Review: The Oak House, Axbridge

The chowder

The chowder - Credit: SUB

I first visited the Oak House in Axbridge a couple of years ago, when the menu was interesting but perhaps a little too off the wall for a lot of people.

Now owner Luke Sturman and his team have taken some classic dishes, combined them with fine Somerset ingredients and created a gastro pub menu in a gorgeous restaurant setting.

Upon entering the Oak House you come across a cosy bar, obviously popular with the locals, where you can enjoy a pre-dinner drink, before being taken through to the dining area where wooden furniture, candles and low lighting give it an intimate, classy feel.

I had talked myself into steering away from the steak on my visit - a weakness as I’m sure you all know, and something I nearly always choose. But all that willpower crashed and burned when some of Luke’s first words to me were ‘you have to try the fillet and have it medium rare’. Well, surely if the owner recommends it then that’s alright.

And, indeed I did have the fillet, medium rare and a thing of beauty it was indeed. Cooked to perfection and served with a blue cheese sauce and accompanied by tasty triple cooked chips and vine tomatoes.

Beforehand I had tried the smoked haddock chowder - now that’s not something I would normally choose, but it was the perfect precursor to the steak. It was creamy, but light, with the flavours of the bacon it was cooked with coming through, but not overwhelming the delicate flavour of fish.

My dining partner went with breads and olives - not as bog standard as it sounds as the bread is homemade and in a different league to your normal roll or slice. She then had the rib eye steak, which was equally as well cooked as mine and just as tasty.

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The prices aren’t pub prices, they are restaurant prices, but you get what you pay for here and it’s all served up with a great wine list. I tried Cycles Gladiator Zinfandel, a full-bodied red with a good intensity of raspberry, red plum and spice on the palate. It was full bodied enough for steak, but the fruit flavours made it very easy to drink (maybe too easy!).

Our meal at the Oak House was really excellent and I’d certainly be happy to recommend it to anyone who is looking for good food in a lovely setting. w