It’s all go at Taste Tibet on Magdalen Road at the moment, having just returned from the BBC food awards, with a new cookery book to launch and a Saturday Kitchen TV slot to revel in.
That’s right, the East Oxford restaurant which opened in November last year is certainly experiencing its moment in the sun as its fame spreads.
“Its’ all a bit overwhelming so we are just trying to enjoy it at the moment”
But then it’s hardly a surprise because Julie Kleeman and husband Yeshi Jampa‘s is such an inspirational story.
The pair first set up Taste Tibet from their home in East Oxford seven years ago, selling their infamous momos, dumplings, dahls and curries, before opening a stall at Gloucester Green Market, then a pop up at Silvie on Iffley Road, as well as feeding the country’s festival-goers from their mobile van.
Opening their own Tibetan restaurant, takeaway and shop on Magdalen Road in 2020 was a dream they’d been harbouring since they first met 12 years ago, and their star is still rising.
“We have been so pleased with the response to our new restaurant and had queues of people stretching down the street on the day we opened in lockdown,” the couple remember.
Having then been spotted by the Radio 4 Food Programme, a spot on Saturday Kitchen followed this month, and then they were then nominated for the BBC Food and Farming Awards which hosted a glittering ceremony in London last night, (they were one of three finalists but didn’t win). “Its’ all a bit overwhelming so we are just trying to enjoy the moment,” Julie explains.
As for their cookbook Taste Tibet, which is full of Yeshi’s stories and recipes, such is the current hype surrounding the East Oxford foodies, that its publishing date has been announced for pre-orders. (March 17)
“The photographs in the cookbook were taken of Yeshi’s family in their yak hair nomadic tents in Tibet, so they will be stars of the new book as well which they will find hilarious,” Julie says.
“It’s also ironic for Yeshi because he didn’t know recipe books even existed until we met. For him recipes were learnt, taught and passed down from generation to generation. There was no need to write them down.”
“Because for the Tibetans it’s their everyday food, often made and served from a big pot, so our recipe book has step by step instructions for those of us who didn’t grow up there,” Julie smiles.
Also working hard with Oxford Mutual Aid, Taste Tibet regularly contributes their home-cooked food to the Oxford charity, so has really immersed itself into the local community.
“In terms of location, East Oxford cannot be beaten – it’s so community minded. Opening your own restaurant is not for the faint-hearted, but we wouldn’t change a thing,” the pair agree.
Taste Tibet is open Wednesday-Saturday. 109 MAGDALEN ROAD OX4 1RQ .https://www.tastetibet.com
To pre-order Taste Tibet the cookbook go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Taste-Tibet-Family-recipes-Himalayas/dp/1911668420/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=taste+tibet&qid=1636990666&sr=8-1