Category Archives: Restaurants

Yeti, Nepalese Restaurant, Oxford

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review, so here goes…

Recently we headed out with friends to the Yeti on Cowley road, a Nepalese restaurant, which despite being a stones throw away from my house, this was my first visit.
I had heard though a friend at work that she had taken her parents to the Yeti recently, so I figured I was missing a trick by not trying this restaurant. Little did I know that people were raving about this place on Trip Advisor.

From the outside the Yeti looks clean, and new, however it has been around for a while. It’s set back slightly from Cowley road so it’s hard to get a good look in from the road, the only option is to walk straight up to the front door and go in.

On entry the staff were friendly and welcoming and although it wasn’t full on the Wednesday, our waiter still bothered to ask who we were, when we said we’d booked. The service was attentive and to a good time, we were left to read the menu for long enough to have decided what we wanted but not too long to starve.

To drink we had a traditional beer, Gurkha, which is apparently the UKs number 1 selling Nepalese beer. It was tasty, fairly light and it was enjoyed by us all.

We ordered 2 rice and 2 naan between 4 of us, warning the Chilli & Garlic Naan is not for the faint hearted, but it is something different!
Our main course choices, were eventually chosen, there is a lot to choose from: Meat, Fish and Vegetarian. Traditional or Speciality:
Katahar Masu Chicken cooked with jack fruit..
Katahar Masu Lamb cooked with jack fruit..
Mitho Bhansa Chef’s cocktail mix with sheek kebab, chicken chokta & lamb chokta..
Jhane Ko King Prawn King-Prawn tempered with Nepali Jowano (Carum seed) & garlic, cooked with coconut..

I was being indecisive so also picked a side of Quati Dall Mix beans cooked in traditional Nepalese herbs & spices.

yeti

It’s safe to say that the food quantities are generous. One naan order would have been fine to share between 4, my lesson has been learnt.
There were plenty of prawns in my dish, something that needs to be celebrated! This is certainly more than the standard 4 that I often experience when I opt for a prawn dish, which is slightly irritating as it’s usually an £11 dish.

By the end of our meal our plates were polished, with only the sides remaining, we were offered a doggy bag, it’s great to see that they don’t let food go to waste. The Yeti had filled up four adults, on a cold damp evening, which only cost £20 per head, I thought it was great value. I will definitely go back and suggest you give it a try.

Next time you wander past in search of food, pop in and give it a try. The warm atmosphere and great food should make for an enjoyable evening, any day of the week.
Visit the Website to see what it’s all about.

Bang – it’s back

The launch party certainly set the scene of announcing the fact that the Big Bang was back, for anyone that fancies a British! There was: wine; jazz; sausage and a huge number of sausage lovers. After attending the launch party several weeks ago, I thought it was time to try the Big Bang in its new setting for a proper sit down meal, with friends.

 

It was the start of the dark nights, the Oxford Castle Quarter had decorated their trees with white lights, making me feel slightly festive and it was early November. Tsk.
On arrival we were seated at our table, personalised with a name and time in pen. Keeping the raw and simplistic element that I’ve always enjoyed about the Big Bang. The menu is in a newspaper format, still on issue number one, inside, you’ll find sharing platters, roasts, drinks, puddings and most importantly, sausages, mashes and gravies.

 All in all the start of the evening in the castle complex seemed quiet, for a Thursday night. Our waitress came along and took our drinks order and talked us through the specials. I was however focussed on one thing, sausages. 
I opted for a trio, due to indecisiveness if I’m honest. I went for 1 wild mushroom and garlic sausage, 1 thai spiced sausage and 1 stilton and walnut sausage. this was accompanied with my choice of mustard mash and the red wine gravy.
My friends went for trios too, including the toulouse, the cheapskates and the wild venison, going on memory. Between the three of us we tasted 9 of the Big Bangs sausages, which can’t be bad going for the first evening visit.

 

Max Mason, has made the Big Bang what it is today. His personality and passion has got his sausages on the map, and that map is for now in Oxford. I know people who do not live in Oxford, who have come to Oxford just because they were told the Big Bang was back.

For pudding there was one answer from our table. STP. Delicious.

The service for the evening was spot on, considering our seat was fairly hidden from the main bar and visible area, we were not missed by the waitresses or Max. By the end of the evening the restaurant had certainly picked up in customers. I had initially been worried that the venue might rattle with an echo, like a canteen. I was wrong, the venue was comfortable, smart and works well for the new Big Bang home. So if you hadn’t heard already… The Big Bang is back. Max is back. And sausages are on the Oxford map again. Phew.

The Spread Eagle Pub – Abingdon

This comfy pub was a great suggestion made by my Abingdon friends for our fortnightly catch up. Usually we dine out in Oxford so it was nice for us to break from the norm, and drive only a short distance over to Abingdon and a new dining venue.

There was ample parking and a good-sized sunny garden. With plenty of seats and two lanes of Aunt Sally, which were being used through the night, creating a good buzz.

When we arrived we were directed through to our table, the evening started off quiet as many punters were enjoying the sunshine, but the restaurant area quickly filled up so we were glad to have arrived before the rush.

The menu is vast there are pages of options to go through, while this can sometimes be overbearing and off-putting, the selections were broken down into food styles, which made the browsing experience better. Nearly everything with meat had a veggie alternative of quorn and red pepper being a substitute, which although I didn’t chose this it was certainly pleasing to see the versatility.

The speciality at the pub was ‘Black Rock’, which I had doubted would offer anything but meat. However I found a great prawn option which appealed, so I opted for this.

Prawns 3 ways, 30 prawns: One skewer marinated in lime and Tequila. One in sweet Jack Daniels sauce and the other plain.  The dish came with two sides, another choice! I had the chips and roasted vegetables. The heat from the ‘rock’ was noticeable on arrival. The advisory was – DO NOT TOUCH.

 

My other half had the 3 meat mixed grill option: chicken, beef and pork. His advisory was also DO NOT TOUCH and cook the chicken thoroughly, it’s safe to say he survived!

 

These meals were filling, delicious and fun. Our friends had food that was not on the black rock menu, but they thoroughly enjoyed it. The prices were reasonable, especially considering the portion sizes. Our meal for two including drinks was £42

The atmosphere of the pub was buzzing, all the tables were full by 7.30pm, we had arrived at 7pm and didn’t leave until 10pm, there was no pressure to hurry or pay the bill, but equally we didn’t feel that we’d been abandoned.

For my friends who live locally, they’ve said that this is their favourite pub in Abingdon and I can see why. While I live in Oxford, with a multiple variety of restaurants, this pub has character and great food to offer. Many Oxford pubs do good pub food but the Spread Eagles’ ‘Black rock’ and the vast choice of menu gave the place an edge. 

The travel time by car, was 10-15mins, the traffic is certainly not like it is at 8am when I head to work. Parking was free and on site. A return on a hot summers night would certainly be recommended to take the opportunity of the garden. And perhaps a chance to play Aunt Sally!

You can find the Spread Eagle online or drive out from Oxford to Northcourt Road, Abingdon.

A break away in Cornwall

After a holiday in Cornwall I wanted to write a blog to summarise what I’d enjoyed and tasted over the few days away.

Fishing in Cornwall – The last time I went fishing was at the Jubilee weekend, it was chilly and nothing was caught. This time in St Mawes, Cornwall, it was different. The weather was considerably warmer, which I was told is prefered by mackerel as well as humans. Our fisherman, James Brown, welcomed us onto his boat. The results of our trip were amazing: First one in was a Gurnard, bright orange and beautiful, swiftly followed by a few mackerel, then two pollock caught at once, our catch continued like this for our hour at sea. The smaller fish caught were used as lobster bait, and some of our catch was released back out to sea.

Our break away was at Pollaughan Farm, the accommodation was beautiful and in a peaceful setting. the farm offered trips round the farm to feed the animals, which suited all children and adults. On the evening of our fishing trip, Tim the farmer brought us some of his homegrown potatoes and carrots, to accompany our main course, this was all arranged by the power of twitter earlier that day! We barbecued half of our catch for the group, this had to be the most satisfying dinner of the week.

Have lunch: at the Smugglers Tea bar of Tolverne
Down a narrow windy Cornish road near the King Harry Ferry we came across this pub and tearoom, which opened out into a lovely waterside patch with views over the river Fal. The food here was varied and catered for all, including large and light lunches, as well as some scrummy looking cream teas, which I didn’t have time to try. To drink as well as a large tea selection, there was Cornish Rattler and Oxford Gold on tap.
   

Newquay and Watergate Bay:  On a day out to Newquay we stopped at Watergate bay for a drink at The Beach Hut and a great view over the beach, had it been a little warmer in the morning, we would have gone prepared and stayed on that beach all day. After our refreshing stop we moved on to Newquay for a nose to see what was there, this wasn’t my favourite stop, as it felt pretty average walking down the high street, we could have been anywhere. By the seafront we stopped at The Chy Restaurant on Beach road for some chips. The terrace was glorious in the sunshine and we were hard pushed to get a table, it certainly blew its competition out of the water. We made sure that we picked up a Cornish pasty before leaving.

     

Dine out at The Watch House in St Mawes. So lovely that we went twice. This restaurant covered two floors and catered for adults & children, offering a lovely nosey view out to sea. The restaurant was fresh and smart with it’s blue and white decor, the staff were also friendly and happy to help our group order dishes to their requirements. The seafood linguine hit the spot for me, combining fresh fish with a rich tomato sauce and good seasoning. The Fish and chips were enjoyed, with the exception of the mushy peas, as they were a touch on the sweet side, either the mint or the peas were clearly very fresh! The Seabass was presented elegantly with green beans, olives and heritage tomatoes, one of which was green. I’m told that this was delicious, it must have been as sadly I didn’t get a bite.

   

I love this part of the world, I think it’s hard to go wrong in Cornwall. I wrote this to let others know what I had found, no doubt if you go to Cornwall you will find your own great spots, pubs and restaurants, but if you come across any that I’ve mentioned here, then you’ll know what to expect and enjoy.

Brookes Supper Club at Gypsy Lane Campus

After my last supper club at Oxfork I had the bug to go to another, soon enough found another super club in Oxford at the Brookes Restaurant.

On arrival we were met by our hosts James and Sue. our coats were taken and we were offered a glass of wine, or fruit juice, a very good way of making us feel comfortable already.

The wine, fruit juice and coffee were kept on a table at the back of the restaurant along with an honesty list where guests could mark down what they had throughout the evening and pay at the end of night.

Once we were seated we waited a short while for the guest speaker to start. Homemade foccacia was served as a nibble, with oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping purposes.

Image Image

Our guest speaker was Ian Mitchell, who was talking to us about his experience as an Oxford tour guide, his new career after retirement. The customers at the Supper club had differernt levels of Oxford knowledge some of the diners shared myths, which Ian cleared up and others shared knowledge which Ian will no doubt be checking up on.

After Ian’s speech our main course was served. Risotto with chicken and seasonal vegetables for meat eaters and for the vegetarians we had the risotto topped with goats cheese, courgette, mushroom and aubergine along with seasonal vegetables. I have to say as the only veggie on the table it was served to me with no fuss, my table hadn’t realised that I’d had something different until I mentioned it. While I don’t hide my veggie-ness, I liked the way this service was done.

Image Image

Conversation increased, as the food was enjoyed and the wine was collected. Our dessert was Pear Frangipan and was served as a full tart to allow each table to self serve, making a ‘family friendly’ feel to the supper club.

The price for the night for two people was approx £25pp which included the supper club ticket at £18pp

The Oxford Brookes supper club happens on the 1st Thursday of every month. They have some bookings already for the 5th July but you should get moving before it’s too late. Augusts event will be a BBQ, a great way to spend an evening in the Oxfordshire summer, come rain or shine!

After attending two supper clubs I want to tell you three reasons why you should try a supper club in your area.

  • You’ll meet and talk with new people who live in or around your city
  • You’ll have a great meal which will most likely be well priced
  • You might try something you’ve never experienced before

20120608-192204.jpg

Murrays

This blog is based and written outside of Oxford, covering my holiday outings in the Isle of Wight.
Opposite the Pier pub sits a small restaurant, Murrays.

I say small, this is only from the outside. On entering the front room there was seating for about 20 people and a small bar, behind the bar was a further room which could hold a further 20-30. The paintings on the walls were beautiful all fish and seaside related, and the detail was incredible.
The restaurant was decorated in jubilee theme for the weekend, along with a jubilee set menu on offer, including a glass of fizz. On arrival at 19:30 there were 3 couples at their tables in the front room, there was no music and little conversation going. We sat down at our table, and waited for our menu, I was worried we’d made a mistake.
When our menu arrived my reaction was ‘wow I could eat all of this!’ I struggled to choose, there was: tuna, cod, lobster, seabass 2 ways, lemon sole, dover sole. And this didn’t include the starters. A group of 6 people arrived during our time with the menu, their chatter broke the quietness and other tables seemed to chatter more too. Phew!
My OH had steak, the cow variety, we were by the sea! but in fairness you should eat what you like, he doest eat steak at home much, so when he had the chance he took it! I opted for the grilled seabass, which came with potatoes and green beans. Our wine was Whitehaven Sauvignon and arrived at a very cold temperature which I enjoyed, but it was perhaps a little to cold.
By now another 2 groups had arrived and were seated in the back room, the restaurant was positively busy, with atmosphere! Clearly 8pm was the time to arrive.
When our food arrived I was impressed with my fish it had its own plate only to be shared with a slice or two of lemon, the veg came in its own bowl, clearly the fish was not to be messed with. My OH had his steak and we shared the large veg bowl. The spine of the fish came away easily, leaving very little bones left in the fish so I could enjoy my meal without fussing over a bone in each mouthful.
When our plates were clean the waitress cleared our table and brought back the dessert menu. For me I went for the royal strawberries and ice cream, delicious and a good holiday dessert! My OH had creme brûlée which was a large size and tasty, his comments are that he prefers more sugar on the glaze and a little longer in the setting process.
Our evening for two was £77 not at all bad for great food, atmosphere and good service.

Cafe Cocos Cowley road

Last week I met up with my recently married friends, this was the first time I’d caught up with them since the big day.

Cafe Cocos and Kazbar sit on Cowley road near St Clements, between them sits an alfresco dining area, which always reminds me of summer holidays spent in Spanish squares surrounded by restaurants and bars.

Cocos has that holiday feel to it this is created by decor and atmosphere, the relaxed vibe is clear to passers-by, the large windows that wrap around the restaurant show off the venue inside. Coco’s serves breakfast lunch and dinner and if you don’t want food? It’s not a problem!  They have plenty of cocktails and happy hours too. There are two Coco’s in Oxford, the original one is on Cowley road and the second, slightly larger venue is near the train station.

I hadn’t been to Cowley roads, Café Cocos for an absolute age, but when I returned I opted for my favourite pizza, prawn saganaki, no matter how tempting the king prawn and coriander sounds I’ve not yet moved on to it.

Prawn Saganaki £9.55 king prawns, feta cheese, tomatoes, spring onions & garlic

My friends both had a Merguez & tzatziki each. This was the first visit for Rich and I suspect that he may return again, the pizzas were certainly enjoyed.

Merguez & tzatziki £9.35 spicy beef & lamb sausage, spinach, onions, peppers, garlic, mozzarella & topped with cooling tzatziki

To drink we had: 2 x Peroni £3.and 1 Cocktail £6

I think that £41 between 3 people for an evening is not bad going!

The service is friendly and relaxed, and you don’t feel that they want to boot you out of the door once you’re finished. The only slight grumble would be that we were left for a little too long between clearing the tables and getting the bill, fine for a Friday or Saturday night, but not on a weekday.

As the sun and the heat will be with us at least for the weekend and I suspect summer holidays away are a little while off most peoples’ radars, why not take yourself down to Cocos this weekend? You never know, you could be in another country in no time, without the jetlag, depending on how many cocktails you have!

http://www.cafe-coco.co.uk/