You might have noticed that Oxford institution Gee’s Restaurant and Bar is closed at the mo (sob), but never fear – it’ll be back in just eight weeks as the revamped Gees Restaurant, Bar, Gallery & Secret Garden. The owners are investing a cool mil into creating two new spaces for the iconic conservatory restaurant: Gees Gallery, an art gallery and shop that also doubles as an event space for up to 50 guests, and Gees Secret Garden, a heated courtyard terrace for up to 60 diners. The grand re-opening is slated for mid-May – we’ll see you there!
How does a foodie break in Marlow with (count ’em) three Michelin stars sound? Thought so! From 1 May, Tom Kerridge is launching a new Gastronomic Getaway package, which includes two B&B nights at his two-Michelin star pub, The Hand & Flowers, as well as a three-course à la carte dinner on one night and a four-dish dinner at his other Michelin-star pub, The Coach on the other. The package also includes a £50 Butcher’s Tap & Grill voucher, which can be spent at the grill or at the butcher’s counter, a complimentary bottle of Harrow & Hope sparkling wine in your room, and a copy of The Hand & Flowers cookbook signed by the man himself. Phew! All you’ll need to do is shell out £500pp and book some annual leave, as the package is only available on Tuesdays. Sign us up!
New on the scene
Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar has added a new name to his roster of Bucks restaurants (he’s already the brains behind Sindhu at The Compleat Angler and Vaasu in Marlow and Hawkyns at The Crown Inn in Amersham). Riwaz opened its doors last week in Beaconsfield, and is offering a set lunch menu (£15 for two courses, £18 for three), an a la carte menu, a seven-course tasting menu (£65pp, with vegan and vegetarian options) and a jugalbandi menu for two (£35pp).
Book-worms and beer-lovers, rejoice! You’ll find a new home in Gulp Fiction, which just opened on Saturday in Oxford’s Covered Market. This bijou second-hand bookshop serves up coffee from nearby roastery Missing Bean and beer from local breweries Tap Social and BMAN, so you can browse and booze to your heart’s content (or, er, until the shop shuts at 5.30pm).
Need to wear out the kids, but the weather’s making your usual park/playground trips an impossibility (thanks, Eunice)? Ninja Warrior to the rescue! This brand new indoor adventure park inspired by the TV show opened two weeks ago – by Chris Kamara, no less – in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, and has all the obstacles you’d want for a ninja in training. Anyone else tempted to tackle the wall? Just me? Okay then.
Famous faces at Henley
We’ve already shouted about the line-up of Henley Festival’s 40th anniversary (you’ll be hearing from Sir Tom Jones, Craig David, The Script, Boney M, and Pete Tong – talk about diverse!), but the latest news on the black-tie grapevine is that Katherine Jenkins will be headlining the iconic Floating Stage, along with a full orchestra, on Sunday 10 July. If that’s not enough to give you goosebumps, singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti will be closing out proceedings with a little Riviera glamour, thanks to performances from his new album Europiana. Sounds like an excellent 40th shindig to us!
In your ears
Need a new listen for the commute? Blenheim Palace has launched a series of podcasts on Spotify, hosted by the Palace’s social historian Antonia Keaney (although you can expect to hear from the likes of Sue Perkins, Hugo Vickers and more). It covers everything from secret rooms inside Blenheim’s iconic grand bridge to the behind-the-scenes view of running a grand estate, as well as what life was like in the Palace in the days of Winston Churchill. All in all, it sounds set to be a fascinating listen – consider us subscribed.
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