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For five years, the Lemon Tree was Oxford’s landmark restaurant until owner Clinton Pugh sold it to chef Jonathan Wright. The renamed La Gousse d’Ail offered an ambitious if pricey menu, and a
stuffy, corporate feel, which perhaps hastened its demise. A few months later, Pugh gave in to a local ‘bring back the Lemon Tree’ campaign and it re-opened in autumn 2004. Located in a stylish
1930’s villa, there’s a smart foyer lounge and bar, and beyond lies the restaurant, within a large, airy, conservatory, complete with potted palms and Lloyd Loom chairs. Chef John Pugsley heads up
the Lemon Tree kitchen once again, and produces a something-for-everyone menu that ranges from plump scallops with lemon and herb butter to duck cassoulet; puddings include poached pears in caramel
sauce. The food isn’t exactly showstopping, but this place seems to fulfil the expectations of its loyal following. Book well in advance.
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