We used to eat out a lot in Australia but here we don’t seem to. I think that’s because we have largely what we need on the property – chickens that provide eggs and cows that give us milk; a vege patch that is overflowing with lettuce, silverbeet, carrots, pumpkins and onions; a herb garden; and my trusty breadmaker means I whip up homemade bread.

If you want to dine out in Oxford, you’re going to Seagers or Cafe51. Frankly, I’m not overly impressed with Seagers. I haven’t found the service there great (one time I waited 10 minutes to be served). Up until last week, I’d only been to Cafe51 for lunch. I like the atmosphere better at Cafe51 than Seagers. It has that quaint cottage feel to it. The lunches are great (especially the B.L.T) but what about dinner?

Last week, we had dinner there with four people we’ve just met. They suggested Cafe51 and we went there on a Saturday night. The menu is quite varied – you can download all their menus here. For an entrée, I selected filo pastry filled with honey-roasted pumpkin and feta cheese, oven-baked and served with salad and roasted cherry tomato chilli relish. (For my American readers, an entrée is the first course, appetizer or starter).

The entrée had a delicate taste to it, with the pumpkin being nicely balanced with the feta. The relish provided the extra punch. I was so busy eating the entrée I forgot to take a photo but redeemed myself when it came to the main meal. I opted for the oven-roasted chicken breast filled with chorizo sausage and mozzarella cheese with a lemon herb bread crumb with pan jus. This meal was sensational. The chicken was beautifully roasted and tender. My only complaint is that the chorizo was sort of stuffed into the middle of the chicken in one big piece. I would have preferred smaller bits of chorizo. The lemon herb crumb for the chicken provided a slightly tart taste that offset the other flavours very well. The portion was pretty sizeable and all the main meals came out very well-presented.

Three of my dinner companions ordered the meal I nearly went for – pork fillet pocketed with honey, apricot and pinenuts, oven-baked with port wine glaze. This dish looked so good I was kicking myself for not ordering it but plan to when I take my great mate there during her visit in early July. Other mains ordered were the lamb rump, filled with basil pesto and caramelized onion, roasted medium rare with Chinese barbeque sauce; and the fish of the day.

Alas, we didn’t sample the dessert menu. I blame my dining companions for this – the entrées and mains basically meant we were too full for dessert. I, however, am never one to be too full for dessert and would have been up for it had the others not all loudly declared they simply couldn’t eat another thing. I didn’t fancy being the only one stuffing my face with dessert. So I had to console myself with a cappuccino.

I certainly will be going back to Cafe51 (and sampling dessert) and, should you be passing through Oxford, would highly recommend this restaurant.

This was my meal - yum!

My cappuccino - great presentation!

Cafe51 has won heaps of awards and is managed by award-winning chef, Anthony Cross.

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