Knowledge and interest in where the food we eat comes from has increased over the past few years, both from a health and a sustainability perspective. It is now much easier to stay informed and make dining choices based on your values or dietary needs. With this in mind, sustainable fish restaurant Lussmanns has just opened its doors to diners in Oxford. But Lussmanns is not jumping on the sustainable eating bandwagon; it already has restaurants around Hertfordshire, and has won several sustainable food awards over the years.
Its Oxford branch is situated on Little Clarendon Street where Carluccio's used to be, and while nothing has drastically changed inside, it has certainly had a refresh. Shelves of books have been added to the walls and partitions to the dining areas, creating a cosier and more intimate feel.
The menus are regularly updated and come with descriptions about the sustainably sourced fish and locally sourced meat, which is fresh nearly every day. We opted for the set menu, which is available until 7pm, as two courses for £14.95 seemed very reasonable.
The spiced aubergine bruschetta was fantastic – one large piece of bread piled high with aubergine and onions, chimichurri dressing and oat fraiche tzatziki. It was the perfect size for a starter.
For mains we had house fishcake in caper and parsley butter sauce on a bed of baby spinach, and North African spiced cod cheeks mixed with coriander, harissa and chickpeas. Again, both were excellent – the cod cheeks melt in your mouth – with the flavour, tenderness and evidentially good quality of the fish being the main draw.
Our gluten-free companion was able to scan the QR code on the menu to find that day’s gluten-free options, which are also searchable online. She opted for the padron peppers – perhaps could have been saltier – and the Tuscan chicken special, which she said was delicious and flavourful but should have been recommended with a side.
We had ordered one of the sides of the day, mac and cheese, to share, but it never arrived so we cancelled it. There were a couple of service mishaps like this, but that seems inevitable so early into opening, when staff are still learning the menu. Aside from a few mistakes, staff were friendly, courteous and attentive all evening.
After dinner we ordered cocktails, which were perfectly made and presented, and cost a fairly standard £7.50. We were also curious to try the Lussmanns lager, which was nice and light, if a bit earthy.
With its ability to cater to many tastes and dietary requirements, as well as its welcoming atmosphere and central location, Lussmanns is definitely worth a try.