Category: Reviews

{Review} Jacobs Inn, Oxford

Like lots of people who’ve been and enjoyed the food at Jacobs and Field in Headington, I was really excited to learn that the guys behind it were opening at much larger premises in Wolvercote, Oxford. And so, in the summer of 2013, Jacobs Inn opened its doors. Naturally, I was keen to see what veggie offerings they had so it wasn’t long before we headed there for breakfast.

We arrived on a Friday morning and sat outside in the sun. The garden area is lovely, with pigs and chickens to entertain you – one of the chickens was making a bid for freedom while we were there and the waitress had to catch it up to return it to its home! I opted for the porridge, while my OH enjoyed the Salt Beef hash. And enjoy he did. He had a huge portion of really well cooked beef and veg. He really enjoyed it so much that he still talks about it! And I really liked my porridge! It came with bananas, honey, cinnamon & hazelnuts sprinkled on top. It was delicious! The only disappointment I had was the tea. I was expecting a pot, but was brought a cup of hot water and a separate tea bag. I was gutted – I am a tea addict and love two cups in the morning, which you can get out of a pot. As everything else is kind of old school at Jacobs Inn, I had expected a tea pot.

porridgeDespite my disappointment with the tea, it hasn’t stopped me going back since! My Mum joined my OH and I for dinner there on a Wednesday evening. We had quite high hopes after such a successful brunch and the menu looked great. However, we were all disappointed at various stages of the meal. I initially asked for a glass of the homemade lemonade, but sadly, they’d sold out. Oh well, not the end of the world, plus the weather was great that week so I can understand that. They have plenty of alternatives to enjoy anyway. I then asked for the Fennel and Cherry Tomato Crumble Gratin. It was the only veggie option in the main meal section and it looked delicious. Sadly, and rather annoyingly, it was sold out. Now, in all fairness to Jacobs Inn, I am a fussy veggie, so the other options didn’t really appeal. But if you’re going to only have one main veggie option, it might be an idea to get a few more bits in. The waitress tried to big up the salads, but a salad isn’t going to cut it for my dinner! A lunch, maybe, dinner? Not a chance! I settled on grilled leeks & goats cheese on toast, a side of skinny fries and we all shared the coleslaw. My Mum & OH both ordered the chilli jam ham.

LeeksMine was fine. The leeks were cooked well, but there were loads of them and not enough cheese. I’m not quite sure about the portion sizes of the sides either – the portion of skinny fries was huge, which was very good. But the portion of coleslaw was tiny! They cost the same, so I’d like more coleslaw please! Both my Mum & OH were disappointed with their ham as it was more like a thick slice of bacon than ham with some chilli jam just spread on it. We had all thought a joint of ham would be cooked with the jam on the top and a nice thick slice would be served, but that’s not what they got. It looked a little sad to be honest!

Brownie

Then it came time for dessert and I told my waitress that if they didn’t have the brownie I wanted, there would be tears! Fortunately, they did and it was delicious! Recently, a lot of the brownies I’ve eaten have been over the top – too much chocolate so that it’s really sickly. But this was perfect. Just moist, nicely warmed and a generous portion, without being overwhelming. It saved the meal!

I’ll definitely be going back to Jacobs Inn. I’ve read a lot of other reviews from people who have had a fab time there. The place has a great feel and the service is excellent. I love how they’ve redecorated it, especially the loos! They’ve not been open long so they’re still finding their feet. I just hope the next time I go, they’ve got more veg in so those of us who don’t eat meat aren’t left feeling left out. If else fails, get the skinny fries and the brownie!

{Review} Bills, Oxford

After reading Foodie on Tour’s review of Bill’s in Oxford, I immediately explored their menu. I was looking to see what the veggie options were and I was pleased to see they had pancakes on the menu. You can’t go wrong with pancakes for breakfast in my book!

bills pancakesNaturally, I ordered the blueberry pancakes and a pot of tea. I was disappointed that, when the food arrived, the maple syrup had been poured over the pancakes and I wasn’t given any extra. I’m a grown up. Give me my own syrup to pour over my pancakes please! I did like the pancakes, very much. They were slightly crispy round the edges, which I like, and cooked well in the middle. I also liked the fruit that came with it. It adds a nice balance to the super sugary syrup. I would be very happy to order them again.

There are two issues I had with Bill’s however. Firstly, we ordered our drinks just after we sat. My OH asked for orange juice, which arrived quite promptly. I ordered a pot of tea, which didn’t come until after our food arrived. In what world does it take longer to make a pot of tea than pancakes?! The teapots in Bill’s are huge, which is great, but it would’ve been nicer for me for it to arrive before our food. Secondly, Bill’s adds on a service charge automatically. This bugs me when restaurants do this. I understand why they do it with large parties, but for two people? Crazy. Especially when I didn’t think the service was up to scratch, let alone warranting a tip. I have asked for it to be removed in the past. I’m the customer. Surely the decision to tip for good service is up to me? If you expect your staff to provide good service, that’s all well and good, but it’s not the owners who are on the receiving end – it’s the customer. Let us decide to reward good service with a tip.

All that being said, I would return to Bill’s and have done already, for my book group summer do. I had the Halloumi in a bun with fries and a creme brulee for pudding. The halloumi was good, as were the fries. The creme brulee was enormous! But slightly disappointing as it was quite liquid in the middle.

Bill’s has a really nice feel to it. The staff are welcoming and friendly, and you can sit and chat for ages. A great place for dinner in the centre of Oxford. (Now, if only Oxford City Council didn’t make it so expensive to park in the city, we’d be onto a winner!)

{Review} St Giles Cafe, Oxford

A few weeks ago, my OH and I ventured out for some brunch at St Giles Cafe. We’d eaten there only once before when it was under the previous management. I liked it then and I like it now. The veggie options are a little limited, especially if you’re fussy like me, but I’m pleased to see a few veggie options on their evening menu – a perfect excuse to go back and sample those, especially as they do Crème Brûlée as a desert!

st giles cafe

Naturally, I opted for my favourite breakfast of all time – pancakes! But this time, it was blueberry pancakes. I can’t remember if I asked to swap the bacon for a fried egg or just asked for no bacon, and an egg on the side, but either way, it was no bother to make the pancakes veggie.

The pancakes were really tasty – slightly crispy on the outside, which I love, though they were a little moist on the inside. I’m not sure if it was because of the blueberries or if that’s just how they do them. The egg was slightly overcooked, but I’d rather it overcooked than undercooked. I was also pleased that the maple syrup came in a jug for me to pour over my food too. I hate it when someone else pours it on for me and doesn’t give me any extra to add myself! Nevertheless, it was all really tasty and we enjoyed a cafetière of coffee while we were waiting for our food and doing some great people watching.

I really like what they’ve done with decor too. Before, it was really quite basic. But now, it’s got a lovely vintage feel. They’ve added little vintage bits and pieces around the place, including the loo downstairs! It feels like the perfect place to spend a few hours, catching up with friends, reading a good book or just drinking pots of tea while watching the world go by.

When I go back next time, I’d really like to try their homemade bread with jams. A few other customers had that & it looks delicious. But then I’d also like to mix & match my own breakfast, maybe start with an English Muffin, add an egg, some mushrooms and tomatoes and a potato pancake or two… Delicious!

Have you been? What did you have? What’s your favourite place to eat breakfast in Oxford?

Follow your blogs with Bloglovin’

When Google announced that they were closing down Google Reader, I’m amazed that Twitter didn’t implode with rage! Lots of people used it as a way to keep track of new blog posts from their favourite blogs. I didn’t. I’d just signed up to Bloglovin’ so wasn’t really fussed about Google Reader. When my sister asked me last week which blog reader I’d recommend, it had to be Bloglovin’. Why? Because it’s easy to use, easy to set up and it has an iPhone app, that syncs with the Chrome extension I use. (You can follow this little blog on there too! Just click the image below!)

A Crafty Chai on Bloglovin

You can import blogs from Google reader. You can login with Facebook, if you want. You can choose not to have any emails at all. Bonus! I’ve been using it for months and haven’t had a single issue with it. You can follow pretty much any blog you want. Here are some of the blogs I follow on Bloglovin’.

The Philosophy of Lists

The Philosophy of Lists

Cider with Rosie

cider with rosie

The View from Here

The view from here

The Worldly Adventures of Adam & Di

The Worldly Adventures of Adam and Di

Hip Hop Side Project

Hip Hop Side Project

Rosalilium

Rosalilium

{All images via their respective sources} 

These are just a few of the blogs I read on a regular basis. Using Bloglovin’ is a great way to do this. It’s very straightforward to setup and easy to stay on top of all the great blogs out there.

What blogs are you reading at the moment? Are you using Bloglovin’ or a different blog reader? Which do you prefer?