New month, new selection of restaurants opening. Want artful eclairs? Got them. Fancy more Thai food? Got that too. More gin? Oh yeah, read on.
Jericho is in for a treat come early Spring, with Giggling Squid Thai restaurant opening next to Jericho Tavern on Walton Street, replacing Loch Fyne. Serving lunch and dinner, the venue will offer a “little tapas for little people, lunchtime tapas, delicious curries, salads, rice and noodles. Take a peek at the Giggling Squid Oxford menu.
Maitre Choux eclairs are a thing of beauty (thanks, Stefan, for first introducing me to them), and I dare you not to drool over their pictures! Opening its first location outside of London at Bicester Village, Maitre Choux’s store has now launched.
There will be outdoor seating for guests to enjoy, along with their signature sweets treats and drinks. The creation of Three Michelin star-experienced chef Joakim Prat, and his business partner Jeremie Vaislic, Maître Choux is a mission to bring the highest quality pastries to the high street. Customised, corporate and private orders are also available.
Mollie’s Motel & Diner opened on the A420 in Buckland last week, a new venture by Nick Jones, founder and CEO of Soho House. Inspired by the classic American diner, Mollie’s will serve American classics, with an all-day breakfast; eggs, avocado toast, bacon, sausage and smoked salmon baps, as well as waffles and grain bowls. For lunch and dinner, there are small bites; cheesy nachos, corn on the cob and a prawn cocktail, the Dirty Burger, free-range rotisserie chicken and mac & cheese, plus a range of vegetarian and plant-based dishes including the Filthy burger, a vegan option with a beetroot bun.
I went along for the launch party last week, full details on their way!
Another new addition to Cowley Road, Nef Istanbul has finally opened after a seemingly lengthy renovation. Billing itself as “Raja House Ocakbasi & Restaurant Turkish Cuisine” on the website (ocakbasi translating very basically as grill room), the menu offers breakfasts, grill specialities, salads, Turkish specials, seafood, steaks, family platters, burgers, pizza AND dessert. So, a lot then.
Rather oddly, their website seems to have been partly populated with words and images of my own (?!) from an earlier news article and our restaurant listing of Nef Istanbul. My understanding is it’s run by the same guy who owns Bodrum Kebab, but I’m yet to try it out. Let me know if you’ve been, and if it’s good!
We have yet another new restaurant set to take over at Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel on High Street, replacing what was a pretty disastrous Marco’s New York Italian, and a better High Table Brasserie prior to that. A mini-chain with a site in Bristol and one in London, Keepers Kitchen & Bar boast of house honey produced by a family of rooftop bees.
The menu reads generic bistro, but I’ll be interested to see where they fall on quality, having had a lack of oomph from the onsite offering for a while now. Thank you to Adam @ProperEllipsis on Twitter for the heads up and picture!
Khyber Kebab House
So this tiny place has popped up at former Simon’s Fish & Chips on Cowley Road, in the former potato storeroom! Spotted also by Adam, if anyone tries it let us know if it (or the butcher shop it’s attached to) is good.
In Other Food & Drink News…
Another local gin – meet Sky Wave
I stumbled across Bucknell-based Sky Wave gin on Instagram. The new local distillery currently produces a London dry (£34), a navy strength (£45), grapefruit bitters (£5) and a rather nice spiced apple gin liqueur which has currently sold out. Much more on Sky Wave soon, but definitely worth a try, you can order directly from the Sky Wave Gin online store.
The Perch closed for building work
The Perch in Binsey is shut until the end of February, while it undergoes building work for a new dining room. The riverside restaurant hopes to open on 21st February.
Branca‘s got bigger
Jericho fave Branca has extended it’s restaurant and deli, by moving the deli into what was Posh Fish, and using what was the deli as an extension to the restaurant. I popped in recently for a nosey around, full preview on the blog shortly.
The Talkhouse, Stanton St John under new management
The people behind The Butchers Arms have taken over The Talkhouse on a three-month contract, with the intention of taking it over permanently. The village pub restaurant will be managed by George Bassett & his partner Jen Ashdown, along with colleague Megan Josephy. I spoke with George who told me that though the contract is nearing an end, they’re confident of continuing.
The focus will be more on being a friendly pub than a restaurant, with the menu changing to classic pub food like fish & chips and pies, and with more community engagement. More vegetarian and vegan options will be available, and live music will be making a comeback, with something already planned for St Patrick’s Day. The Fullers pub will be sticking with London Pride, and hope to continue with Dark Star which has been proving popular. The pub also hopes to stock local produce like honey, chocolate & fudge on the bar in the future.
James Street Tavern under new management
The team behind The Old Bookbinders have taken over James Street Tavern. I understand from a trusted source that the pub has a refurb planned around Easter, with a food offering – similar to but smaller than Bookbinders – available thereafter. More to come! In the meantime, they have a weekly comedy night booked in if you fancy a pint and a giggle.
On the Grapevine
Reader Recommendation – Lal’s Deli
I had a message from a reader a little while ago raving about Lal’s Deli on Barns Road, and it’s traditional home cooked Indian food. According to Paul, they serve up a different set of hot dishes each day: a meat dish, a veg dish and rice. They also occasionally do veg pakoras, lamb kofta kebabs, wraps and more. Every time I drive by the place it’s shut, so please tell me if anyone can second this recommendation! If you do go, tell them Paul with the beard from around the corner is raving about them and got them into (digital) print 🙂
Thanks for the recommendation, Paul!
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