The Vanbrugh House Hotel has been a fixture in St Michael's Street for a while now, but the only time I'd previously been in, a couple of years ago, was to point to the reception staff it might be better if they stopped calling their restaurant a 'brassiere' (sic) on the sign outside. Not the kind of thing I do normally, but it had been annoying me for months. I think the rather uninterested response (though they did say it was about to be changed) was one reason why I didn't proceed to try the restaurant, but as I continued to walk past I decided that two courses for £9.95/three for £12.95 sounded like a good deal, and at least there was no underwear involved.
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Monday, 1 December 2014
I'm not sure if Jamie's Italian Pizzeria is meant to be a secret or not. You enter by a large pink door in Gloucester Street, passing a menu board that's pretty hard to miss. On the other hand, even though it's part of Jamie's Italian, which has been a fixture of George Street for several years, there's not the ghost of a reference to it on that chain's main website, and on entering you immediately descend a staircase carefully curtained off from the main restaurant, unseen by the diners there. I wonder if it's all an experiment in word-of-mouth publicity.
Sunday, 23 November 2014
Saturday, 15 November 2014
Frideswide Square isn't one of Oxford's more glamorous locations: it's a place to be hurried through, on the way to or from the station. It is home to the well-regarded Dosa Park, though - and also to Bamboo, a Korean restaurant that occupies the ground floor of the aspirationally-named Royal Oxford Hotel.
Saturday, 1 November 2014
1855 was, apparently, a seminal year for French winemakers, as it saw the introduction of a new classification system for top Bordeaux wines and the châteaux where they were made. 2013, meanwhile, marked the opening of Oxford Castle's 1855, described on its website as a 'wine bar bistro', which has over the past year has become something of a destination for local oenophiles. Run by a knowledgeable team, it certainly feels different from - and in many ways superior to - most of Oxford's other bars. But this review is not going to be about wine, but food.
Thursday, 2 October 2014
If you're in Gloucester Green on a Wednesday or Thursday, around lunchtime, the chances are you will see a lot of people with plastic forks and beige polystyrene boxes. These don't contain kebabs; during the day, Oxford's tastes extend further east. Gloucester Green market, once home merely to the famous momo van, now hosts no fewer than four stalls offering Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan dumplings. I tend to visit one or other, often influenced by not much more than relative queue lengths, but now I've decided to be - a bit - objective.
Monday, 8 September 2014
As we left the Hotel TerraVina - feeling, to be quite frank, stuffed - I asked myself what had been the most memorable part of our visit. The airy terrace looking on to a pleasant grassy area where we sat? The impressively smooth service? The petits fours? No. I think it was the toilets.