In Review: Pompette
On a warm summer evening in June, the Indie Oxford team headed up to Summertown to try out new kid on the block Pompette.
Pompette opened with much fanfare and rave national reviews at the end of 2018 on South Parade. The team is headed up by husband and wife owners Laura and Pascal Wiedemann, who have moved from London to invest in their dream of running their own business. They had been looking for a space in Oxford for several years, and now are finally realising their dream.
I asked Laura why they picked Oxford as the home for their business. >>
We chose to open in Oxford, as Pascal did his degree at Oxford Brookes, and he fell in love with Oxford from then. After we started dating we went on a couple of weekends away to Oxford and the Cotswolds, and just loved the idea of having a restaurant here. We also noticed there were not many independent restaurants with a similar type of food to Pascal’s and therefore we thought we could be an addition to the area! We were looking for a while to find a good site, and eventually settled on Summertown after finding this site through a mutual friend.
And what a space it is. Laura’s background in the fashion industry has meant that the attention to detail in the space is wonderful. From the eclectic art on the walls to the vintage furniture finds and signature tableware, this is a space that welcomes you in and makes you feel at home.
We just wanted to create a space which was relaxed, convivial and comfortable. From this we just started collecting tears from magazines, pictures from Pinterest and Instagram, and started creating mood boards of the things we liked. Then that moved on to going to car boot sales, bric a brac sales and eBay purchases from the UK and France. There was not really one source of inspiration, just more collecting things we would love in our own house!!
We started with generous sharing plates of Italian Charcuterie, and the silkiest Cervelles de Canut, as well as plumptious Globe Artichokes with Vinaigrette from the daily changing menu. All the dishes are based around the seasons, and Laura explained why seasonality is key to their menus.
Seasonal produce is very important to us, and our daily printed menus allows us to showcase it to its full potential. Produce is meant to be eaten seasonally, also it is better environmentally and more sustainable to eat the correct produce in the correct season.
One of the absolute highlights for me was the ‘Spätzle, chestnut mushrooms, peas, broad beans & crispy egg’. Indulgent Spatzle and the earthy taste of mushroom was a perfect foil for the brightness of new season peas and broad beans with a perfectly cooked egg to make the dish even more unctuous. You can now get this dish on the Prixe Fixe menu, a great value menu that’s proving popular with locals from across the city. >>
I think we are best known for our good value Prix Fixe available at lunchtimes and early evenings, as well as our daily changing menu consisting of classic dishes and flavour combinations.
From cosy interiors, modern French food and friendly service, Laura and Pascal have managed to create a stylish restaurant with family values. I asked Laura how they found working together and finding staff who share their values.
We really enjoy working together as a couple, and being able to support each other through everything. It is a fantastic thing to be able to have your own business, which we are very lucky to be able to do. We also love employing people who have a similar passion to us, and being able to give people a work family that they are proud to be part of.
We totally loved the familial feel of Pompette. It’s a great place to indulge for a special occasion, but also offers a vibrant bar area where you can sit with a drink and bar snacks (no need to book), perfect for an impromptu night out. Laura is also working with other Oxford indies such as IllyBooDesigns to use their beautiful 1st floor private dining room. Illyahna’s next workshop at Pompette is on 25th July. I chatted to Laura about her plans for this year.
We feel we are still very much in our infancy (we opened Mid-November 2018, and we have a 25 year lease), and feel the rest of our year will be continuing to find our feet! Having said that we have a great private dining space upstairs, which we want to make sure is used as much as possible over the coming months, for all manner of occasions.
Local community is very important to us, as we are local too! Without a thriving local community we would not be able to have our business, so we need to make sure that we support the local community in any way we can, whether it be through sponsoring school Fetes, or making sure there is a place for people to enjoy coming to!
As a new business, Laura and Pascal spend most of their time at the restaurant, but have found time to explore some of the indie scene in Oxford too. >>
We love Magdalen Arms and Arbequina so far being our favourite restaurants, we have not managed to eat out much since we arrived as we have been working more often than we are off, but in the few nights we have been able to have off, we have gone to eat at both of the above.
On another note, we have loved being opposite Sarah Wiseman Gallery, not just for the fabulous art that we have been able to purchase, but for the welcoming local spirit which Sarah embodies.
I love how passionate Laura and Pascal are about their business, and this shows through the incredible food they serve, and the service they provide. They have introduced their own unique offering to the Oxford restaurant scene and fully embraced the independent community, building great relationships with their neighbours on South Parade and supporting other great businesses across the city.
You can check out the latest seasonal menus on the Pompette website, and make sure you leave enough room for dessert! Dreamy sweets included Almond tart, apricots & crème fraÎche, Strawberries, elderflower jelly, clotted cream & shortbread, a knock out Kirsch choux bun, Griottines & hot chocolate Sauce and incredible Cannelés de Bordeaux. The team are always happy to welcome you in for a drink and a chat in the bar so do pop by (and make sure you try the Anchovy, shallot & butter toasts!)
Love, Rosie xxx