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Somerset Food's new feature writer, Annie Vickerstaff, dicovered some welcome changes at The Oakhouse Hotel

By 09:08 , , , , ,

One of the most imposing buildings on Axbridge Square, this handsome hotel has enjoyed a major transformation in recent months. Gone is the rather gloomy, unwelcoming look, replaced by light, airy and thoroughly modern decor that invites you in. And to complement this stylish makeover there is a fresh new Cafe Menu incorporating Mediterranean, Mexican and traditional English favorites: something for everyone.

Kirsty Lambert is responsible for refurbishment of the Oakhouse Hotel and has given the building a welcome injection of energy and style. “Parts of the Oakhouse date from the 11th Century,” said Kirsty, “and when we took over it looked like some of it hadn’t been decorated since! It’s been very hard work updating the 9 bedrooms, Function Room and bar areas, but now we can proudly say that the hotel has entered the 21st century and is thoroughly modern, clean, relaxing and welcoming.”

And so to the food: you can pop into the Oakhouse for a coffee and cake, enjoy a tasty lunch or evening meal, or participate in one of their special events: a recent Italian night showcased the Mediterranean influence that enlivens the new World Themed Cafe Menu, which incorporates Mexican and traditional English favourites too.
Something that really appeals to me is the fact that this family friendly hotel doesn’t have a children’s menu. Instead your little darlings can have a smaller portion of the regular menu meals: a good way of getting them to eat healthy ‘real’ food just like mum and dad! And with a Four Star hygiene award you can be sure you’ll go home with a satisfied tum and nothing else.

Light appetisers include a Mediterranean experience comprising exotic breads and dressing, bruschetta with fresh tomato, basil & garlic, and the ever popular nachos. For ladies who lunch (and anyone else!) there are Lite bites: fresh baguettes with a choice of fillings, or oven baked jacket potatoes with choice of toppings.
Should you fancy the full three courses, starters include: homemade soup of the day with crusty bread, classic Ardennes pate with Cumberland sauce and toast; cheesy mushrooms with a creamy Stilton sauce.

I have a weakness for a homemade burger and must admit I rather fancy the Oakhouse version layered with bacon, cheese, crisp lettuce & tomato and accompanied by chips. Or who could resist King John sausages from Axbridge’s very own butcher, with mash, garden peas and gravy? There are Mexican and Italian dishes on the main menu too, but I’ve caught sight of the homemade puds and simply must tell you about the treacle sponge & custard, and chocolate brownies with ice cream or cream – yum!

And as if all that weren’t enough, there’s a fixed price two or three course menu comprising chef Michael Cheeseman’s signature dishes. Cheese, as he’s known to his friends, was at the Langford Inn for four years and likes to do things with fish! “We’re aiming at a more modern, healthy menu that appeals to a wide range of people,” he explains. “We want to support local suppliers, use seasonal food and create a speciality menu that’s changed monthly to keep things interesting.” With all that’s going on at the Oakhouse Hotel it’s definitely one to watch.
Annie Vickerstaff

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