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Living In Oxford
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Reviews

  • The Oxford Kitchen

    During lazy weekends meandering around Summertown, I had never noticed The Oxford Kitchen. If that had continued to be the case, I would never have experienced this culinary gem, which would have been a real shame! From the moment I walked into The Oxford Kitchen, it felt like a place that I wanted to be on a Friday night. It was relaxed and elegant yet did not stray into being pretentious with friendly and charming staff. With the addition of the amazing food being served, it felt like we’d finally found Oxford’s fine dining secret. The menu provides a lot of choice for any foodie. They also had a tasting menu with matching wines. This might be something I would come back and try sometime for a special occasion as it sounded and looked amazing. It was a hot day (hard to believe as I write this with rain pouring down) so I went for the tomato gazpacho; the flavours were out of this world. My main followed of beef and pork belly and this was again well presented and delicious. The chef here knows exactly what food works together and delivers constantly on flavour. The presentation of the main was also worthy of hanging in a gallery, it looked that amazing. With all the dishes there was an element of theatre in the delivery and I rather enjoy that as it made the evening even more special. This has to be one of the best restaurants in Oxford at the moment. At the end of the night, we were asked if we had enjoyed our experience. We really had and I can’t wait to find an excuse to go back again soon. I’m turning 30 soon, so here’s hoping!
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-25 16:07:55
  • Marco’s New York Italian

    Living In Oxford Magazine had their office Christmas Dinner at the wonderful Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian restaurant on High Street in Oxford this December. It was a great evening with a lovely warm atmosphere and friendly, attentive staff. Some of us had been to Marco’s previously but for me it was the first time. I was not disappointed! Marco’s normally serves a vast variety of Italian and New York inspired dishes, and is a restaurant that can offer something for everyone and every taste. From fresh fish, to home made pizza and pasta, Marco’s has a mouth watering set of dishes on their extensive menu. We however were of course trying their Christmas Dinner on this particular visit. The dinner was sumptuous – For starters I opted for chicken liver pâté, red onion chutney & a toasted ciabatta. The chutney was superb, the pâté juicy and flavoursome and the ciabatta toasted to perfection. The main event consisted of succulent turkey wrapped in smokey ham with a stuffing centre, honey glazed vegetables (including parsnips, my favourite!), sweet cranberry sauce and the best bit: Pigs in blankets, all rested in pan juices. For desert I went with old reliable: Chocolate. A melting chocolate truffle cake to be precise. It was heavenly. I’m a bit of a chocoholic anyway so maybe I’m biased but this was probably the best chocolate ‘cake’ I’ve had in recent years. I say ‘cake’ because it was so dense and truffle-like I’m not sure the word really suits. We plied ourselves with wine late into the evening, feeling relaxed and cosy in this stunning venue. With its central location and great service, Marco’s is a perfect venue for every occasion and celebration, and I’ll definitely be going back to try their usual menu. Marco's interior
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-25 16:05:34
  • Jee Saheb

    It’s safe to say that Friday night has become ‘curry night’ for the good people of the UK. So, on a clement evening in early September, my partner and I headed down to Summertown to seek out the nations favourite dishes. What we ate: Starters: 4 x Poppadum with condiments – £4.00, Badami Bater – £5.25, Lamb Chops – £5.25. Mains: Roop Chanda – £10.95, Chicken Tikka Balti – £8.95. Sides: Bhaigon Bhaji – £3.95, Bombay Potatoes – £3.95, Garlic Naan – £3.25. TOTAL – £42.25 And how was it? My Badami Bater starter translates as quail rubbed in lemon and ground pistachio, almond and cashew and is cooked in the tandoor. It was tangy, light and made a pleasant change. Roop Chanda was another enjoyable dish of whole Bengali fish (Pomfret), fried and spiced with red chillies, lemon juice and fresh herbs. My partners Chicken Tikka Balti was stunning! Tamarind has a lip smacking tartness which really shone through in the sauce. It was THE standout dish of the entire meal and we told the owner so! The Balti was served with, by far and away one of the best Naan breads that we have ever eaten! Delicately flavoured with garlic, light and fluffy on top with a thin crusty bottom it was cooked perfectly. The service and ambience: Jee Saheb translates as ‘Yes Sir!’ which suggests that the service here is good. It is! Attentive, polite staff looked after us well throughout the evening. We arrived at 7pm and by 8pm Jee Saheb was full and had a nice, buzzy atmosphere. What you should know… North Parade Avenue is a gorgeous narrow street, reminiscent of The Brighton Laines with its colourful buildings and hanging baskets. Free parking is on Winchester Street and is a minute’s walk from the restaurant. Jee Saheb is undergoing redecoration. Upstairs the new décor is clean and contemporary and we are told by the owner that downstairs will be finished soon. There is no wheelchair access to the downstairs toilets and no baby changing facilities. We recommend: Chicken Balti, Garlic Naan and also the Bhaigon Bhaji which is aubergine cooked in ginger, green chillies, onion and tomato. All very good indeed. Worth looking at the Chefs Recommendations for dishes that buck the trend of most Indian Restaurants menu’s. Would we go back? Yes – For the Balti and Naan!
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-25 16:02:56
  • Gatineau

    Coming from France, it was nice to have the opportunity to meet Fabien Gautier, the manager and company director who works with Hervé Gatineau, the owner of this wonderful patisserie and bakery in Oxford. Because almost all of Gatineau’s team is French and as the smell of bread perfumed the entire store, I could feel at home for a while…! After 10 years working at Maison Blanc, Hervé Gatineau wanted to have his own business and decided to open his bakery in 2006. His main goal was to create the French touch in Oxford, in a local area where it is enjoyable to live, and Summertown seemed to be the perfect place. A few years ago, the team decided to arrange the place differently and to open up the kitchen directly to the customers. It is now possible for the public to watch the team making their bread and patisseries whilst they choose what to buy – it’s a great mix. They wanted to show the clientele that everything is made on site; especially that it is cooked the same day by professional chefs. This new format entertains the children as much as the adults. Furthermore, the smell of fresh bread coming out of the oven is reminiscent of French bakeries. Gatineau offers a wide range of French cakes and viennoiseries that you cannot find anywhere else in Oxford. Croissants, pains au chocolat, brioches not forgetting to mention chocolate cake, éclairs, macaroons and many other pastries, are exactly the same as French ones! Because of the lack of space in the premises and how much hard work it is for the chefs (who start working at 3.30 in the morning!) they cannot offer everything they wanted. However, because of the Gatineau’s success and the desire to satisfy its customers, Gatineau has some ideas to grow its business (but I will keep those a secret). As a typical French person, I am really meticulous concerning the baking of bread. I had the chance to taste one of the three kinds of baguettes Gatineau offer (white, poppy-seed and rustic). It is perfect: crispy outside and not too cooked inside. Just delicious! Actually, it is not surprising since it is really important for them to have the highest quality. This is the reason why each special ingredient is imported from France by an English company – the butter and milk, for example come from Normandy, to make the best bread and cakes on site. Otherwise, they make absolutely everything, except chocolate which requires a special room to be made, but I suppose we can forgive them that! Gatineau has built its reputation in Oxfordshire and works with several cafés and restaurants. So, if you do not have the opportunity to come to Summertown, you still have the chance to try some of Gatineau’s speciality cakes at one of their partnerships establishments, such as the Organic Café or the Grand Café, located in the heart of Oxford.
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-25 16:00:14
  • Cuttlefish

    It was a very cold Monday evening for our first visit to Cuttlefish, but the welcome was very warm, and the atmosphere extremely welcoming. Olives and water were awaiting us on our table when we arrived, and the service was friendly and attentive. They also clearly knew their menu and gave steers towards their own favourites. My husband and I had last visited this restaurant about 10 years ago, when it was Fishers, and I have really fond memories of a lovely family meal with my parents and grandparents, but for some reason we’d not been back since. Did Cuttlefish live up to these memories? Most definitely, yes! The Menu is varied, and although mostly fish and seafood, there are burgers and steaks and vegetarian dishes to choose from too. I had the scallops from the specials board to start and they were delicious! The white wine creamy sauce they were served with was just right, as was the crispy pancetta. For my main course I had the fritto misto – a good serving of lightly battered whitebait, calamari, two giant king prawns and the highlight for me, some whiting that melted in my mouth. It was delicious! My husband enjoyed his dressed crab, and swordfish with lentils and chorizo, also from the specials board. When we booked, I enquired about whether the restaurant was suitable for our 10 year old budding foodie daughter. They positively insisted that we brought her with, and were extremely welcoming towards her. The budding foodie was also tempted by my scallops, and indeed I did end up with one less on my plate…but she plumped for the whitebait to start, followed by paella. Both received massive thumbs up, as well as various pleasing sounds and comments as she ate! For desert, I had a white chocolate fondant and vanilla ice cream, which had just the right amount of gooiness. My husband had red wine stewed pears and ice cream, which he also enjoyed. Both from the specials board. The small person plumped for white chocolate cheesecake and this was another definite hit. We will definitely be back. 5 Things we Ordered: - Baked dressed crab £8.95 - Lightly fried crispy whitebait £6.95 - Fritto Misto £12.95 - Cuttlefish paella £13.95 - White chocolate and passionfruit cheesecake £6.00 Six Good Points: ✓ The selection of seafood ✓ White chocolate fondant ✓ Whiting ✓ Scallops ✓ Service ✓ Atmosphere
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-25 15:56:29
  • City Sightseeing Bus Tours

    If you have the possibility to visit Oxford you have to do the City Sightseeing Bus Tour. During this tour you can see a lot of important monuments and famous places in Oxford. Moreover you can listen to information with the earphones which are provided together with the bus ticket. You can choose between 11 languages so that everyone is able to follow and enjoy the explanations. Thanks to the tickets which are valid for 24 hours or 48 hours you are able to stop wherever you want. You can get off and on at every bus stops along the route and visit the different colleges and museums. The bus has 20 bus stops which allows you to easily visit a lot of great places. You can combine your bus ticket with other city attractions like the Christ Church College with the Harry Potter Dining Room and make a real day of it. The bus has many seats below which are covered, so having a great view doesn’t rely on having great weather which we all know can be a problem in England! It is a very interesting tour which is not only recommendable to children but also to adults and it permits to see Oxford in a historical way. Even people who have lived in Oxford for a long time can gain a new perspective and have a lovely day out with these tours. If you are thinking of visiting Oxford, or if you are already here, the City Sightseeing bus tours are an obligation.
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-25 12:26:42
  • Cafe Loco

    Shannon and I had lunch in Café Loco in the city centre of Oxford. Café Loco is located near Christ Church College, within easy walking distance from High Street. We ordered a Cappuccino and a Hot Chocolate, which were served really quickly although it was quite busy at the time. We were seated at a table next to the window where we had a great view of Christ Church College and Christ Church Meadow. The atmosphere in the café is warm and friendly. On one hand the furniture and decoration with stone walls is modern but on the other hand it reminded us of a cosy old house with the wooden flooring, tables and chairs. The tables were well lit with pleasantly warm lighting. The tables are not too close to one another either which is good because you can have a normal conversation without anyone unwittingly eavesdropping. The menu is quite expansive: You can decide between different baguettes, jacket potatoes, salads and different types of breakfast. There is also a large selection of Afternoon Teas and you can also choose lunch from the black board (Today’s Specials). Café Loco offers a new, delicious soup every day. I chose the Loco Club Sandwich with Italian herb chicken, smoked bacon, Swiss cheese and secret loco sauce because of the recommendation from our waitress. The sandwich was served with Kettle Chips and a leafy salad. It was really delicious and generous – almost too much for a lunch. Almost! Shannon decided on a hot chocolate which was very good; it reminded her of her childhood when her grandmother prepared her hot chocolate. For lunch Shannon had an Italian chicken baguette. The products which are used are fresh and organic, which really lends to the wonderful flavours. The quantities are generous and for such quality and a quantity it is not expensive. All of the staff members are really nice and friendly. They checked in on us every now and then to make sure our meals were enjoyable. Moreover the waitresses are full of smiles and are very kind to the customers. They show that the restaurant is a friendly place. That is very pleasant! Café Loco is not only a normal café – it is divided into two areas and there are also two entrances – the first area is the café where you can have lunch and the other part is a take-away. The take-away selection is quite large and you can choose between several different coffees. This take-away is a little bit different because Café Loco is offering handmade sandwiches and fresh orange juice. If you want you can also buy cakes, cookies and other pastries – it is perfect with a delicious coffee to go. A family, professionals or friends can drink or eat something here in a good atmosphere. Everybody can enjoy a good time here in Café Loco while eating good sandwiches, cakes and other pastries with low prices. So, enjoy your meal!
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-23 11:12:19
  • Antiques on High

    Voted Oxfordshire’s Favourite Gallery in the 2016 Living in Oxford Awards, Antiques on High is a destination for anyone who loves art and antiques. Thirty-five friendly dealers offer a wonderful selection of quality antiques and collectables. The Centre has been established on the ‘High’ in Oxford nearly 20 years; many of the dealers work in the shop and are available to offer advice. The Centre’s small traditional shop front hides a large and interesting selling space filled with cabinets and individual display areas. There are two antiquarian and second-hand bookshops within with lots of general stock covering history, literature, children’s books, modern first editions, travel, poetry, cookery, classics and a selection of foreign language material, plus a specialist music section with scores and sheet music. Visitors are encouraged to browse and take their time to choose from the items on offer. There are thousands of pieces including a great selection of silver and silver plate, fine and costume jewellery, ceramics, glass, pictures, maps and prints, postcards, coins, antiquities, pens and desk items, pistols and weapons, oriental, mirrors, textiles, toys, tins and ephemera, treen, music, books, records and vinyl, retro plus curious and quirky items. With pieces dating from antiquity to vintage and prices ranging from £1 to £500+, there is something for everybody. Antiques on High also has a thriving contemporary gallery, Crafts on High. Here you will find the work of local artists and makers, including members of the Oxfordshire Craft Guild and the Oxford Art Society. For sale are useful and beautiful objects made of wood, ceramics and glass, original works of art for your wall space and a range of delightful greetings cards. Our jewellery focuses on beads, recycled work and paper montage. Fabrics abound, including textiles and soft furnishings for the home and garments to wear. Many of the items have an Oxford theme, so make perfect gifts and souvenirs. The gallery is a venue during the prestigious annual Oxford Artweeks festival and the makers are happy to work on commissions. Antiques on High is a pleasant stroll from the Botanic Gardens and river and just 5 minutes from Oxford’s Covered Market; it sits between restaurants and coffee bars (including the first coffee shops ever opened, dating from the 1600s) so you can relax with a drink, meal or snack after your visit. With London, Park and Ride and local buses stopping right outside it is easy to reach on public transport too.
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-20 11:12:09
  • 1855 Oxford

    Visiting on a sunny weekend, Oxford’s attractive castle complex was buzzing with people sitting outside and making the most of the sunshine, as well as enjoying a food festival which had several stalls of tempting treats – but we were heading to the equally tempting 1855. 1855 was named after the year France classified the most prestigious chateaux in the Bordeaux wine region, and this lovely wine bar offers an impressive variety of vintages from all over the world. They also serve up some irresistible food to go with it, with a classy menu featuring seasonal and locally-sourced produce as well as French, Italian and Spanish classics – and as with the wine, the food is chosen carefully for its taste and its provenance, working in close collaboration with producers – and it shows. The wide range of charcuterie and cheese options are beautifully presented and taste as good as they look, and we also enjoyed one of the best pork pies we’d ever had, alongside a mouth-watering mezze platter piled high with bruschetta topped with red pepper and capers, as well as creamy Windrush goat’s cheese (a local cheese), a variety of biscuits and oatcakes, a salad of rocket and parmesan, and juicy olives and grapes. One of my favourite cheeses – Reblochon, a French staple – also didn’t disappoint. For dessert, a gooey chocolate brownie and a tangy orange cake certainly hit the spot and didn’t last long, and choosing from the extensive wine list (which is like a book), we tried a French white wine and an Italian sparkling wine to wash it all down with – and we couldn’t resist taking a bottle of French red home with us. For a brunch, lunch or dinner at the weekend, or at any time of the week, 1855 is a fantastic option. Bag a table on the lovely terrace in the sun (or enjoy the cosy candlelit interior if it’s not so sunny), and linger over the beautiful food and the wide range of wines, served by attentive and knowledgeable staff whose passion for the finer things in life is evident.
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    Reviewed on
    2017-01-19 11:04:46
  • Angels

    Oxford offers a choice of venues where you can sip a cocktail – from hotels to restaurants and clubs to bars. The challenge is to be something special, and Angels succeeds with a menu of vintage classics and modern creations served with the glamour of the silver screen. Located on trendy Little Clarendon Street, a short walk from the city centre, Angels immediately feels a bit different. As you step in you are greeted by a member of staff on the door and Bette Davies, Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo on the walls, while the polished red bar and gilt-framed mirrors give a sense of timeless glamour. When a space is comfortable with itself, it is easy to relax within it. This was evident from the range of people there at 6pm on a Saturday with younger and older couples on dates or having pre-dinner drinks and groups of friends of all ages meeting and laughing. The bar had a great feel to it, friendly and relaxed with everyone there to enjoy the moment. The cocktail menu is not overly-long, but is guaranteed to have something different and the staff are great at giving advice! There are the classics that you’ll recognize (Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Daiquiris and Sours), but alongside them are Vintage cocktails and Angels Lab. The Vintage section offers cocktails rediscovered from old books or films, like the Yokohama Romance from the Romance nightclub in Japan where brandy, cherry brandy, lime and passion fruit are combined in a martini glass to create a rich fruity concoction, or the more delicate than expected Corpse Reviver of gin, Cointreau, vermouth, lemon and absinthe. The Angels Lab showcases the mixing skills of the bar team who love creating new drinks for customers and adding them to their repertoire and, for the most popular, to the menu. New favourites include the Pear and Cardamom sidecar – muddled cardamom seeds shaken with Xante pear brandy, Cointreau and lemon giving a subtly spiced cocktail with an exotic undertone – and the now famous Tiramisu, which tastes like the dessert in a glass with layers of espresso, Kahlua and Mozart white & dark chocolate liqueurs. In addition to serving drinks Angels offers afternoon classes in how to make them, and a venue you can hire for private parties. For Angels it is all about the customer enjoying themselves, and that means they are flexible, creative, friendly, and well worth visiting!
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    Reviewed on
    2016-04-22 11:47:54
  • Acanthus Macdonald Randolph Hotel

    Well it’s been over a year in the making but it’s been worth the wait. The fabulous new Acanthus Restaurant is now open for all to enjoy and we couldn’t fail to do just that when we visited just after the finishing touches had been put to this stunning restaurant in the heart of Oxford. Following last year’s fire, MacDonald Randolph Hotel has been working around the inconvenience of scaffolding, road barriers, a covered entrance and more. General Manager Michael Grange and his team have worked tirelessly to keep the hotel firing on all cylinders, no mean feat when you consider this is a five star hotel, Oxford’s only one, with five star guests expecting five star treatment. There are sure to have been a few bumps and bruises along the way but at the end of what must have been a gruelling road for the team, the new Acanthus Restaurant has been born and it should go down a storm. The interior is strong and confident, with huge windows overlooking the Ashmolean Museum and also a new seating area including a Chef’s Table looking into the industrious kitchen. It’s a brand spanking new kitchen too, with chefs moving from station to station with a spring in every step….no doubt a new kitchen with the latest gizmos must be like Christmas every day to the kitchen brigade! The food is stunning too (see below) so make sure you visit soon. Acanthus has taken the contemporary yet classic British cuisine route with the highest quality ingredients including superb Scottish beef, British lamb and pork. STARTERS | Pressed ham hock & parsley terrine pickled vegetables, white wine jelly & toasted brioche | John Ross Jr. smoked salmon with saffron aioli, radish & pumpernickel crumb MAINS | Slow poached cod fillet with tarragon butter crumb, creamed leeks & sautéed potatoes | Rump of highland lamb with black olive & red pepper stew, confit potato & Goats cheese bonbon SIDE ORDERS | Mixed dressed leaves | Triple cooked chips DESSERTS | Plum & almond tart with crème anglaise | Lemon tart with raspberry coulis with blackberry ripple ice cream
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    Reviewed on
    2016-04-18 11:09:07