Food for thought: recommended eateries for those exigent essays

Sometimes it’s good to get out of the library and confront the real world, albeit still in the heart of the Oxford ‘bubble’. Oxford celebrates centuries of history; not least it is reasonably easy to find a unique coffee shop tucked away, with pleasant hustle and bustle, and beautifully worn-out leather armchairs. Café-studying is the […]

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Jamie’s Italian: More about the money, less about the mamma mia

  It’s obvious Jamie’s Italian isn’t going to be overflowing with raw, traditional peasant dishes, cooked just the way Mamma used to make them. Mr Oliver is big business, embarrassingly lucrative, and no artisan front or charming Mediterranean waiting staff can reconcile that this is just as much a shop as it is a restaurant. […]

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My first time with kung-po, chow mein, and foo yung

Boarding school: hardly something synonymous with cultural diversity, horizon-broadening or wildly new experiences. Nonetheless, it was in my year nine dorm at the establishment I called “home” for five years that my eyes were opened to a ritual that has come to shape my culinary outlook ever since: the Chinese takeaway. Growing up on the […]

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Faith, food and fusion: a multicultural Christmas

Undoubtedly the most memorable moment of this year’s Christmas dinner was the horrified look on my mother’s face when she caught one of our close friends from India pouring generous amounts of Tabasco all over her much-lauded duck breast in a Grand Manier-orange sauce. I learned that night that apparently my family’s inclination towards an […]

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The Mad Hatter serves up something to go to your head (and it ain’t mercury)

Something a little different this week, as the Gourmand and Danny go down the rabbit hole and emerge bewildered, enchanted, and drowsy as dormice. A recent and exciting addition to the increasingly dull Oxford watering-hole scene (heretofore ancient pub, ancient pub, ‘Spoons, grotty college bar, ancient pub), The Mad Hatter has set up shop in […]

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Hitting the Gee’s spot

Gee’s is fresh from a refurbishment, and it is freshness that is at the heart of the restaurant’s philosophy. A short walk down Banbury Road, it’s a world away from the identikit chains that populate the town centre. And for every once-in-a-blue-moon Pizza Express menu change, there will be countless specials at Gee’s, where the menu bears the day’s date and is never […]

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Shezan: beautiful, but you’re better off Goan somewhere else

I’m inclined to reserve all judgements about restaurants, a habit that has opened up many curious eateries to me and also made me the victim of not a few total disasters. The reason for this is exemplified by Shezan, a small Carfax-based Indian place with the humblest of signs, alone in betraying the presence of […]

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And now for Summerthing completely different

For most of us, Summertown has unshakeable connotations of exam stress, be it feverishly cramming in the sub fusc-packed Starbucks or walking through the marquee of doom to face another three-hour paper. But as you leave the infernal clutches of Ewert House amidst the revelry, take a glance across the road for a real post-exam […]

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New kids on the block fit the Bill perfectly

Exactly what sort of restaurant is Bill’s? It’s a question I asked myself as we stepped through the door, and even now I can’t quite pin it down. The décor is an odd mixture: warehouse chic, rustic diner, part-kitchen, part-allotment, with industrial-looking high ceilings surrounded by art deco-esque cracked mirrors and wooden booths, all adorned […]

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George Street brasserie is côte-à-côte with Oxford’s finest

French food in Oxford is, whilst perhaps not the most prolific cuisine around (as that somewhat dubious honour goes to Italian), still common enough to require evaluation on a sliding scale. Towards the bottom, we have a handful of chains, including the perennially disappointing Brasserie Blanc which, despite bearing the legendary name of the Besançon […]

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