The view is amazing, the food fantastic and the venue is now propelling the country’s oldest museum into the 21st century.

I am talking about the Ashmolean’s stylish new roof-top restaurant that opened to great acclaim last weekend.

Perhaps one of the most exciting things about the whole venture is that the company chosen to run the Ashmolean Dining Room is benugo, a catering company owned by Hugo and Ben Warner, two enterprising brothers from Oxfordshire.

Ben and Hugo Warner’s family home is in Wallingford, where they spent their youth with their seven brothers and sisters. Although the two brothers live in London now, they both feel that by taking over the roof top restaurant they have returned home.

Hugo began his catering career at Harvey Nichols, first as a waiter and then as a chef. Having been involved in establishing this Knightsbridge store’s famous 5th Floor restaurant, he began moving up the ranks rapidly. It was here that he learned to treat ingredients as they should be treated and source his food locally whenever possible.

Ben was lucky enough to take up an apprenticeship with Raymond Blanc during the early days when he ran his original cake shop, Maison Blanc, which is why cakes and pastries always play an important role in the brothers’ various enterprises.

They set up benugo in 1998 and now have a thriving business which includes a chain of food-led coffee shops, also cafés and restaurants in the Victorian and Albert Museum, The Museum of Children and the Museum of London.

Now they can add the Ashmolean to their list. Their aim in returning to Oxford is to provide a dining experience that encapsulates everything that the museum stands for, with emphasis on the museum’s ‘East Meets West’ theme.

On their menu, the brothers state: “Food and wine, like other forms of culture, should be an inspiration. Every cup of coffee, glass of wine, light snack or main meal should be an excuse to celebrate. We celebrate the seasons, the local produce and traditions, but we also celebrate the mere act of eating. It should be something to look forward to, a highlight rather than a necessity!”

The steak tartare, which will be mixed at the table by the waiter according to the customer’s taste to ensure it is as fresh as possible, is an excellent example of the excellence they will be striving to attain.

Hugo said they tasted this dish often in other establishments and have always come away feeling it was not quite right, concluding that this dish is often made up in advance, and so loses much of its original flavour. “By mixing it at the table with fresh ingredients, we feel we are coming as close to the authentic steak tartare as we can.”

Roast suckling pig, is also on the menu, so are several tasty mix-and-match dishes such as quails’ eggs served with roasted cumin salt, red radishes and olive tapenade, and salted cod croquettes with saffron aioli, all of which can be eaten alone, or shared as a feast.

Hugo wants this venue to become a restaurant for the people of Oxford, but not something seen as being at the top end of the market or intellectually highbrow. “I want it to represent really good value,” he said, adding that naturally he hopes tourists and visitors will feel welcome too.

To add charm to the afternoon tea experience, the brothers have purchased vintage tea pots and bone china cups and saucers. Hugo is confident that customers will find the ‘tea experience’ akin to taking tea in the Savoy, as it will be served from a tea trolley by waiters who have been trained to be generous with the cakes, sandwiches and cream for the scones.

In fact, generosity is a word Hugo uses frequently and he explained why: “You must remember that being one of nine children I come from a large family, I have grown up with the fact that every meal is an experience and that sharing food one of life’s big pleasures. Both Ben and I learned from a very early age that the dining room was the most important room in the house and that sharing food is fun,” he said.

To that end, Hugo and Ben have also invested in beautiful antique china platters so that groups of six or more sharing a table can be served banquet style if they wish.

Head chef Aron Manickam is passionate about using local suppliers when possible. He sources the meat from Field Fair Fresh, in Appleton, and the bread from Brown Sugar Bakery, Henley. The cakes are made in the brothers’ London-based bakery, vegetables are being sourced locally and the rest of the dishes are cooked in-house. Besides dining in the roof-top restaurant, customers can still enjoy home-made food in the vaulted basement café and look forward to holding functions and weddings in several of the museum’s atmospheric galleries.