It’s home to Merseyside’s only restaurant with a Michelin star, with a village full great independent restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for a great foodie day or evening out, Oxton is hard to beat.
With prettily painted shops and hanging baskets full of tumbling flowers tumbling down in an array of colour, it feels a world away from the city.
But, it was Oxton’s convenient location, close to the Woodside ferry, which first attracted the wealthy Liverpool merchants and shipowners looking for homes across the water. Its position on high ground offered great views of incoming ships – some of the merchants and ship owners built towers specifically for this purpose.
Many of the houses date from the late Victorian age, when it became a popular residential location for Merseyside’s well heeled types, and it was later designated a conservation area. There’s a strong sense of community, as shown by the annual open garden events and it’s clear that people take a real pride in the village.
While it’s keen to retain its sense of history, there’s still a real buzz about the place, and a good mixture of shops and an excellent choice of bars and restaurants – including Fraiche, which this week celebrated its tenth consecutive Michelin star.
Small enough to explore on foot, Oxton can be enjoyed in a pleasant afternoon, but if you’re in the mood to delve further there’s plenty to enjoy on a longer visit.
Here are some of our favourites…
Tucked away just a three minute walk from the hustle and bustle of Oxton village sits The Riverhill.
A beautiful Tudor-style hotel and restaurant, it has recently announced the arrival of award-winning chef Alan Wycherley. Alan has created some impressive new menus, drawing on the best of traditional British food, with a modern European twist. He’s been hard at work looking for the best produce, working with farmers, butchers, brewers, cheesemakers, distillers, hunters and fishermen to find the best of British ingredients – even down to delicious Yorkshire fettle cheese in place of feta.
Lunchtime is a small plates tapas-style format, which is great for sharing with friends, and offering diners a taste of a wide variety of dishes. If the weather is good, make the most of September sunshine with al fresco dining available in the gardens.
In the evening it’s a little more formal, with a full la carte menu of seasonal modern European dishes.
Everything made freshly from scratch in the kitchens, from the breads and chutneys – even down to the cheese biscuits.
It’s this passionate attention to detail which translates across the hotel. Meals are served beautifully with linen napkins and tablecloths, by friendly and knowledgeable staff who clearly love what they do.
While the food is modern European in style, the service is wonderfully traditional, making everything feel that extra bit special.
Chutney Street Food
Chutney Street food has been an overnight success story 10 years in the making.
Perched in the prettiest corner of Oxton Village, the Anglo Indian bistro has only been open since last October, but already it has built a loyal customer base – and once people visit once they keep coming back.
It’s easy to see why.
The menu is a love song to authentic Indian cuisine, created by Oxton resident Joanne Tune.
It’s far from a traditional curry house, with a modern, elegant style and a real attention to detail.
After countless holidays to India, Joanne dreamed of opening up her own restaurant, and combining her background in stunning interior design with her passion for authentic Indian food.
It’s this passion which has seen her travel around India, drawing inspiration from the nation’s colourful cuisines and diverse cultures.
The menu is based around gorgeous Indian street food, reflecting the many different styles of cookery around the country. Some dishes are hot and spicy, others are softer and more delicate, but all are packed with beautifully balanced flavours.
Chutney Street Food supports other Wirral businesses such as Brimstage brewery and sources its herbs from Willaston, as well as other local producers.
Don’t miss the evening Tiffin club from 5-7pm which offers a full tiffin stack, complete with sides and naan for two people for £20, and their excellent selection of cocktails and speciality gins.
Chutney Street Food, 1A Claughton Firs, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 5TU, 0151 652 0777, chutneystreetfood.com.
Oxton Bar and Kitchen
The Oxton Bar and Kitchen team are true independents who love what they do – and don’t take themselves too seriously. Mike and his team ooze passion – they have even been running a fun Instagram story all summer following team members on their holidays and encouraging guests to use fun hashtags wherever they’ve travelled on holiday.
It’s a genuinely friendly team, full of great characters, and very much part of the fabric of the village.
Food is freshly prepared, locally sourced, simple and delicious.
It’s served lovingly all day long by the passionate kitchen team Ray, James, Jose and Saffron. Lunch menu runs until 5pm, with dinner served after that. Both menus offer clever, tasty dishes with an emphasis on the passing seasons, food miles and inventiveness through great ingredients rather than fuss with a pipette and a blowtorch.
They’re as passionate about their drinks as they are about the food – with classic cocktails, local micro brewery cask ales, boutique craft beers and wines, all sourced from small, independent suppliers.
After work, the calm afternoon turns into a buzzing bar, and it’s packed to the rafters at the weekend, with live music every Friday and Saturday.
It has a cool contemporary interior – the toilets are impressive and a step up from the usual functional pub loo.
Don’t miss the fabulous terrace – the centre of village life. It gets the sun all day, and thanks to the cover and heating, it’s a cosy in the winter months too, so a great space whatever the weather.
The Oxton Bar and Kitchen, 2 Claughton Firs, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 5TQ, 0151 651 2535, www.oxtonbar.co.uk.
Homebrew and Homebrew Tap
With more than 300 specialist beers and an impressive collections of speciality wines and spirits and cigars, Homebrew is a must visit for any self-respecting drinks lover.
Right in the heart of the village, the independent shop offers a wide range of local, international and hard-to-find labels.
From fantastic local beers – including Liverpool Organic, Peerless, Brimstage, Love Lane and Penny Lane – to vintage Belle Epoque Perrier Jouet Champagne, they have something for every palate and budget.
It’s a spirits lovers’ paradise, with some great artisan Scottish, Irish and Japanese whiskeys. Closer to home, there is a good range of gins, with local varieties including Wirral Gin, Tappers, Turncoat, and of course Liverpool Gin – in the original and Valencian Orange flavours.
The staff are passionate about the drinks they sell, and will gladly explain the story behind the bottles, as well as making some excellent recommendations.
There’s also a humidor full of cigars, and staff can advise on the perfect cigar and drinks combinations.
Next door, the Homebrew Tap offers a similarly brilliant range of beers, spirits and wines.
They do tasters of beers, and as well as the usual measures they have the new two thirds glasses, or schooners, perfect for high ABVs, intense tastes and heavier styles, allowing drinkers to savour and sample a beer much like they would with a fine wine – or even try smaller amounts of different beers. It’s perfect for when a full pint is too much and a half is not quite enough.
If your idea of a good time is not just drinking beer, but simultaneously choosing more beer to take home to drink later, then you will love this cool and quirky bar, with its taps bursting straight out of crisp white subway tiles, and staff who know and love every product they serve.
But it’s much more than a tap room for the beer shop next door – there is a lot to like about this venue where you can drink a great range of beers, wines and spirits, particularly gins, all with accompanying garnishes, while you watch the world go by.
Homebrew Bottle Shop, 56 Christchurch Rd, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 5SF, 0151 352 5045, homebrewbottleshop.com, and Homebrew Tap, 58 Christchurch Rd, Oxton, Wirral, 0151 652 1334.