I spend ages not talking about Summertown, then all of a sudden it’s all I seem to be talking about. Following on from the news that Portabello closed and is opening under new management as Pompette (more on that later), Oxford Kitchen won a Michelin star AND South Parade is getting a new independent wine shop, I went to visit The Bicycle Shed last week.
The Bicycle Shed opened up at the beginning of October next to Summertown Cycles and four doors down from Modern Baker, where Saffron used to be. Part of a 42 venue strong UK chain called City Pub Group, the restaurant is sibling to George Street Social, The Grapes and St Aldates Tavern locally.
If you’re familiar with the others, then you’ll recognise the funky, stylish genre of setting, but you may not be familiar with the heavier focus on food. The Bicycle Shed is a restaurant first, with bar facilities, and their aim is to serve a menu that is 50% vegan or vegetarian.
The current menu offering includes lunch, dinner and Sunday roast, with brunch set to follow in a couple of weeks. Starters sit around £5-9 and include sweetcorn croquettes, pan-fried scallops with stuffed dates, and Cotswold chicken & ham pressé.
Plenty of the mains sound appealing, like the baked cauliflower steak with quinoa, raisin puree, broad beans, confit cherry tomatoes, charred baby gem and ponzu dressing. A seasonal roast squash salad, spatchcock poussin with salsa verde, and steak & chips accompany the highly topical Moving Mountains B12 burger – aka the ‘bleeding vegan burger‘. Mains fall between £9-16, but with a menu that changes with the seasons and availability expect some updates upon visit.
The bar area at the front of the building is stocked with a mix of local beers and Heineken product lines, plus a set line of Matthew Clarke wines alongside a rotating selection of independent stock, 80% of their wines being vegan. At the rear, there’s a private dining space branded The Potting Shed, that can seat up to 14/16.
For now, kitchen opening hours are 12-3pm and 6-9pm, plus 12-4pm for Sunday roasts, then brunch will be served from 11am-3pm when introduced in the next few weeks. Brunch offerings being proposed include pancakes, smashed avocado toast, and if Assistant Manager Ericka gets her way, Croque Monsieur.
I’ll be revisiting soon to try the food, let me know if you’ve already been and what you thought.