Oxford’s newest restaurant swung its doors open on Wednesday, bringing fresh Korean dishes to London Road.

When I headed down to the pre-launch press event at Grounded Kitchen on Tuesday afternoon I expected to have a look around, chat with the staff and take a look at some of the food which they are going to be serving.

I did not expect to get put in the kitchen and have a go at making the food myself.

READ MORE: Oxford’s newest restaurant opens tomorrow on London Road

Oxford Mail: Inside Grounded Kitchen on London Road Inside Grounded Kitchen on London Road

Now, I am no stranger to a restaurant kitchen. When I was at university I worked in pubs and after I finished my Master’s degree I was a supervisor in a steak restaurant.

However, my time as a journalist has left me rusty and – strangely – what was once a familiar environment has become a foreign space.

That being said, I was so thrilled at the prospect of being shown how to make a Korean dish.

I am a huge fan of Asian cuisine and often make sushi and curries for my girlfriend, so the idea of learning now to make something new was extremely exciting.

Oxford Mail: As part of the restaurant's launch, I got behind the kitchenAs part of the restaurant's launch, I got behind the kitchen

Pulling a hair net and apron on, I was shown the ropes by employee Siôn who guided me through the process of creating gochujang sizzling king prawns.

This meal has a base of rice and comes with spinach, carrots, beetroot, peppers, avocado, king prawns, Korean kimchi, fresh chilli, lime, coriander and spring onions.

It is then topped with chilli, jeju, avocado, spicy peanut sauces.

The food the restaurant serves is inspired by the flavours of Seoul, with a focus on healthy and balanced meals which stems from Grounded Kitchen’s mantra of ‘Feel Good Food’.

Oxford Mail: Gochujang sizzling king prawns at Grounded KitchenGochujang sizzling king prawns at Grounded Kitchen

This is clear from the range of fresh ingredients on show and that are added to the meal one by one.

This dish I made was not the spiciest thing on the menu however it certainly has a kick – which I would find out later.

First off, we topped the king prawns with chillies, oil and peppers before cooking in the oven.

While the prawns were, quite literally, sizzling away, we turned our attentions to the rest of the bowl.

I used a scoop to create a small mound of rice in the middle of before adding the various vegetables and herbs around the rice. A key part of this was the presentation and making sure the dish looks as colourful and inviting as possible.

The cooked prawns were then placed on top before we added the different sauces to balance the heat and flavours.

Oxford Mail: Inside Grounded Kitchen on London Road Inside Grounded Kitchen on London Road

Luckily, I added extra avocado sauce to my bowl during the creation process, which was definitely needed once I tucked into the food as the slow build of heat from the chilli and spicy peanut was intense.

As I ate my meal, it is clear that balance is a key part of the food’s structure. The mix of sauces, vegetables and flavours created an eclectic taste sensation and which phenomenal.

Alongside this, as the food is built layer by layer it means that customers preferences and allergies can easily be catered to in ways that pre-made ingredients cannot.

At the opening, Ralph Llanwarne, Grounded Kitchen’s franchise director, said: “We’re very excited about opening our first store in Oxford.

Oxford Mail: The restaurant is inspired by the flavours of Seoul The restaurant is inspired by the flavours of Seoul

“We pride ourselves on delivering meals so tasty that people forget that our basic focus is on a healthy balance, and we are delighted that the community of Headington and the broader population of Oxford will now be able to experience our Korean Nourish Bowls at Grounded Kitchen for themselves.”

For the first month, Grounded Kitchen Oxford are offering 20 per cent off all collection-only orders when you spend £25 or more online at groundedkitchen.com.

Grounded Kitchen Oxford will be open Sunday to Wednesday 11am to 8.30pm and Thursday to Saturday 11am to 9.30pm.

The restaurant can be found on 108-110 London Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 9AW.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry, she joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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