It’s a quiet Tuesday in the middle of August, but Bicester Village – a designer outlet shopping centre in the heart of Oxfordshire – is positively bustling. Clearly a preferential place to shop away from the hustle and hurry of Harrods and Bond Street, Bicester has become a successful go-to shopping destination in its own right. It’s artificial “street” of shops is the same length as London’s Oxford Street, and it is now more popular than other more traditional British tourist attractions, such as the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum and the Tower of London. In 2016 alone, a reported 6.4 million shoppers flocked to Bicester’s prettily landscaped site in order to spend, spend and spend a bit more.
How fitting then, that one of the most “must be seen at” restaurants in London has opened here. Café Wolseley At Bicester Village is the latest venture by parent company Corbin & King, and the group’s first outside London. It’s also the home of the first Wolseley Shop, which offers such delights as candles, crystal glassware, antique silver, chocolate truffles, fine wine and champagne.
The style and features of this new site will be immediately recognisable to anyone familiar with Corbin & King’s West End flagship, The Wolseley, and on our visit, we were glad to see more than just ladies that shop – it’s clearly also a place where businessmen can chill in the black and white cool of the room, with its black and white tiles and black chairs. With good-sized table space, this was a welcome retreat with the busy buzz of the shoppers in Dolce & Gabbana opposite. Bicester always seems to be heaving at midday, so it’s best to come early in the morning and spend a couple of hours before relaxing at lunchtime. Certainly, by 3 pm, the restaurant was completely full and continued to be for the rest of the afternoon.
Café Wolseley is not just a place for lunch, however. Open from 8.30 am, it’s also ideal for breakfast. Come the afternoon, it serves afternoon tea too. For the more time-pressed among you, there is The Counter – a take-away counter to grab coffee and cake on the go.
We were in no rush to run off anywhere, however, and settled in to enjoy a hearty lunch. We had the fresh smoked salmon – which was delicious – followed by paillard of chicken with salad – the perfect choice for a lunchtime bite. We also tried their classic wiener schnitzel (also available with chicken) served with lingonberry compote, which is a classic Wolseley dish with a hint of summer. We then followed up with two generous glasses of zesty pinot grigio!
There’s perhaps not as much on offer as you’d find on the London menu but when you are at Bicester to find that perfect outfit, you don’t want too many choices! The prices of the Bicester Village menu are very reasonable too, and reflect the out-of-town location.
Café Wolseley is well worth visiting if you come to Bicester. A wonderful place to rest and revive before continuing with your shopping, it’s a welcome addition to the centre’s foodie scene. Book in advance to avoid disappointment!
For more information about Cafe Wolseley at Bicester Village, click here.