Wilding, Oxford: A Must-Try Restaurant In The City Of Dreaming Spires

By Martha Davies

3 weeks ago

You’ll want this sharing menu all to yourself 

Out and about in Oxford and feeling peckish? There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, but bypass the bustling high street and you’ll find this standout spot. Martha Davies reviews Wilding.

Restaurant Review: Wilding, Oxford

Table at Wilding, Oxford, with sharing plates and glasses of wine.

Spend a few hours in a small city like Oxford and a paradox begins to emerge: since everything you might want to see sits within a remarkably small radius, why bother walking further than a few streets to find anything else? It’s a difficult battle to fight. But make the ten-minute pilgrimage from the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian to the pretty neighborhood of Jericho, and you’ll find Wilding.

This stylish restaurant and wine shop might not count the great libraries and landmarks as its neighbours, but it’s in good company: it takes a coveted spot on Little Clarendon Street, a lovely lane strung with lights and dotted with boutique stores and organic food shops. Boasting a charcoal and green colour palette, it’s chic but relaxed – sunny in the daytime, cosy in the evening, and the perfect place to enjoy a truly brilliant meal.

Interior of Wilding, Oxford, with wooden tables and charcoal accents.

As you might expect, the drinks list is extensive: organic, fortified and amber wines are all on offer, and you can sample fine wines poured straight from high-tech wine dispensers. Lovely staff are on hand to offer recommendations, and they’ll also run you through the menu, which is led by Ben Wood (former head chef at Barrafina in Kings Cross). Wilding offers a seasonally led, sharing-style concept which marries global influences with ethically sourced produce; you’ll spot standout dishes like barbecue hispi cabbage (served with English shitake) spiced lamb koftas (finished with fermented wild garlic yoghurt​) and Jerusalem artichoke bhajis (a reimagining of the classic Indian street food using local ingredients). The menu is loosely divided into nibbles, small plates and larger dishes, but you’ll likely have to restrain yourself from ordering it all. 

Take, for example, the vegetable dishes. Fresh veg might not sound sexy, but it’s a work of art here: think Wye Valley asparagus with black garlic ketchup; wood oven fired carrots with dukkah and spiced yoghurt​; and a particularly exquisite dish of Lyonnaise potato with chive mayonnaise. For a taste of the sea, try the roast cod (or the monkfish tail, if, somehow, you’re still feeling particularly hungry). In terms of meat, there’s plenty to choose from, but make sure to go for the Cumbrian beef tartare, which is piled atop a huge rosemary hash brown. If it all seems enticing, that’s because it is – these dishes look gorgeous and taste even better. 

Dessert at Wilding, Oxford

The same can be said when it comes to dessert. You’d certainly expect nothing less from the coconut choux bun, which is filled with passion fruit and lemon curd, or the dark chocolate delice, which is complemented by blood orange and whipped mascarpone. If you don’t fancy something sweet, you can sample a selection of cheeses (and you can’t get more locally sourced than these – they’re from the Jericho Cheese Company next door). When you’re well and truly stuffed, don’t worry: it’s only a short walk back to the dreaming spires.


This is a sharing menu packed full of showstoppers. Pull yourself away from Oxford’s grande dames long enough to take a stroll over to Wilding – it won’t disappoint.


11-12 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford OX1 2HP. wilding.wine