Gees remains a bastion of the Oxford restaurant scene, managing to tread that fine line between comfort and style, class and relaxation, casual dining and sophisticated cooking.
But it is rather a ‘special occasion’ place, so news that it’s changed its Weekend Brunch to a daily offering for the new working-from-home dwellers, students and Oxford residents was wonderful news, giving respite to us all. A home away from home.
“Time passes so seamlessly at Gees it’s indecent”
And what a home! Despite it being autumn when we visited before lockdown, Gees’ (sister restaurant to Quod and The Parsonage Grill) trademark greenhouse was as welcoming as ever.
The entrance walkway, now all Christmassy, was then framed by seasonal squash, gourds and baby pumpkins vying for artful space with tropical vegetation.
Its owner Jeremy Mogford’s taste is as evident inside, because while the atrium style dining area has an elegant orangery feel, flooded with light, furnished with contemporary wooden chairs, wicker sofas and hanging lamps, the bar is sleeker and darker, more exotic, the contrast alluring.
Despite arriving at 9.30am for brunch there was already several tables of people meeting, eating and working when we arrived, champagne being enjoyed at one table for a birthday celebration, a coffee and a laptop at another.
We were there for the full shebang however and weren’t taking any prisoners, ordering a Bloody Mary while we surveyed the menu and took in the wonderfully bucolic scenery. It was a joy to be back.
Having hardly eaten the night before in preparation, we got stuck into the lovely, gentle menu.
Granola with yoghurt and honey sounded slightly too healthy for what we required. I had also hoping for some kippers or smoked haddock, so was surprised there was no fish on the menu.
Instead we ordered the Eggs Florentine, alongside the burrata and smashed avocado on toast, plus a side of banana bread with Chantilly cream to accompany our coffees later on.
soft slithers of onion, a generous handful of spicy chorizo chunks, dense oily potatoes, a scattering of parsley, the egg filling crispy around the edge. The crashed eggs were a triumph
Our waiter then persuaded us to try crashed eggs (£11.50) as well; a chorizo and potato, Spanish omelette sort of thing apparently.
And thank God he did because it was delicious – soft slithers of onion, a generous handful of spicy chorizo chunks, dense oily potatoes, a scattering of parsley, the egg filling crispy around the edge. The crashed eggs were a triumph.
The Eggs Florentine (£8.95) arrived beautifully cooked, the spinach and poached eggs smothered in their enticing, soft, unctuous, yellow hollandaise sauce. (see pic above)
The avocado came with a huge hunk of burrata (like a softer, squidgier version of mozzarella). Lovely, but a side of chilli flakes or hot sauce could have beefed it up a bit.
As for the banana bread (£4), ordered as a greedy aside, it was delectable, bouncy, fragrant and modest, you could tear bits off and dip them in the cream with its flecks of vanilla. I felt like Marie Antoinette.
Three coffees down, and still soaking up as as much of the heavenly scene and atmosphere as possible, we realised how late it was. Time passes so seamlessly at Gees it’s indecent, but with the lunch customers arriving, it was time to reluctantly move on and return home.
For one wonderful morning however Gees helped us forget about the world outside, enveloping us seductively while spoiling us rotten, so that when you reappear back on Banbury Road, you’d almost forgotten it was there.
Gees provides the perfect escape and is definitely worth leaving home for. I’m planning my next sortie imminently.
Gees brunch runs from brunch 9-11am everyday, with the last booking time at 10.45am.
GEE’S RESTAURANT & BAR, 61 BANBURY RD, OXFORD, OX26PE 01865 553540 https://www.geesrestaurant.co.uk
Gees brunch menu is here: https://www.geesrestaurant.co.uk/food-and-drink/restaurant/brunch/