Our cookbook has made us kind of public property. Of course this was going to happen, except we never really thought about it. The last couple of weeks I’ve pulled more shifts behind the Taste Tibet counter than I usually do, and I’ve met customers who’ve travelled far and wide to meet us – the book’s authors. This is a a strange experience and it’s made me glad that I’ve been around a bit more. People know our story and they want to connect with us. How amazing.
If you’ve read the cookbook then you’ll know more about me and Yeshi than I remember we’ve put out there, but since I mostly like to hide behind the Chef, there’s still plenty I haven’t shared about my own journey from there to here. My life experiences definitely feed into the Taste Tibet experience, so here’s a little background.
I’m not from Oxford. The reason we ended up here is because in a previous life I used to work for Oxford University Press. For many years I lived in Beijing, where I worked freelance as the Chief Editor of the Oxford Chinese Dictionary. By day I edited batches of words at home with my two Chinese cats by my side (the same elderly feline friends you sometimes see on our Instagram). By night I ate my way through Beijing’s best restaurants with my pals (pictured).
The finest eateries in the capital – in our opinion anyway – were not the ones where you indulged, banquet-style, in a ten-course feast of imperial delicacies. Those restaurants do exist, and in a previous working life that goes back even further (ask me later), I used to be wined and dined in them. No, the best restaurants in town were the hidden gems of the city – the noodle bars tucked away down the back streets, the Yunnan place that did an unbelievable spiced potato pancake (think rösti on heat) and the dumpling restaurant on two levels that was always heaving.
You never had to book at these places – reserving a table wasn’t even an option – so we always managed to bag what our bellies desired on the night. With Taste Tibet, we strive to recreate the same idea: we don’t take bookings, and this means that everyone who has the hunger will be fed. Sometimes (rarely) you may need to pop across the road to the Rusty Bicycle for a cheeky half, but we always find the room.
Our sharing tables are borne out of the same objective. Back in Beijing I would often step into the local jiaozi shop by my lonesome, but I was never alone for long. Neighbours and other locals always came slurping their soups alongside me soon enough. I loved the random conversations that followed.
No reservations then – a wee insight into why. Just swing by any time during opening hours this week, as follows:
Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)
Thursday – Saturday: 12-3 (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
See you soon!
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Thurs – Sat: 12-3pm 🥢 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318