Oxford isn’t known as a foodie destination. My guess is that it lacks on the Amazing Eats front because it’s (a) a pretty small place and (b) filled with people so cerebral that their minds don’t descend to lowly ruminations about food. You know, those strange people who just ‘forget to have lunch’ because they’re too busy thinking about subatomic particle dynamics, or go to a restaurant and order baked chicken because they ‘don’t really care about eating’.
That’s definitely not me. I’m not an intrepid gourmand or anything, but I do think about food, like, all the time. EVOO and artisan bread are my friends.
So because Oxford has put on such a disappointing show of English foodstuffs (hopes of raving in a semi-sexual Nigella voice about blistering gammon, hen ale pie, treacle tart and gorgeous jammy flapjacks were quickly dashed), I don’t feel bad for posting about Japanese cheap-eats.
Ah Itsu. With your clean fitout, hot-pink dappled décor, and Cali-cum-Japanese vibe, you had me at hello.
Omega 3 Salmon Supreme: Look at these little sushi, nuzzling up like newborn hamsters to densely delicious avocado and salmon maki. So plump! So joyous! The flirty green salad is topped with roasted seeds, and a zingy green dressing that Gwyneth would probably consciously couple with (or at least faintly curl her lips at to signal her approval).
Hip, Humble and Healthy: There is nothing humble about this salad. Sweet vinegary Japanese rice, foliage-galore, a fan of creamy avocado, tangy kombu relish and a hearty pop of edamame…I think it’d persuade even the staunchest of salad-dodgers.
With most meals under 400 cals* you can add on one of these cute juices. Normally I’m a ‘eat don’t drink your calories’ kind of girl, but I can’t pass up anything spiked with ginger or labeled ‘detox’. Gotta keep that liver spritely, amirite?
…and don’t forget the fro-go. It’s not particularly special (fro-yo will always be ice-cream and gelato’s awkward, pallid cousin) but it’s a nice way to round off your meal.
Also, they do chocolate edamame snack sachets. I haven’t tried them yet, but that’s for fear of addiction.
Too many nights I find myself leaving Itsu, stroking my belly and murmuring in a Dwight Shrute voice, “We done gooood in there, monkey”. Highest praise I can give.
*I actually love when restaurants have calorie listings. Not because I’m obsessively counting or anything, but because I like to get bang for my calorific buck. I strongly suspect that I was a panda in a past life, as I enjoy chowing down on ridiculous quantities of low-cal food all day long.