Category: Reviews

Review – Jamie’s Italian, Oxford

I can remember when Jamie’s Italian Oxford opened, not too many years ago. People queued down the street for a table and I enjoyed many a breakfast there. Then, after a while, I started to find that things weren’t as good as they were when they first opened, and as there are many great places to eat to Oxford, we ventured elsewhere. So when I was asked to review it for A Crafty Chai, I jumped at the chance. As always, I checked out the menu in advance, pleased to see they’d sectioned off the vegetarian offerings. Word to the wise, there are many more options available to both veggies and vegans than it might first appear on the website – just ask your waiter/ess for the veggie menu. (Or take a look at the pic below!)

Veggie Menu

My lunchtime companion was my friend Mary, and her 2 year old daughter. When booking, I’d asked for a high chair and was really pleased to see a childrens menu, a pack of crayons and a viewfinder with a copy of the menu on at our table. What a great way to show the menu! Plus, a nice little retro reminder for those of us who had them as kids (Have to admit, I think I played with the viewfinder more than Mary’s daughter!) Now, I have no idea what it’s like to go out for dinner with children or how well restaurants generally do catering for families, but Mary was really impressed. She liked the fact that the childrens menu was full of food a grown up would eat, not too babyish and just like they’d get at home. The portions were sensible too, both for children and adults.

Childrens Menu

There were a number of great options that I could easily have chosen, but it was a miserable day so I wanted something warm but not too filling. I ordered the small portion of the Penne Pomodoro and had some extra chilli, along with a simple green salad. We started with the World’s Best Olives on Ice and they came with a tapenade and music bread. The olives were good, tasty and fresh, as was the tapenade. The music bread was good too, but I wouldn’t call it bread, more like a wafer. I also opted for a non-alcoholic cocktail, the Refresher, well, why not eh?!

Worlds best olives

Refresher

Pomordoro

Simple Green salad

The pasta was delicious and the extra chilli gave it a lovely bit of heat, without overpowering the flavour. I always like a fresh green salad with a pasta dish and really liked the simple green salad, especially as the dressing was put in a cute little bottle on the side for me to add myself. Service was good, despite it being a busy Wednesday lunch time during half term holidays. They did forget to bring my side salad, but were hugely apologetic and prompt getting it when I asked. I’m pleased to say our waiter wasn’t intrusive and only asked once to see if everything was okay. Plus, even though I didn’t order a dessert (I had to get back to work after all), he brought me a spoon, just in case! And I used it, as Mary ordered this little beauty:

Epic Brownie

This is the Epic Brownie. If you go to Jamie’s Italian, leave room for this bad boy because it is amazing! If you’re full, order it anyway and see if someone will share it with you. Totally worth it!

Jamie’s Italian is a lovely place to go in Oxford. It has a lovely opulent feel, without being expensive. Our meal came to less than £50 for three of us, which I think is pretty good.

Jamies Jamies Italian

I am so pleased I was asked to review Jamie’s Italian, as otherwise I might never have eaten there again and missed out on such great food. I would definitely go back, either for light lunch or more of a fancy meal in the evening. Plus, I really like the fact that veggies and vegans get their own menu so there’s no confusion over ingredients. As a vegetarian, you feel like your diet choices are considered, thought about and treated equally, which is something other restaurants need to pay attention to.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Jamie’s Italian, all opinions are my own.

National Vegetarian Week and Freedom Mallows

Happy #VeggieWeek everyone! I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years now and there isn’t much I miss. Not bacon, not steak, not turkey at Christmas. Occasionally I wouldn’t mind a tuna sandwich and until I found out you could get vegetarian fizzy cola bottles, I missed those too. I used to love Flumps but found that veggie marshmallows couldn’t really compete so gave up on them years ago. So when I was asked to review (c/o) Freedom Mallows, I was eager to try them. And what better way than to have some in a hot chocolate!

hot cho

I’ve been trying Choc Shot recently too as I’ve struggled to find a low calorie hot chocolate that wasn’t full of nasties. I was sent a mixture of micro and regular sized mallows and after an hour and a half of ironing, I decided I deserved a treat.

Warm milk

We don’t have a microwave so I heated up my soya milk on the stove. I was making enough for my OH too – as soon as I said mallows, he said he wanted in! I use unsweetened soya milk and use it in everything. It works perfectly and as it doesn’t have much flavour, it takes on flavours really well.

veggie marshmallows

Once I’d made my hot chocolate and my OH’s horlicks, I added a handful of the micro mallows to each cup. They were amazing! And perfect for snacking on while the milk is heating too.

marshmallow hot chocThe regular sized mallows are just as delicious and perfect for non-veggies too, as my OH loves them too. They’re quite sweet, so I can’t eat too many of them, which is probably a good thing! I’d like to try them in a cake too so if you have any good recipes that include marshmallows, then let me know!

Disclosure: I was sent the Freedom Mallows to review, but as always, my opinion is my own.

 

Review – The Milk Shed, Weston-on-the-Green

We’re on a bit of an eating out phase at the moment. It’s almost like we’ve been hibernating all winter and are now ready to emerge into the culinary delights of Oxfordshire. Last weekend, we headed to The Milk Shed, Weston-on-the-Green. We’d been before, many moons ago, when they just sold ice cream. We stumbled across it by accident during an afternoon of driving around, trying to find somewhere to live! The Milk Shed looks a bit different now and the menu offers breakfast, lunch, cakes and platters.

pancakes

I opted for the ricotta pancakes with banana and maple syrup. I’ve never had ricotta pancakes before so wasn’t sure what to expect. When they arrived, I was disappointed to find icing sugar sprinkled over the pancakes. I’m not sure why I would want sugar on my syrup, but I’ve noticed a few different places sprinkling icing sugar over cakes and desserts. Trust me, it’s not needed! I was also disappointed to find that the maple syrup had been poured over already, and not served in a cute little jug. It’s just a personal preference of mine. I would have preferred a bit more banana too. The pancakes were delicious though. Slightly crispy on the outside, slightly gooey in the middle. Just how I like them. I pretty much inhaled them in minutes!

The service was good and the place has a nice feel to it. They also sell the ice cream that they make there as well as a few other deli bits and pieces. My OH had the bacon sarnie and was really impressed with it, so I think it’s fair to say we’ll be going back there! There’s plenty of parking on site, which is a bonus and saves you have to pay out tons of cash like you would in Oxford. Definitely worth a visit.

Review – Companion, Natural Bread Co cafe

Every now and then, you stumble across a cafe that just ticks all the boxes. Not too busy but there’s enough of a bustle that there’s a good vibe. Great food. Attentive staff, but not overwhelming. Good location. For me, The Natural Bread Company cafe, Companion, on Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, is pretty much my ideal cafe right now.

cakes and pastries

They sell an amazing selection of cakes, to eat in or take away.

fresh bread

They also have one of the best and most unusual ranges of bread I have ever seen. I could quite happily eat them all!

veggie breakfast

I was quite looking forward to having some toast but when we arrived, I saw that they were serving a veggie breakfast, with the option of adding a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for a bit extra. I decided to give it a go. I was not disappointed, especially as I’m on a bit of a health kick. Check out all that veg and healthy goodness! There was plenty of mushrooms, cherry toms, bread, beans, two fried eggs (my favourite) and some manchego cheese. I have never thought of having cherry tomatoes with a cooked breakfast, but they were such a great addition. I love freshly squeezed orange juice and this was worth paying extra for. (Forgive me, but I was in such a blissful state that I can’t remember how much extra the juice was!)

fresh oj

The cafe had such a lovely atmosphere, with a variety of people enjoying their Sunday morning breakfasts, people popping in getting their coffee & pastries to go, friends catching up. Lovely. We also got a sandwich and a cake to go for later, which, of course, was completely delicious. If you’re out and about in Jericho, then do pop in. You won’t be disappointed.