If you’ve ever walked along St Giles on a Thursday night you might have seen a big sign for ‘free jazz’ at the Ashmolean Rooftop Restaurant – it’s true, right in the centre of town you can hear some amazing live music over dinner, on the rooftop of the most famous museum in Oxford. Alternatively, they serve afternoon tea which is perfect if your family is visiting for the day.
The journey to the top floor is – thankfully – by lift, and as you go up the museum transforms from a schoolroom atmosphere to a candle-lit autumnal palace in the evening, and a bright, contemporary space with a killer view during the day. If you go during the winter but you’re really keen on the view, feel free to sit shivering outside whilst you have your soup, but bring a blanket to keep warm, like a few people I saw – or if you’re less Bear Grylls than that, be sensible and sit inside.
Every purchase from the restaurant supports the museum below
Family-friendly, but also a great place to take a date if you want to impress, the restaurant has clearly marked vegan and vegetarian options, disabled access, and a gender-neutral toilet. The cocktails are reasonably priced considering the prime location and how strong they are (maybe only order one!)- I had a refreshing Gin Cooler with elderflower, cucumber and soda. I then tried the crab crostini, which was delicious, especially if you’re a fan of garlic. I then tried the pork chop with butterbeans, artichoke hearts and salsa verde, which got better and better with each mouthful – in particular the salsa verde was punchy and full of flavour. The dessert menu was full of classics with a twist – I tried the lemon syllabub with poached rhubarb and pistachio shortbread. The Rhubarb was noticeably fresh and the dessert was perfectly creamy, and not too acidic despite the lemon. The shortbread tasted homemade, and melted in the mouth. And to top it all off, every purchase from the restaurant supports the museum below – eating at the Ashmolean Rooftop is a perfect way to round off a visit to the museum.