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Missing food

Life, Oxford, — May 2011

There are a few deficiencies in Oxford's culinary scene.

1) We've eaten in maybe ten different Chinese restaurants in Oxford, but none of them really stand out. We've had particular problems finding good yum cha. Admittedly we were a little spoilt for this in Sydney, which has excellent Cantonese food.

2) More surprisingly, we haven't been able to find half-way decent fish and chips. Sometimes - even in places calling themselves "Posh Fish" - the fish has been pre-battered and is warmed up when you order it. Sometimes the fish is freshly battered and fried, but the result is chunky and unpleasantly oily. In the worst case the result is uneatable; at best it's ok. Sydney fish and chip shops are just vastly better - the worst fish and chips you'd get there would be much like the best you'd get here.

3) There don't appear to be any Vietnamese restaurants in Oxford and no cheap Japanese (there is one popular Japanese restaurant we haven't tried yet). Fortunately there are quite a few Thai restaurants, some of them reasonably priced.

4) It is possible to find decent coffee, but it's not as easy as in Sydney. And there are few Australian-style cafes (our neighbour Alastair, who visits Australia regularly, particularly misses these). Instead there seem to be a lot of specialist sandwich shops.


  1. You know jolly well you and Camilla are in Oxford, a university town not a culinary haven. There is a direct relationship between scholarship excellence and sub-standard food service. I bet you never heard people speaking well of dining experiences in Cambridge, England or Massachusetts.

    It comes as a shock the Pommies can't serve up decent fish and chips. It is another sign the Empire is on the decline as if we needed further reminding at all.

    You'd better send for our Tony Abbott to sort things out. He claims he can stop the government waste, pay back the debt and stop the boats in one swift stroke. Give him an hour or two, he can turn things around for Oxford, then you can all wallow in inexpensive and delightful dining.

    Comment by DL — May 2011
  2. I don't know about Tony Abbott, but maybe Pauline Hanson could stop bothering us all and go back to running a fish-and-chip shop. Mind you, she'd hate Oxford, it's extremely cosmopolitan.

    Comment by danny — May 2011
  3. I thought Tony Abbott could do the job because he was an Oxford boy, he knew the local scene well. I forgot he is too busy touring Australia spruiking his direct action plan on climate change and saving us from the evils of the carbon tax. David Cameron, take note.

    How did I manage to forget Pauline Hanson ? She has time in her hands, having narrowly failed to win a seat in the NSW Upper House in the March election after the distribution of preferences. It is a spin-off from our preferential voting system which you people in Britain saw fit to reject.

    Pauline can cook devilishly good fish and chips. She can come to Oxford at short notice to conduct master classes to save this iconic English comfort food from oblivion. I am sure her busy rounds of book launch, literary lunches and book signings for her biography are now slacking off. Like Lee Kuan-yew, she is ever ready and generous to dispense her wisdom to all and sundry who are eager to listen.

    Give people the fish and chips they deserve. Send for Pauline Hanson.

    Comment by DL — May 2011
  4. For good F&C, you have to be near the coast. It's the same in Australia, I'm guessing. Oxford is nearly as far from the coast as you can get in England..

    Comment by Larry — May 2011
  5. Abbott claims he can but the budget back in surplus. Axing the NBN will achieve that alone.

    Boat arrivals went from 5516 to about 25 per year under the government Abbott was part of. In 2010 they were 6879 and this year higher.

    However, I don't he would be good for fish and chips. He is a fitness freak and was the person who orchestrated the gaoling of Pauline Hanson on trumped up charges.

    Comment by David Watford — May 2011
  6. If Abbott took the approach he's taking with climate change, he'd refuse to believe that any fish and chips shops actually exist, and if forced to accept their reality would propose an expensive government system to hand out ad hoc grants to shop proprietors and quality inspectors.

    Comment by danny — May 2011
  7. I am no techno-geek, but I can see the NBN is an inevitability. Talks of fibre-optic cable being made redundant soon or wireless broadband is the way of the future, are all fluff. Abbott and Co. are kicking themselves for not thinking of it first. Stephen Conroy ( Communications Minister) challenged Barnaby ( Hot Air ) Joyce in the Senate to sign a pledge not to connect up to fibre-optic. What did Joyce do? Just his old self, mumbling on about nothing.

    Boat arrivals are already slowing down. There is nothing much Australia can do, it is the push factor. Sri Lanka's civil war is off the front page now. My simplistic solution to people trafficking is to post rewards by the Aust. Government to informants in Indonesia, and stop the boats before they have a chance to leave port. Money talks.

    Tony Abbott gets up my nose. How could a God-fearing person who was once trained for priesthood be so devoid of compassion. He exploits human misery namely boat arrivals as his political capital and for his own political expedience. He once accused the asbestos sufferer Ernie Banton for putting on an act.

    I had two close looks at Abbott . The first time was in an outdoor fundraiser in 1994 or 1995 when he was just a backbencher. Another time was at the Red Cross centre, he was calling as health minister. I could not find that intangible quality called warmth emanating from the person.

    So Abbott did try to put Pauline Hanson away. But don't forget David Oldfield the one-time One Nation MLC in NSW and now a rising shock jock was his personal assistant. They deserved each other.

    Fish and chips, anybody?

    Comment by DL — May 2011

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