Tag: oxford

{Review} The Brewery Tap, Abingdon-on-Thames

A few weekends ago we headed to the Brewery Tap in Abingdon for Sunday lunch with friends. We went there because we know it does good food, but more importantly for me, it does a veggie roast.

We didn’t have any starters, which was a good idea, as the main portions are incredibly generous. So much so, we nearly didn’t have room for pudding! But we persevered! The other members of the party all opted for the roast beef, though there’s plenty of choice if that’s not for you. I had a a vegetable pie and the same veg that the others had. To say the food was delicious is an understatement. It was amazing. We all agreed that it was the best Sunday roast we’d eaten in a pub. For me, the veg pie was delicious. The pastry was perfect – no soggy bottom! Plus the veg it was filled with was different to the veg in the rest of the meal so I didn’t feel like an afterthought at all. The food was so good, I didn’t hesitate to dive in, hence the fact that there’s no photo. I didn’t even stop to think about it!

Brewery Tap pudding

The pudding options are equally amazing. There’s quite a range to choose from, and I chose the profiteroles. There were more than I was expecting! They were delicious and light and were the perfect end to a lovely meal. The service was excellent and I really couldn’t fault any part of the meal. For some reason, we’ve only eaten at the Brewery Tap once before, but it’s really close to where we live! We will definitely be going back more & more after this!

If you fancy a delicious roast at the Brewery Tap, you’d best book a table, as they do sell out. You won’t be disappointed, trust me!

{Review} The Gardeners Arms, Oxford

After an epic walk around Port Meadow, my OH & I were starving & Poppy needed to put her paws up for a bit. We decided to head for The Gardeners Arms in Jericho, Oxford. When we used to live in Jericho, we used ate at the Gardeners Arms a few times, mainly because they’re the only place in Oxford (that I know of) that only serves vegetarian food. Not only that, the food is simple & delicious.

Gardeners Arms OxfordI opted for the quarter pounder veggie burger with all the toppings and a burger relish. It was delicious! Just what a veggie burger should be – tasty, filling and perfect for a Saturday lunch. I love that you can get all the toppings without paying extra and the fries come with it. All for £8.50. Bargain. They also do a vegan option and have plenty of vegan alternatives on the menu. It’s nice going to a place where you can eat everything on the menu and that any carnivores in the party won’t feel cheated because there’s no meat to eat.

Not only that, but it’s a dog friendly pub. We asked if Poppy could come in with us and they were more than happy for her to be in the pub, though she chose this moment to go a little crazy so we chose to eat outside. Knowing there are dog friendly pubs in Oxford is always great as Poppy does not like being left in the car at all so leaving her there is never an option. The Gardeners Arms is a real hidden gem in Jericho, Oxford. Yes there are lots of fancy places to eat along Walton Street, but sometimes only a burger will do and for that there’s the Gardeners Arms!

 

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Port Meadow, Oxford

Anyone who knows Oxford will know about Port Meadow. It’s a pretty unique place, where cows & horses graze year round and when its flooded during winter, if it’s cold enough, you can skate on it. It’s a great place for dog walking, especially if you can get there when it’s dry enough that there isn’t any water in it.

Port MeadowWe parked in the car park on Walton Well Road. As far as parking in Oxford goes, it’s pretty reasonable. Just £2.10 for 5 hours. There is parking in Wolvercote on Godstow Road, which is free (according to the Oxford City Council website) but we wanted to head into Jericho after our walk.

Cows on Port MeadowCows & horses graze all over Port Meadow so we kept Poppy on her lead while we were walking by them. When we were far away from them and anyone else, we did let her off a little bit. It’s something that we’re working on with her. But whenever we were near the cows, we made sure that we had Poppy on the shortest lead possible. She’s still not sure about cows and at one point we had cows on both sides. Not sure who was most terrified – Poppy, the cows or us! Apart from a few nervous barks from Poppy, we escaped unscathed!

Dreaming SpiresOne of the things I love about Port Meadow is that you can completely forget that you’re in a city (apart from the sound of the cars driving along the A34!) Plus it’s big enough that you can have a real trek around it, maybe even walk from the car in Jericho to Wolvercote & back again (though that’s pretty adventurous!) Plus there are lots of walks you can access from Port Meadow so you’re spoilt for choice. Most of the walks also bring you close to very lovely pubs & restaurants so you’re sure somewhere lovely to put your feet up & enjoy some sustenance.

Port Meadow, Oxford

While there is a path at the start of the walk from Port Meadow South, it doesn’t last for long. Good walking shoes are advised as the ground is a little uneven and, unsurprisingly, there are a lot of cow pats all over the place (much to Poppy’s delight, though she quickly discovered that she prefers a fresh cow pat!)

Having lived in Jericho for a few years, going for a walk around Port Meadow is almost like going home for me. I loved living in Oxford so jump at any chance to pop back. Plus walking around Port Meadow gave Poppy a chance to get more used to livestock! It’s a great walk, not too difficult, and there are lots of options to extend your walk, should you choose to do so. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon!

The Walk: Weather permitting, you can walk around the whole of Port Meadow. However, it is a flood plain so sometimes it’s not possible to walk all the way around it. There are lots of other walks accessible via Port Meadow, including walking along the Thames into Oxford.
Cost: Free
Car Park: Free parking in Wolvercote on Godstow Road and very reasonable parking charges (for Oxford!) at Walton Well Road in Jericho. 
Refreshments: There are lots of great cafes, pubs and restaurants nearby, whether you’ve parked in Wolvercote or Jericho. How many are dog friendly, I’m not sure yet. However I do know that The Gardeners Arms in Jericho serves great veggie food & is dog friendly.
Toilets: As far as I know, there aren’t any public toilets near by, though if you know of any please let me know!

{Review} Itsu, Oxford

Last week, I was invited to a complimentary* lunch at the newly opened Itsu in Oxford. I’d never eaten at Itsu before so wasn’t sure what to expect. I really like Japanese food, but as a vegetarian, it can be quite difficult to find places that do veggie food well or affordable. I’m pleased to say that Itsu does. After my cream tea splurge in Cornwall, I was looking forward to eating some healthy food, that wouldn’t cost the earth!

itsu meal

I wanted to try as much as I could so grabbed the veggie club maki rolls (£3.19 – 175 cals), the veggie dumplings and noodles potsu (£4.99 – 526 cals), some edamame beans (£1.99 – 124 cals) and a Cranberry & Elderflower vitsu (£1.65 – 60 cals). I loved, loved, loved the maki rolls! They were delicious and you get a generous portion. Perfect for a healthy lunch on the go. I would definitely get these again with a side of edamame beans!

rolls

You get plenty of options of sauces to add and the Itsu website is full of nutritional information about them & all their foods, should you be watching your calories, your salt or your fat intake. I love knowing about that kind of stuff so I can feel virtuous when I get everything in balance!

dumplings

The veggie dumpling potsu is epic! It is full of delicious thick noodles, not too much veg and quite a handful of tasty dumplings. This is the ideal meal on a cold autumn day. The soup is really warming and filling, but it is a messy dish! I dived right in & covered myself in it! The ginger in it is quite strong. I’m not a massive fan of ginger, but I managed to get over myself & eat it! I would order it again as it was very tasty & filling & I felt like I was eating food that was very, very good for me!

I like that everything is packaged well enough for you to take it with you, should you want to take it to the office or the park. If you want to eat in, there are plenty of tables to sit at, free water to enjoy and plenty of people to watch! I honestly felt like I’d done my body a huge favour by eating at Itsu. There were lots of greens and other healthy extras that I wouldn’t normally consider.

I can definitely recommend Itsu and will be eating there again, whether I’m in the mood for the delicious rolls, the warming dumplings or trying some of the other delicious bits and pieces, like the seaweed thins! I was disappointed to see the other veggie potsu, the Superbowl 7 veg can’t be made veggie, due to using fish in the sauce, but it’s not uncommon in Japanese or Thai food. For me, there’s enough there to eat that I like to keep me going, including the Zero Fat fro-yo with warm caramel (£2.99 – 175 cals), which was the perfect end to a great meal!

*Even though my meal was complimentary, my review is my honest opinion. Many thanks to Emily at Bottle PR for organising my meal.