After watching a big game between Chelsea and Barcelona, we wanted to find some place nearby and on our way back to our apartment to eat. Surprisingly, many restaurants seem to close early in Oxford. Thankfully, we found this little Caribbean gem. I was craving something spicy and different from "regular" British cuisine and pub food, so this place SO hit the spot.
It was a very quaint restaurant, and right away I loved the vibe. Quaint, clean, and friendly. The service is impeccable. Right away you almost feel like you're just at a friend's house--a friend with great hospitable manners. They staff is very caring and attentive. When they check up on you, it feels more like a friend or family member taking care of you to make sure you've got all the food and drink you could need and that you're well, and satisfied, and happy.
As soon as we sat down, they brought over a little dish of fresh, spiced pineapples--simple and delightful. I ordered the oxtail, which came with mac n' cheese, plantains, and a salad. On the side, I ordered the callaloo, a popular Caribbean dish that originated in West Africa. I forgot what green vegetable is used to make it, but it tastes like a silky, green, pureed stew. It's also made with coconut milk so there is a slight sweetness to it. I had never had it, and really enjoyed it. My oxtail was cooked to perfection! O my goodness, it was so tender and flavorful it melted in my mouth. The plantains were perfect, and even the salad was perfection. When a restaurant can pull off simple things so well and seemingly effortlessly, you know you can expect everything else to be amazing. I think it was just some green leaves drizzled with lemon juice, sprinkled with a dash of salt, and maybe a tiny bit of olive oil or something, but it didn't feel oily at all. It was a perfect balance, too, because everything else was so flavorful, it was nice to have the fresh salad on the side.
For dessert I ordered the Pamie with citrus cream, and also had a ginger lemon tea. I had also never had Pamie, but it's like a sweet tamale with some raisins, and the citrus cream was very creamy and thick. I almost thought it was ice cream at first. I was so full before we even got to dessert, but I figured I should try dessert for a full review, and by the end I thought Chris was going to have to roll me out.
Going back to making simple things great, the restaurant used a tea bag for the tea, but they also served it with a slice of fresh ginger and some fresh lemon as well. That little touch and extra attention to detail really was the cherry on top for me here.
If you find yourself in Oxford, you must go to Spiced Roots for a meal. It will take you out of the English countryside and set you down on a Caribbean island for a couple hours while you enjoy the great food, service, and music! Did I mention the music? The music was great and really brings you to an island state of mind.
Thank you Spiced Roots for a such an incredible meal and time whilst we were in Oxford!
BIG LOVE & HUGS