≡ Menu


fave caffs (6): Bill’s Oxford

The blurry person hurrying to pay for his chocolate and raspberry jam is Siddo, who sometimes accompanies me on these food critiques. We shared an agreeable afternoon at Bill’s, part of a rather large chain  and the latest eaterie to open in Oxford in Northgate Hall.   Opposite it is the Oxford Union and next […] Read more


Today is Priya’s birthday, so my mother asked Mishri Lal the Cook to make a feast to celebrate the happy day. Significant days in the calendar- birthdays, anniversaries, special prayer days- are marked by specially delicious and calorific dishes: potatoes curried with tomatoes,  sweet and sour chickpeas, puffy fried puris and a sticky semolina halvah […] Read more

fave caffs (5). Sublime in Morjim, Goa

It’s not just in Britain that young people full of energy and vision are launching cafes and restaurants to excite the palate and provide social hubs buzzing with interest. I found one in Goa. Chris Agha Bee, half Iranian and half Goan, has created an oasis in the middle of a culinary desert in North […] Read more

fave caffs (4): Zappi’s

  Bike shop married to a cafe. Combinations of utilitarian/practical with no-nonsense food work well if the food has some heart and the utility is gritty and functional- eating to live and all that. Zappi’s on St Michael Street in the centre of Oxford offers refreshment in a brightly lit space upstairs. Sit and read […] Read more

Jane Fanner-Hoskin serving her coffee-walnut gateau and scones with cream   Jane and Vyvyan, her wheelwright hubby, live in a canal boat close to Kirtlington Quarry. I first knew them when they were moored on the canal at the bottom of Frenchay Road in Oxford, but the Council rudely moved them away. They let me […] Read more

Favourite caffs (2): nine beanrows and a hive

where the bee sucks…. Smallholding,  sweetpeas, salad greens, succulent vegetables, a ‘Strine with many strings to his bow and his spouse (from Holland). Somehow David and Anneke have created a rural idyll just three miles from Oxford where you can buy the freshest organic produce and bask in the micro-climate of extravagantly planted  acreage with its […] Read more

My favourite caffs

(Please note that Marianne Bruel retired from the business in 2014, after 13 years of producing wonderful meals. The Rose no longer bears her stamp- in fact the very opposite of all she aspired to). One day, while  researching a book in the Bodleian, I found I was starving. Such is the effect on the […] Read more