Monday, 1 December 2014

Jamie's Italian Pizzeria, Gloucester Street

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


I have created a brief survey asking for feedback about how I write posts and promote the blog and where I might review next. All comments and suggestions will be gratefully received!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Bamboo, Park End Street

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, Oxford Castle

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

The Great Oxford Dumpling-Off

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

[Out of Oxford] Hotel TerraVina, New Forest

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.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Fallowfields, near Abingdon

According to its own website, this is 'one of the best restaurants in Oxfordshire'. Normally I'd be a little suspicious of such claims - and I can't pretend to have tried all its competitors - but Fallowfields proved to be such an ideal location for a special occasion Sunday lunch that I think it must compare favourably even with a certain French chef's flagship establishment.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Oxford's Grill, Cowley Road

Apologies for the silence - I'm still here, although I think the days of four reviews a month are probably over for good. Today we have a review of an establishment occupying a site at the bottom of the Cowley Road that's been through a few incarnations over the years. Once a sibling of Joe's in Summertown, and then a decent Mediterranean place (called something like L21?), it's now Oxford's Grill.
(image from - watch out for the music)