When chef Andy Robinson got the call asking him to take charge of the kitchen at The Store hotel he finally felt like he was back on his feet.

The 101-bedroom boutique hotel on the site of the former Boswells department store opened in Oxford on May 7 and visitors have been flocking to its stunning rooftop terrace.

The Treadwell restaurant on the ground floor has also been very busy - and this is where Mr Robinson can be found, preparing a variety of dishes for brunch or for Sunday dinner.

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He has an impressive CV - he has previously held positions in multi-Rosette and Michelin starred kitchens in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the UK.

This has enabled him to create menus with a twist - he has introduced ‘untraditionally British’ dishes to Oxford, including a Ruby Murray chicken pie, Bangers of Mash with a Cajun gravy, and Rosemary and Thyme Brined Pork Tomahawk.

(Image: The Store) On Sundays, guests can enjoy family-style sharing roasts, including lemon and thyme chicken, a rotation of additional roasts, and a vegan option of Agave Glazed Mustard and Herb Seitan.

While the opening of the restaurant has gone smoothly, with guests welcoming the choice of delicious 'untraditional' dishes, Mr Robinson's journey to his head chef role has not been an easy one.

(Image: Andy Ffrench) In March 2016, while he was working as as chef in Johannesburg a drunk-driver crashed into his car, and he suffered injuries to his back, left hand and both his feet.

"It was horrific - I spent months flat on my back recovering," said Mr Robinson.

"Then my wife decided to empty the bank account and run off with some bloke.

"I had no money - nowhere to go - it was rough."

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Originally from Birmingham, Mr Robinson decided to head back to the UK once he was well enough.

(Image: The Store) With four years experience as a sous chef at the renowned Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, he was in a good position to find a prestigious new role.

But it didn't come straight away -  and he spent some time working with a friend at The Swan pub in Sutton Courtenay.

Then, after putting his CV online, he got a phone call from a recruitment company about an exciting new opportunity.

Hotel manager Simon Drake persuaded Mr Robinson to join the team at The Store, promising him he would not be "chained to a stove".

(Image: The Store) "The reality is that I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen but it's worth it because I love seeing people in the restaurant enjoying the food," explained Mr Robinson.

"It's an open kitchen so we do get to hear the feedback and so far it has been incredibly positive.

"Yes some of the dishes are 'untraditional' but we are talking about subtle differences.

"Some customers do like to come to the pass and have a chat and thank us for a lovely meal.

"So far I think there has only been one person who hasn't grasped the concept and wondered why he was getting curried peas with his fish and chips."

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.