A RESPECTED Oxford restaurant in which students hone their culinary skills is at risk of closure.

Students, professors and residents are rallying to save Brookes Restaurant in Headington, as university bosses consider the venue's future.

UPDATE - what staff had to say about possible closure 

The fine-dining restaurant boasts a five-star rating and certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor, and 900 people have signed a petition to keep it open, branding the closure proposal 'devastating'.

Oxford Mail:

The restaurant's page on Tripadvisor

Consultation with staff has been ongoing for the past month, and a decision on whether or not to keep it going is expected in August.

A page set up on ipetitions.com states: "The award-winning restaurant is an integral part of the curriculum of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management.

"The restaurant and its dedicated staff provide valuable practical experience to both first and final year international hospitality management students every academic year, preparing them to enter the hospitality industry with confidence and excitement."

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The restaurant, situated on Brookes's Gipsy Lane campus, is open to the public for lunch on weekdays.

Students have been informed about the consultation and were assured that, whatever the outcome, it will continue to operate during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Hundreds of comments have been left on the petition, including from Brookes lecturers and many former students.

Carol Glasson described it as 'the best restaurant in Oxford' while Charles Whittaker described the restaurant as 'a jewel in Brookes' crown'.

Rosie Jones said she has been a regular diner there for 20 years and thinks it is 'one of the best places to eat in Oxfordshire'.

Oxford Mail:

Suraj Gandhi commented: "This would be a monumentally disastrous decision. Brookes restaurant is a hidden gem of the Oxford's gastronomic journey."

Marie Hoellein added: "This would be a DEVASTATING loss, robbing students from hands-on experience that is CRUCIAL in our business."

Others labelled the plan 'utterly ludicrous', 'absolute lunacy' and 'a travesty.'

ALSO READ: Our review of Brookes Restaurant

Recent reviews of the restaurant posted on TripAdvisor praise the food as being 'exquisitely presented' and 'cooked to perfection.'

One person, posting in March, said: "You can tell that they are putting their heart into it.

"We attended for a business lunch and felt very well looked after.

"The food was beautifully presented, imaginative and very good quality. All served with a smile and genuine dedication.

"This really works both ways - it gives students the opportunity to practice in a real-life scenario, and guests are served great food at a very reasonable price, and with lovely service."

An Oxford Brookes spokesperson said: "A consultation is currently taking place with staff in relation to the future of the Brookes Restaurant.

"No decision on the restaurant will be taken until after the consultation has concluded, and it will continue to operate in the 2019/2020 academic year regardless of the outcome."

To view the petition see ipetitions.com/petition/brookesrestaurant.