THE opening, in early March, of Lussmanns Sustainable Fish & Grill in Oxford’s Little Clarendon Street, had been the culinary event of the year so far.

Transforming the premises previously occupied by Carluccio’s, the restaurant was the first to be opened by owner Andrei Lussmann beyond his home county of Hertfordshire. And business was booming from the off, with diners falling over themselves to book a table.

Then came coronavirus and the lockdown – and, having only just opened, Andrei was forced to close.

This week, however, the charismatic and passionate restaurateur has thrown a lifeline to the establishment’s new fans by opening up once a week to allow fans to stock up on produce, allowing them to prepare its signature dishes at home.

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The ‘Lussmanns To-Go’ service was launched after being trialled at Andrei’s restaurants in Tring, Harpenden, Hitchin, Hertford and St Albans, and sees customers ordering fresh fish, pre-prepared starters and ready-to-cook mains for what Andrei calls the ultimate 'special night in'.

Banbury Cake:

Best-selling chilled signatures include its house fishcakes with baby spinach and caper & parsley butter sauce; free-range Tuscan chicken cooked with shallots, cherry tomatoes, olives, spinach, garlic, herbs, white wine and cream; and Highland beef Bourguignon. Those with a sweet tooth can choose from such delights as single origin chocolate brownie, apple and berry crumble and mini St Clements cheesecake.

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Also offered are fresh fruit and veg boxes, organic coffee, farmhouse cheese and artisan breads as used in the restaurants.

Thirsts can be quenched with wine, beer or even a Jake’s Gin G&Ts – with 70cl bottle of Jake’s London Dry Gin sold with bottles of Luscombe Devon tonic water and a pair of lemons.

Banbury Cake:

The online shop is open from noon on Sunday to Thursday for orders which can be collected from the restaurant the following Saturday, from 9-11am. Customers can order and pay via Paypal.

Andrei said: “If you’re self-isolating, need a hand with food shopping or just fancy a treat, we can help. Our new ‘To Go’ service includes ready-to-cook chilled Lussmanns dishes, fresh fish, veg boxes, bread, cheese, coffee, wine, beer and soft drinks.

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“While our restaurants are temporarily closed, we are supporting our suppliers, keeping members of our staff team productively employed and helping you during these challenging times.

“I am so happy I can now bring this service to the people of Oxford, who welcomed us so warmly when we opened in early March for such a brief period of time. I’ve been overwhelmed with the support for the ‘To-Go’ service so far and I’m looking forward to hearing the thoughts of our Oxford customers soon.”

  • Lussmanns Sustainable Fish & Grill is at 1-2 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford. Visit lussmanns.com or shop.lussmanns.com.