Head chef Simon Bradley launches the menu at Eynsham Hall’s new brasserie

The launch of The Brasserie at Eynsham Hall has been an amazing adventure to say the least. It’s been incredible working to create a menu and an experience for diners that reflects and represents the rich history of the hall.

The transformation of the space which is now our brand new restaurant has been amazing.

The Brasserie features bespoke banquette seating with industrial copper accents – a nod to the Mason family, who built the Hall in 1908 and made their fortune from copper mining.

The room manages to combine this heritage, with eclectic modern touches and splashes of colour to create an environment that’s truly unique – yet still very homely.

My job has been to create a menu where each dish tells a story; a blend of old and new. And to offer unrushed, seasonal British food while putting a distinctly “Eynsham” twist on everything we do.

We’re really lucky to live in Oxfordshire with so much incredible local produce on our doorstep.

We work closely with local producers and have a good idea of what is either coming into season, is in season, or is going out of season so, to a certain degree, the menus write themselves.

We have built up a good network of local suppliers for lots of our produce, and it is these strong relationships that allow us to have our produce at its freshest, and best.

Large houses like Eynsham Hall would originally have had a smoker, and I’ve overseen the re-introduction of a new smoker which has been really cleverly created from a modified American fridge.

We in the kitchen affectionately refer to her as Betty. It’s by mixing these older, traditional methods of cooking with more modern techniques of cooking food for longer at much lower temperatures, which has enabled us to mix things up a bit and keep the menu exciting.

For example, we buy in whole salmon, dry cure it and then oak smoke it.

We also use a water bath for cooking a lot of our meat. It allows me to have complete control over the cooking and gives a perfect end result every time.

For example we source our pork from Kelmscott Farm, about 15 miles away, in the Cotswolds. We use the bellies and soak them in a brine (which is another old way of preserving food), and them cook them at 60C for 30 hours.

The pork is chilled and pressed ready for service. Portions are then caramelised on our plancha grill and served.

The pork is amazing, tender, juicy and full of flavour, and a perfect example of how a mix of old and new methods can develop a unique and individual menu. It just needs the ground work to be put into place and time to build up a network of like-minded suppliers.

We’re formally launching the Brasserie in the New Year but we’ve soft-launched and started taking bookings in the last month. I’m delighted with the response. Feedback on the menu has been fantastic. The space was originally designed for entertaining and it feels humbling to be replicating traditions that the Mason family would have embraced.

It’s a turning point for the venue in terms of offering more to the community, and being able to support local farmers and businesses. We can’t wait to hear what people think.