Sunday, 28 July 2013

PREVIEW - Jacobs Inn, Wolvercote, Oxford

Location: 130 Godstow Road, Oxford OX2 8PG, UK
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Doors open at 6pm, Wednesday 31st July!

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
The New Jacobs Inn, previously The Red Lion

If you're a regular on Twitter or Facebook, you can't fail to have noticed the anticipation building for new Wolvercote pub, Jacobs Inn. Not since the launch of Big Society Oxford have I seen such good use of social media - although, I have to say, the gauntlet has seriously been thrown down by Johnny Pugsley and Damion Farah, owners of Jacobs Inn, who have outdone Big Society tenfold in terms of sheer marketing.

With many of my readers keen to find out more, I popped in to see Johnny, Damion and team over the weekend; with everyone still hard at work preparing for the grand opening, I was delighted to get a sneak peek inside... and answer two burning questions - when is it opening and what food can we expect?!

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As owners of Jacobs & Field in Headington, Johnny and Damion are already known for providing good food, in a deli/dining setting; their expansion into the pub trade isn't a step away from what they do well, it's merely an opportunity to put their success to work on a much grander scale. 

So with far greater space than in their Headington cafe, what will they do with all the extra square footage? On entering the pub you walk into a casual but comfortable lounge bar, maintaining their signature 'utilitarian/industrial' look, with reclaimed and refurbished tables, beautiful Chesterfield sofas and wing back chairs; you'll be greeted on one side by an old dresser stocked with freshly baked breads, and on the other side by a bar and a friendly face. This area will evoke the 'deli' feel, with the ability to purchase bread off the dresser, fresh eggs off the bar, or home reared hams, etc. You'll also be able to choose from the main menu, or partake in Scotch Eggs and lovely sandwiches - all via bar service.

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From left to right: Head Chef Rob Ingleston, Co-Owner Damion Farah, General Manager Luke Champion and Co-Owner Johnny Pugsley

Further through there is a more formal dining room, offering full table service; here you will find more deli goods on display, such as the Jacobs & Field sauces and chutneys. It doesn't stop there; moving out into the garden Johnny and Damion have created a large decking area offering yet more dining space, again split into table service and more casual bar service.

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Soon-to-be Dining Room

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
Al Fresco Dining - picnic benches for bar service, tables and chairs for table service

If you still need more (god you're a demanding lot!), then pull up a picnic chair or a blanket and make yourself comfy on the lawn, which easily equals the size of the outside dining space. With dining space for 40 in the bar, 76 in the dining room and a further 60 outside, you can still grab one of the 60 drinking spots outside if you'd just like to enjoy relaxing in the garden.

The theory here is that the J&F gentlemen want Jacobs Inn to be a flexible venue, with something for almost everyone. In addition to the expectedly good food there will also be Wi-Fi throughout (with a little booster help to get reception through the walls); daily opening hours of 9am to 11pm; high chairs and baby changing facilities; not forgetting the pizza oven in the garden which will be ideal for private parties!

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Outside Pizza Oven and Grill Area - Ideal for Events

Phew, I think that covers it. But what about the menu..?! Well, you can expect the same wonderful breakfasts served up in their cafe; you can also expect to see wonderful steaks; fish dishes; fabulous roasts for sharing at your table; gourmet sandwiches; home made Wolvercote Chorizo - which they plan to make from their very own pigs, reared on site (you can go say hi to them!); ice cream sold from a cart in the garden; fabulous salads; plus bar snacks like wonderful Scotch eggs and quiche.

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Would you believe both pigs were the same size when they first arrived
Has someone been a greedy piggy?

The pigs aren't the only livestock onsite, the eggs sold from the bar will be provided by the 10 friendly chickens living in the back garden! The livestock is a bit of an experiment for Johnny and Damion, but don't be surprised to see them rearing more pigs in future if this works out for them.

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In a further bid to be self reliant, the Jacob's gents have the start of a very impressive kitchen garden, with strawberries, beans, sweetcorn and lettuce growing in planters made from reclaimed wood and troughs - even the decking was made from reclaimed wood. It turns out Johnny & Damion aren't just good at food, they're also bloody good at scouring salvage yards, with the wooden flooring coming all the way from Latvia! I know who I'll be calling the next time I refurbish a house...

So there you have it, the venue, the opening date, the set up... wait, did I miss something...?

You didn't think I'd let you down did you?! ;-) Take an exclusive look at the full menu below! 

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour

See you all there!

FoodieOnTour x

Since posting this I had chance to sample the grub for myself, you can read the full review here

Jacobs Inn
130 Godstow Road
Twitter: @jacobsinn
Facebook: @Jacobs-Inn
Website: TBC
Phone: 01865 514333


  1. Fantastic! Looks great - but is your name Jacob's Inn or Jacobs Inn (with or without the apostrophe)? Your sign says the former and your menu latter. I thought it would be Jacobs without the apostrophe, like taken from your Headington Deli Jacobs & Field?

    Anyway, good luck guys! Cannot wait to come and sample the food and drink!


  2. £5 for warm having a laugh?...I shall miss my good value Sunday roasts at The Red Lion...another pub ruined by gentrification and ludicrous "foodie" nonsense...

  3. Previous commenter: "ruined"? The Red Lion was a joke, awful food, fag ends strewn over the untended garden, inedible food. The Jacobs Inn is really excellent and a long overdue boost to Wolvercote.

    Small quibble thouigh to add to the one above about the apostrophised (or not) name: does the menu really say "Spinich" :)

  4. Thanks for the comments guys, interesting to see different views here.

    Would also love to hear from anyone who's recently been & tried the food.

  5. As always, great food, unique dining experience and a lovely setting. Jonny & Damien are setting a standard which many other restaurants and cafe's in Oxford could do well to follow. Well done to the fellas, another good job!


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