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Behind the Menu: The Oxford Hotel

Eat | Drink | Explore

With a change of ownership, one of North Adelaide’s favourite hotels has been refurbished and relaunched with community art, live music and a vibrant new menu by former Hilton Adelaide chef Symon Conway-Lyden. 

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The kitchen culture at The Oxford is …
Vibrant and lively! We throw a lot of fun and passion into what we do, bouncing ideas off each other and coming up with new concepts. We don’t allow egos to get in the way of what we set out to achieve. We are serious about delivering our desires on a plate and want to make sure every dish is consistent and has the “delish” factor.

Who are you cooking for?
Everyone! We understand our customers’ requirements and consider all diets and allergies. Nothing beats the feeling of watching customers devour their dishes and seeing their plates come back squeaky clean. As chefs, we thrive on exploring and delivering world-class dishes and welcome feedback from customers to keep us in check.

Describe the current menu.
Our new menu is infused with contemporary flavours derived from soul food. The dishes are bang-on flavour, non-pretentious and created from local and sustainable ingredients. South Australian produce is delivered and interpreted in every dish we serve.

What does it seek to achieve?
To embrace and enhance the new arty look and feel of The Oxford, while keeping the traditional gastro-pub-style dishes alive and exciting, with amazing vegetarian and vegan options.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your cooking?
South Australia has amazing produce to work with and I am at the Central Markets all the time, scouting for ideas and inspiration. I have enjoyed cooking with many talented chefs – I have a chef crush on Simon Bryant, whom I’ve worked with over several years, and absolutely admire his passion and philosophy.


The Oxford Hotel head chef Symon Conway-Lyden. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

What are the hero ingredients?
For us, this is more about the elements and touches that go into our dishes – any chef should be able to cook a good piece of meat or dress a salad, but we get excited about the sauces, the marinating techniques, the flavour, and the marriage of ingredients that finesse each dish. We believe our food is multi-dimensional, interesting and non-pretentious.

What is your favourite dish?
I’m absolutely digging our duck breast dish with Tatonka Dust (barbecue seasoning) and almond-cauliflower veloute and beets. It’s pretty sexy-looking and it’s something I would go for if I was eating out. The Mapo tofu (spicy Asian-style dish with Szechuan pepper) is right up my alley, too – plenty of flavour and texture, and it is quite a hearty winter dish; it’s also vegan.

What is your favourite food and wine match?
I’m easygoing when it comes to pairing food and beverages. I enjoy quick and delicious snack foods like tapas, antipasto platters or our Lazy Susan share boards. Pairing this with either Vale Ale or a pale ale is my ideal relaxation. If I were to splurge on a wine, I would definitely savour Shaw and Smith’s Sauvignon Blanc or Rockford’s Alicante Bouschet and pair it with some kind of seafood dish.

What are you cooking at home?
A tasty laksa soup or hearty pho is always ready to boot at home. I’ve always enjoyed simple pantry cooking and I enjoy whizzing up whatever is on hand into a scrumptious feed.

The Oxford Hotel
101 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, 8267 2652

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