views over Oxford. The food is sublime: gorgeous monkfish, elegant salads. Really good food with a twist (not weird or experimental) but Cauliflower and truffle oil soup, gorgeous,
Kids menu is very small but my 7 year old said the home made fish fingers were the best he had ever tasted.
Always book and ask for a table near the window to get the best view. In summer you can sit outside on the terrace and look for the roof statue who only has a front...when she was put up they never expected anyone to see her from the back! Prices are mid table, about £6/£7 for a starter and up to about £17 for a main but wonderfully fresh, hot, beautifully presented. Wine can be ordered by the glass and tap water on the table without asking. Fab place! go as soon as you can..

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Thank jumpingjules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2011

The evening started badly as we had been told that we could only book at 8pm as they were fully booked before then but when we arrived the place was empty. The starters were fine but the mains were truly awful. I had the seafood platter which consisted of a pile of frozen prawns, a pile of smoked salmon, some pickled herrings and a pile of capers. Nothing had been cooked and there was no skill or thought put into this dish. When the wine arrived it was a different vintage to the one stated in the menu, we were charged for a more expensive wine with no reduction or apology. The waiter was intrusive without actually being helpful and was completely unable to calculate the gratuity. If you are going to market yourself as a high end restaurant you need to have trained staff and proper chefs. This enterprise is just not good enough and is letting down Oxford.

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1  Thank elpoto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2011

Rather hidden away at the top of the Museum, this restaurant is a great place to enjoy a meal with friends. It's fairly quiet (no loud music ) so you can actually have a conversation without having to raise your voice.

The food is also great - the mixed seafood starter in particular is surperb as is the lamb main course.

It also boasts an outside terrace - too cold to use during the winter but it looks fabulous for the summer and I imagine the view over Oxford is great! Not the cheapest place, but for £40 / head you can have a very enjoyable two course meal and a bottle of wine.

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Thank Randomtox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2011

My wife and I ate here recently. The new Ashmolean is wonderful - we were here all day.

Enjoyed the restaurant - good food and prompt pleasant service. Prices quite reasonable.

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Thank Merckx01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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