It’s been a while since I’ve been shopping at Bicester Village. It’s really easy to get there from London now. A quick ride on the train from Marylebone station takes you straight to the shoppers’ paradise.
As you walk out of the station, these ambassadors were waiting to greet shoppers. (These guys will help you around the village as well as carry your shopping for you if you need.) VIP shoppers have their own concierge, wth a meet and greet service, valet parking and a VIP lounge.
I was there for the newly launched Prada pop up store, where they had a lot of current season stock at heavy discounts. As I walked in, out walked a gaggle of shoppers laden with multiple shopping bags. Plenty of bargains to be had.
If you can tear yourself away from the shopping, there is another very good reason to go to Bicester Village, the Farmshop Restaurant. There are other food outlets there but you really don’t want to miss the Farmshop.
Farmshop is a Soho House venture and is a similar concept to Farmhouse nearby. It might be called Farmshop but there isn’t any produce for sale. The interior is designed to emulate and Oxfordshire farmhouse or barn, is clad in rough hewn planks and casual furniture. The spacious 200 seater dining space is dominated by a long bar on one side, flanking the open kitchen.
As their clientele is quite international, the menu is casual dining and quite simple. Group Executive Head Chef Kyle Boyce has designed the menu to feature seasonal local produce.
Cocktails at Farmshop Bicester
There is a summer cocktail menu which features some of the more popular and recognisable cockatils like Pimms. We had the pleasure of a little cocktails masterclass with Global Creative Bar Manager, Tom Kerr.
Where he made us a few jugs of Pimms and this very refreshing “French 75” champagne cocktail made with gin, lemon juice and champagne.
Swiftly followed by a fruity Bramble, made with Gin, crème de mure and lemon juice.
The food at Farmshop Bicester
The food served is fresh, rustic and seasonal. (Note:These plates are enormous as it was prepared for our large party. You will get normal portions when you visit. ) For starters, the croquettes with chorizo were a real hit. This ticks all the boxes, hot, crispy and full of flavour. The other dishes of contrasting flavours and textures. Home cured salmon with fennel was the lightest of the options, poached eggs with asparagus was with perfectly runny egg yolks and creamy sauce was done just right.
This is a to-die-for platter of roast pork with a very generous pile of pork crackling. Couldn’t get enough of that crackling.
For the non-meat eaters, the sea bass, samphire and heritage tomato main is a good choice. Pan fried fish, served with fresh heritage tomatoes and seasonal samphire.
Their secret recipe Spit Roast chicken below is worth the trip to Bicester alone. It has obviously been brined and marinated with a variety of seasonings. It was delivered moist, crispy-skinned and just perfect. This is the same recipe that is served at all the other Soho House outlets. The challenge now is to go eat this again and try to decipher the ingredients. (If you know what’s in the secret recipe, please share in the comments below.).
If that list of mains was not quite enough, we were totally spoilt with a plate laden with grilled lobsters bathed in the most decadent herby, garlic butter.
If you feel that the mains are a bit unbalanced, make sure that you order the tenderstem broccoli, edamame beans, sesame seeds salad. It has a slightly Asian fusion dressing which you won’t want to share with anyone. Eat your fill and still fit into that Gucci outfit you just bought, that is until you see that pudding.
Their signature pudding is apple pie served whole at your table. A deep dish apple pie, full of fruit, topped with a crusty top and served ala mode. It is possibly one of the best apple pies I’ve had in ages. What a great way to end a fun evening out.
Farmshop Bicester is open from 8.30 am for breakfast all the way through to dinner. It is conveniently situated near to the train station too.
You can get more information about Bicester Village and all the brands there on their website.
Farmshop at Bicester Village