If you haven’t heard, there’s a new eatery in downtown Lodi, and it’s already the talk of the 209. The Oxford Kitchen, a London inspired upscale pub, opened its doors in late 2021. The newest addition offers eclectic cuisine with international flavors combined with a unique craft cocktail program and a hip vibe.
The 140-seat modern restaurant and bar is the brainchild of Narender “Neil” Ramarapu, a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur, who owns the popular The Oxford on historic Murphy Avenue in Sunnyvale. Joining him in the new venture as chef and partner is Michelin-starred Executive Chef Srijith Gopinathan of the renowned Campton Place in San Francisco and upscale Ettan in Palo Alto. Rounding out their all-star team is Nick Kosevich, superstar bar consultant and co-founder of the artisan bitters company Bittercube.
With an open floor plan, plush leather booths, and a spacious bar/lounge, you may forget you are dining in Lodi. Towering bar racks show off a spirit selection and eclectic barware. Let’s just say, you will want to take a seat, but you may never want to leave.
The concept for The Oxford Kitchen is inspired by the vibrant, multicultural cuisine of the London Street markets, with dishes highlighting flavors of the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United Kingdom. Take your taste buds on an international cruise with their unique fusion of international fare. Take for example, the modern twist on a shepherd’s pie. A traditional version would be finished with a heavy layer of mashed potatoes; at The Oxford Kitchen, the pie is covered with an in-house flatbread that is herbaceous, fluffy, and buttery.
But the dish that has everyone talking is the spin on Great Britain’s Tikka Masala. The Tikka is a flavor bomb of juicy, tender chunks of chicken served in a bowl of Tikka sauce. Loaded with toasted spices, a hint of sweetness, and a healthy dose of heat, it’s so good you’ll want to lick the bowl to lap up any last remnants of the sauce. The Tikka is served with a large bowl of jasmine rice and fresh naan bread, and it can easily serve two if you’re looking to split.
In an era where consumers are obsessed with the use of sustainable and local ingredients, The Oxford Kitchen comes through in a major way. They proudly serve organic and sustainable products from the bounty of the Central Valley. Dishes are designed using ingredients from Zuckerman’s Farm, Fiscalini Farm, Mary’s Chicken, and Panorama Baking.
The kitchen is outfitted with a Japanese grill to roast whole chickens to a bronzed crisp, and the kitchen has perfected a house-made lacto-fermented hot sauce. The gas-fired oven will turn out whole roasted fish, a classic British-style Sunday roast, and steaks. The restaurant’s spin on a London favorite, fish and chips, has a secret, too. Their executive chef, Gopinathan, who cooked in Oxford, England, learned how to create an especially light and crisp batter that envelopes the premium cod from Michelin-starred British Chef Nigel Howard. He’s not going to tell you what that secret is, but the proof is in the taste.
And because all good food deserves a cocktail that can stand up to it, the team put an emphasis on a bar menu as eclectic as the cuisine, with dozens of specialty cocktails to choose from. The spirits are complemented with house-made syrups and fresh juices, which only increases the quality of the craft. Choose from classic cocktails, on-tap blends, and gin-driven libations all served in trendy glassware. Take for example their version of a Moscow Mule—the Oxford Mule trades Bundaberg ginger beer for a light and refreshing ginger elixir that provides just a hint of sweetness. Crafted with Earl Grey-infused vodka, bergamot lime, and j1 bitters, the final product is both refreshing and refined. And overall, the cocktails are meant to highlight the liquor, not cloyingly sweet juices, and change with the seasons. And, because you’re in Lodi, expect to see a healthy line-up of beers and wines, as well.
The Oxford Lodi
110 W Oak St., Lodi