Tuesday, 14 May 2013

SoJo - Oxford

Oxford is a toy city. Like any other city in the world, but with everything on a tiny scale. Take China Town - it starts at Hythe Bridge and finishes two doors down. Two restaurants and a Chinese supermarket. That's all. Don't even mention the Jewish quarter: a single blue plaque nailed to a wall off Blue Boar Street.
When you have a restaurant like SoJo, you don't need the rest of China Town. Hidden behind dark glass and wedged between a sleazy nightclub, a hostel and a futon shop, this is an easy place to miss. Most knuckle dragging larger swillers on a Saturday are attracted by the bright lights of Bangkok House, leaving SoJo for the Chinese and the three of four natives who once read Giles Coren's review.

Being one of them, I am wise enough to steer clear of the standard Chinglish fare and go for the specials. Choose anything, literally anything, but always pick the pork hock. Succulent and sweet, so tender it can be cut with a spoon. A dim sum selection to start and one of the fish dishes, plus aubergine and pork or Chinese cabbage and mushrooms - my favourites. Be careful of anything with three 'S' marks and heed the advice of the waiters - they know their stuff and offer practical advice to those who clearly don't know what they're ordering.

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