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Restaurant review: Gee's, Oxford - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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Restaurant review: Gee's, Oxford
The lovely markbanang was kind enough to take me to Gee's to celebrate my oldinating. Perhaps I would not have acquiesced so readily had I known that Thursday night was their fresh seafood platter night, which they fly in direct from the Channel Islands, and thus we would have to sit and watch a professional looking gentleman on an expense account consume two people's worth of seafood. (markbanang was most put out that the gentleman in question left all the meat in the lobster claws; I was just put out that there was so much yummyness that those of a vegetarian persuasion such as myself were unable to indulge in.) Perhaps it was fortunate that I was unaware, since we had a superb meal as a result.

Gee's is primarily a seafood restaurant, so they do not offer a wide choice of vegetarian food, but I was nonetheless torn between starters, finally plumping for the parmesan and artichoke salad. There are few vegetables where quality of preparation and selection are as important as with the artichoke, but Gees did not disappoint, with a wonderful combination of crispness and softness that was a delight to sample. The combination of flavours, which was complemented with fresh asparagus combined perfectly with a flawlessly executed vinaigrette, was what made the salad however.

For my main course, the only option provided was a vegetable tagine, which was fortunately quite spectacular, with a tangy flavour reminiscent of Indian influences. The couscous accompaniment was perfectly cooked, if unexciting (a common flaw in couscous, I find), and a good complement to the main dish. The accompanying cherry tomato salad was fresh and tasty, but perhaps a little too similar to the starter for my taste.

For desert, I sampled the passion fruit cheesecake, which employed the unusual technique of layering the fruit in a thin set jelly upon on the top of the marscapone. This made for a good contrast of tastes and textures when combined with the biscuit base. A wonderfully tasty desert which I believe could have been slightly improved by a little more generous use of the coulis garnish, as this contrasted well with the flavour of the cheesecake. We also ordered an Eton Mess to share, which was tasty, but no more so than messes friends have made in the past. I suspect that there is little art to such a dish and it stands entirely on the quality of its ingredients.

There was one culinary low point to the evening. Gee's sell what are I believe the most expensive cocktails I have ever seen. I decided to try a Bloody Mary, since it was made with local tomatoes, and the substitution of horseradish for Worcester Sauce made it vegetarian. However, the horseradish merely amplified the bitterness of the vodka, and the tomatoes didn't have the strength of flavour to win through, and I was unable to drink more than a few sips. However, the manager was kind enough to refund the price of the drink, even though the problem was more a matter of personal taste than any inherent flaw in the preparation. Gee's cellar is sufficiently extensive as to be describable as voluminous, and even divides the whiskeys into Irish, Scotch and Rye, but as neither myself nor markbanang are great fans of wine, I can make no further comment on the quality of their selections.

The décor of Gee's is a little more crowded that I would have expected of a restaurant in this price range (although my companion felt it made for an intimate atmosphere) but is nonetheless very pleasant, being situated in a Victorian conservatory that gave an airy yet distinguished feel to the place. The service was friendly and the standard of cooking high, with any niggles being very minor in nature. Definitely recommended for a visit, even for a vegetarian, although it may be advisable to check that the main course on offer is to your taste on the website before booking.

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7 comments or Leave a comment
triskellian From: triskellian Date: August 13th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gees is my favourite Oxford restaurant, so I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)

(It's not primarily a seafood restaurant, though - perhaps that was just Thursday.)
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 13th, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Three of the six mains currently on offer are fish or seafood. Maybe it's just a seasonal thing though.
karohemd From: karohemd Date: August 13th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
the gentleman in question left all the meat in the lobster claws


Sounds like a fine place to eat.
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 13th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you would like it a great deal.

I did find the inclusion of foie gras on the menu slightly unpleasant though.
keirf From: keirf Date: August 14th, 2007 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Cous cous is great if it is made with saffron and tossed with sauteed mushrooms and a small quantity of fairly finely chopped red chili peppers.

(I rarely comment on your journal because I look for a "leave a comment" link, and your journal requires me to click on what looks like a square ping pong bat to me)
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 14th, 2007 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes. It's the one flaw in an otherwise excellent layout. Should still look normal if commenting direct from your friends page though. And I believe I'm set not to enforce my style on others as much as possible.

The way you describe couscous sounds wonderfully delicious. I imagine chilli's just the thing to liven up the normally rather bland couscous. I'd be tempted to throw a bit of fried garlic into the mix.
(Deleted comment)
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: August 14th, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was bound to mess up at least once, right? I'll fix it.

The tagine would be vegan, I suspect. Or was there some other reason.
7 comments or Leave a comment