We’ve all been there. Some more often than others. You’re stumbling out of Park End at 3am after a Wednesday night, when the cold, the exhaustion and the shame of your aggressive flailing to the midnight Pokémon theme hits you. You want to be in bed, asleep. With carbs. And salt. And you might just cry if it doesn’t happen soon. Here are your nearest grub-stops, in order of appearance from Park End Street all the way back to your college.
Dominos, Park End Street
Waiting time: **
Open until: 5am
It’s slightly out of the way of our route, just off the second roundabout at the far end of the street, but worth it for that calorific stuffed crust sensation. The crust is undoubtedly the selling point of the store: even if you don’t opt for stuffed, its so deliciously thick and fluffy that even the weak who usually leave their crusts (and will not survive the winter) won’t be able to resist. While it’s generally horrifically expensive, there are usually lots of deals running and between a few people the price can be dramatically subsidized – although bear in mind the dangers of losing friends over the struggle for the last piece. The waiting times are often also bad, but not so much at 4am.
Waiting time: *
Open until: 3am
Capitalism. But also, chips. And if you bag a fresh batch, they’re outstanding. Hot, salty, crispy – but soft in the middle. They’re our cheapest option, with a large fries at £1.39. Although in America McDonald’s chips are fried in animal fat, in the UK they use vegetable oil and so are safe for vegans and veggies. If you’re drunk enough, you won’t even think about the fact they’re not made with potatoes! The downfall is the earlier closing time, and the queues – even at 3am it’s packed, and after that point they’ll turn people away. Things have been known to get nasty.
Waiting time: *****
Open until: 3-4am
Whether you pledge allegiance to Hussain’s, Ahmed’s, or Hassan’s, you know you’ll be getting a pretty good deal either way. We won’t go into the politics of college kebab alliances. Prices are usually marginally more than McDonald’s, but the chips are much larger and in more generous quantities. The location is guaranteed to be good, as there’s one in proximity to almost all colleges, and usually one on St. Aldate’s, on the nearer side of Park End. Unless you don’t mind gristle, the kebabs are not generally recommended; chips are a safer bet. Thick, steaming gravy and melted cheddar topping fresh, hot fries – if you’ve made it this far while resisting the temptation of the late-night meal, you’re almost definitely going to fall at this hurdle.
Waiting time: **
Open until: 24 hours
Hungryhouse.co.uk brings together local takeaway restaurants to offer a 24 hour home delivery service. There are options that cater to everyone, including vegetarian and hallal choices, the main drawback being the minimum spend limitation – meaning you’re likely to have to spend £15 to qualify for delivery. This could, of course, be an excellent thing, or a terrible thing. It depends how capable you are of finishing two curries and three peshwari naans in one evening. If you are with friends this should not be a problem and in fact makes for a delightful end to a night out. If you are alone, however, waking up to a room overwhelmed by the stagnant smell of lamb tikka masala with multiple half-finished takeout boxes tastefully dotted about your room, does not make for a pleasant start to the day.
Although the kebab van undeniably remains the supreme ruler over the heart of the inebriated Oxford student, there is, in fact, a world outside Ahmed’s, with more cheese, pizzas and sober regrets than are dreamt of in our philosophy.