Yes please to TVC dinner and cocktails!
Part 2 of my post about Mr Muddy’s thoughtfulness. But don’t worry, no need to feel queasy – I’m not going to tell you about the spark plugs and marabou mankini just now. No, no, I’m actually going to tell you some cool places to go…
As you may already know from my previous post, Mr Muddy had quite a turn on Valentine’s Day. Usually I can rely on him to buy me a tacky card from the local corner store or – worse still – hijack unused Christmas cards that the kids made at school. This year, something odd has been going on. Care, thought, and consideration has been involved. Mr Muddy canvassed opinion from friends about hotels, restaurants, events I may like. He roped in my mother, who just about hid the panic from her eye as we dumped our kids into her car and whizzed carefree off to Oxford for the night.
So, these places to try. We started with a whoppingly piggy Afternoon Tea at The Randolph Hotel, complete with cheesy tinkly piano, a million tourists, some buttock-clenchingly pricey champers and more cakes than we could possibly eat (no, not really).
Really the prices are a bit bonkers if you stop to think about it – a minimum of £30 each for some skinny sarnies and a couple of cakes and scones before you even throw in the champers, but sometimes it’s the daftness that makes the fun, and for two people as a treat it did nicely.
Then it was off to the exquisite Sheldonian Theatre for a classical concert. This was brilliant for several reasons. Firstly, I have never been to a concert here before, so that was a ‘new’ box ticked. An intimate, beautiful venue designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it’s a pleasure just to be there. Secondly, the Sheldonian now appears to have cushioned seats – last time I was there it was like sitting on a hardwood Victorian toilet for three hours so this is a significant improvement.
Thirdly, the programme was massively-easy-listening – classical buffs would be groaning at it, because it was all about luuuuurve, and featured my fave piano concerto of all time, No2 by Mr Rachmaninov. (I realise I’ve now made that sound toilety too but you know what I mean). Finally, the whole thing lasted 1 hr 30 mins which is about as long as the Muddy mind can focus without wandering off into fripperies, so it was just about perfect, and we popped out onto a crisp February night in perfect time for a late dinner at TVC on the High St.
I’ve been to TVC roof bar (see above) quite a few times, mostly to get pleasantly hammered with a great view of the Oxford spires, but I’d never eaten here before and I really pleasantly surprised. There aren’t many places that feel a bit funky and different in Oxford – most are either safe gastropubs or ‘proper’ restaurants, and there’s very little in between.
This was more the sort of place you’d come for a relaxed nibble and a drink in cool surrounds. I love the interior, full of quirky funny touches like these action men reclining in the bookcase. TVC don’t put on a dinner service regularly, it’s more of an ad hoc event so you need to keep an eye on the website, but the meal itself was really tasty and incredibly good value – I think three courses were only £25 a head.
I started with New Zealand mussels with sliced chorizo and garlic and herb butter (divine), then went onto to a ribeye steak with fondant potato, curly kale with red wine jus (another winner). Then it was tarte tatin to finish off because they’d run out of sticky toffee pudding. I managed to tuck that away as well.
Then we headed up to the roof terrace for a cocktail. ‘Roof terrace now?’ I hear you cry. Why yes! Because there are heated flippin seats! And furs! And heaters! And it was just fantastic. Bad timing that both mine and Mr Muddy’s phones ran out of gas so I can’t show you the pics (grrrrr), but you’ll just have to take my word – it was a brilliant way to finish the night and we were among some rather glam people too which felt quite buzzy.
So there you go, a couple more options for you to have a stab at next time you’re in oxford. The TVC snacky sharing menu is being finalised today (Weds 11 March), so if you fancy checking it out for lunch or a stylish platter and champers style nibble, now’s a good time But of course *sigh* I’ll be sure to check it out for you too. I know, I’m nice like that.