Regulars at South of Johnston loved the menu, but they also wanted something simpler. Owners Stuart McKenzie and Simon Carver answered with Oxford Larder in 2016.
It’s located on the ground floor of a nearby apartment block developed by the socially minded company Small Giants. McKenzie and Carver turned the stark concrete bunker into a homey, contemporary take on the old corner store with help from Pipkorn Kilpatrick.
Nearly every flat surface is covered in homewares and pantry goods for sale. There are plates from local ceramicist Andrei Davidoff, cups by Falcon Enamelware, cookbooks, wooden spoons, jams, bread, muesli, vegan chocolate and more. In all likelihood, you’ll impulse-purchase the giant chocolate freckles and old-fashioned jellybabies next to the till.
In the tiny corner kitchen, chef Glenn Bourke (ex-Phillipa’s and Spoonful) plates up home-style meals that go easy on sugar, oil, onion and garlic. Coeliacs and FODMAP-avoiders will feel at ease here.
Beyond baked eggs, porridge and potato waffles, it’s all about quiches, veggie fritters, meatballs and other pre-made takeaway dishes that transcend the sandwich. Vegetables always figure strongly in the display cabinets.
Often, it’s Carver who’ll personally welcome you into the 20-seat space. Or, if it’s full, he’ll hand you a blanket, Market Lane coffee and find you a seat outside.