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Superflashy newsflash: foodie special

Heard on the grapevine! From a revamped Cotswolds gastropub to the coolest new local openings (I spy a micro-winery), here's my foodie superflashy special.

BICESTER’S NEW PIZZA JOINT

Having gained a following for their crispy pizza bases, woodfired to perfection, The Pizza Boys are taking the next step – bricks and mortar. The Pizza Boys Bistro is set to open on April 14 at Greenhill Leisure Park in Bicester. And it isn’t just dough on the menu – expect breakfasts, pasta, homemade cakes, Jericho Coffee Traders drinks and a fully licensed bar. If that’s not enough, their pizza pop-up continues Weds-Fri 5-9pm at The Angel in Bicester.

MAKE YOUR BBQ THE ENVY OF THE STREET

Home Feast Home, the restaurant-quality meal kit makers near Bicester, has launched a monthly changing World BBQ Meal Kit. Drumsticks begone – what better way to christen the barbie than with a restaurant quality cook-up. April is the turn of Traditional American Smokehouse, which includes BBQ Chopped Texas Brisket, Louisiana Pork Belly Ribs, cornbread, house pickles and buttermilk ranch. The kits cost £45 and feed four-six. Check the website for the delivery catchment (and keep your fingers crossed that you’re in it). Coming up in future months: Asian BBQ, Caribbean and Middle Eastern.

FOODIE COTSWOLDS PUB WITH ROOMS

Reopening of Oxfordshire gastro pub with private dining, garden, fireplaces and gorgeous bedrooms alert! The Lamb Inn at Shipton-Under-Wychwood is being transformed in time for a June 21 reopening and we think you’re going to love it. The pub is being taken on by Peter Creed and Tom Noest, the duo behind the hugely successful The Bell Inn at Langford. They got the keys earlier this month and are already busy refurbing the ten bedrooms, redecorating the bar and writing menus. The food will be gorgeously gastro but unpretentious (strictly no foams or purees). Expect the pair’s trademark dishes such as bone marrow flatbread, woodfired hake, confit duck frites and alioli, plus pizzas cooked in the new outdoor pizza oven. Meanwhile, their first pub, The Bell, has become a farm shop during lockdown selling meat, fruit, veg and homecooked meals as well as takeaway.

HEARD ON THE GRAPEVINE…

We’ve got Instagram-famous cinnamon buns, heritage grains, excellent cheeses, but Oxfordshire hasn’t had a single micro-winery. Until now, that is. Freedom of the Press, near Witney, will be opening its doors on 15 April and providing fine Oxfordshire wines to the local gourmands, using grapes sourced from Essex. Its first wines were made in autumn 2020, using ancient methods (barrels, sandstone amphora, and concrete eggs, if you were wondering). Once the doors are open, owner Gavin Carver hopes to welcome in new customers for a tour and a glass of wine, with nibbles brought in from Italian deli Acqua Salata in Witney, and Saltpig Cotswolds charcuterie.

CAFE OUTGROWS ITS YURT

In other foodie news, it’s been confirmed that Muddy favourite, the Wild Strawberry café at Peterley Manor Farm in Great Missenden, will be moving out of the Mongolian yurt (above), the cafe’s home for the past seven years. Though beloved, the yurt has ultimately proved too small for the thriving business and the gang are looking to move to a renovated tractor barn later this year. But don’t fear: the yurt will stick around for events and supper clubs. And from now on the café will be a little more, er, sturdy during inclement weather. Read all about the Wild Strawberry cafe founder, Katy Brill, and a host of fabulous female vanguards of the Oxon and Bucks food scene here.

GOODBYE TO THE MITRE

On a sadder note, it’s looking as though Oxford’s oldest pub, The Mitre, won’t reopen after lockdown. The current building dates back to the 17th century but an inn has stood on that site since the 1300s. It’s such a shame that a pub that has survived wars and political upheaval should be bested by a pandemic lockdown, but the company that owns it (Marston’s) has declined to say whether the pub will reopen with others on 12 April — so it all sounds rather ominous. A solemn reminder, perhaps, to support local. And chiefly: drink more pints.

REAL ITALIAN STREET FOOD

An Italian pop-up has popped up in Witney and it is doing a roaring trade in freshly made pasta, pizzas, sandwiches and Italian deli goodies. Started up by two Italians living in the town, Giancarlo and Marcello, the pop-up shop is getting a name for its crisp arancini balls as well as homemade pesto, all made from scratch. You’ll find Acqua Salata at Fat L’ils on Corn Street, and it’s open 9am-5pm Wednesday-Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sundays. Latest additions include a pasta kit to make at home and a new range of cheese including truffle Pecorino and Taleggio.

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