Jacqui – March 2013
After one of the best build ups I’ve seen on Twitter for a local restaurant, Big Society Oxford finally opened it’s doors. Having heard positive murmurs of hot dogs and chicken wings, I figured it was definitely one to check out. So, on a particular un-spring-like day I finally had an unplanned opportunity, seeking refuge from the abysmal weather.
The entrance isn’t exactly pushchair (or, I imagine, wheelchair friendly), with a big step, narrow double doors and one fixed shut. Thankfully, a very friendly barman/waiter was quick to jump to my rescue. Once inside, I was a little surprised to see I was the only customer, but am guessing many of the regulars were quite possibly sleeping off hard earned hangovers (jealous? me?).
The interior is a mix of funky wall art and industrial design, an über cool mix of old school rap was perfect for background music. Waiting for MrFoodie to join me, I opted for a tall, steaming mug of delicious hot choc to keep me company – with a particularly good shortbread biscuit on the side. One very happy lady I was indeed.
The menu is small on choice, but big on appeal and bang on trend: hot dogs, fried chicken, burgers and chicken wings, plus a selection of sides. By the time MrF arrived I had basically decided for both of us (thankfully he concurred so no arguments required) – four pieces of fried chicken with fries, a small portion of hot wings and one portion of chilli cheese fries to share.
The food arrived, all neatly laid out on a large paper covered tray, perfect for sharing. It all looked pretty bloody awesome so I had mere moments to grab a pic before the demolishing began. Being a bit of an occasional lightweight with spice, I sent MrF in first to try the hot wings. “Yep, they’re hot. You literally inhale the heat before you take a bite”. Not what I wanted to hear. Turns out though, they weren’t singe-your-face-off hot at all. They were definitely hot, but the flavour was deep and slightly sweet, so totally manageable – especially if dunked in the blue cheese sauce, or mayo.
Next up were the chilli cheese fries and fried chicken. Both were damn good – I could have easily caned a full plate of the fries myself! Great chilli, gooey cheese, onions and mustard with a mild to medium heat (there are jalapeños on top if you feel the need to go hotter). The fried chicken coating was crisp and brilliantly seasoned with moist and perfectly cooked chicken inside.
To be fair, the side of plain fries barely got a look as, as all the other food was so good. I almost felt sorry for them… so double dipped a few in hot sauce and mayo (ace combo), for the sake of fairness.
Nicely full without feeling uncomfortably stuffed, we decided we were fans. The venue suits the neighbourhood, the staff are friendly (the kind of guys you would drink with), the food is tasty and the music was perfect. Oh and did I mention the free wi-fi?
You can see the place as a great evening venue, if I wasn’t a pregnant mummy you would probably find me in there pretty often, no doubt ordering a round of sambucas. I’ll definitely be back for lunch, but may hold off visiting at night till I’m back in the world of drinking.
For what they do they do it really well – it’s no Michelin star restaurant, but then it’s not trying to be. Definitely worth a visit.