Husband and wife open restaurant

EMMA BAILEY - August 8 2013 -

When he left Timaru 21 years ago, chef Michael Doran had a feeling he would eventually return. He is back with wife Clarissa and has set up Timaru's newest restaurant, The Oxford, on the corner of George and Stafford streets, which officially opened on Thursday night. The restaurant/brassiere has been open for over a week to iron out any issues.

"We have both had big openings before where you are so busy and there are problems you have not foreseen. "We have been able to iron out any issues before the opening. There were a few issues we had to sort out in the kitchen," he said. The Oxford offers casual restaurant dining all day, while staying away from being a cafe or a bar. "It is real food, not fine dining, and we use as much local produce as we can. Fish is from the port, a local butcher makes our corned beef and Havoc Pork supply the pork and the cheeses are from Talbot Forest and Whitestone." The menu will change every six weeks.

Mr Doran left Timaru when he was 18 to go to university and ended up a chef. Mrs Doran was born in Sydney and worked in hospitality after school, heading to the Whitsunday Islands, the United Kingdom and then Queenstown where the couple crossed paths. They were introduced as she owned the Atlas Beer Cafe and Lucianos on Steamer Wharf while he set up Hamels in Frankton Park. "Mike proposed and we thought it was time for a change of pace and to leave Queenstown while we still enjoyed it. We both sold our businesses to our business partners 15 months ago," she said. "I always had a funny feeling I would come home, he said. "Strangely my brother and sister are here too now, my brother is a doctor at the hospital and my sister is a physio and on a farm in Waimate."

Mrs Doran was not initially sure how she would find living in the area but she has settled in well. "I really enjoyed it. It is a real community. "People genuinely want you to succeed and the support has been amazing. It has been quite overwhelming actually. "We live here (at the restaurant) at the moment, but we are owner- operators and very hands on."

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