Saturday, 7 April 2012


I and countless other people have been saying for years that Bicester needs a proper English restaurant serving good English food. Now there is nothing wrong with the proliferation of Indian, Chinese, etc takeaways and restaurants - most people enjoy those things, but variety is good, and basically there has been nowhere in this town where you can go out and enjoy a decent English meal. And don't even get me started on the Hungry Horse, you may as well, as Basil Fawlty once memorably said "Put out a huge tray of baked beans and garnish it with a few dead dogs".

So Maba opens - on the corner of my street. What could be better? Impressive looking menu, nice concept. Let's give it a try. So having returned from Legoland on Wednesday, a quick shower and shave later and in we go for our meal - the four of us, that's Duncan, Claire, Lynda and myself.

Nice little cocktail menu to peruse and also a wine list as we waited for our table, booked for 8pm. They were extremely busy as is to be expected for a new place, and as we did not have anywhere else to go that night I did not mind waiting for a table. Whilst the girls ordered cocktails, us red-blooded males ordered up a nice full bodied bottle of red. And off to the table we went.

At this point something rather bizarre happened. A strange looking man came got up from a neighbouring table, came over to us and said "Which one's Lynda Sharp?"

Now I was wondering, what on earth's going on here? This is either some assassin hired by some past enemy, or possibly a stripper. But then he explained - apparently Bestie is famous for being top of the Bejeweled Blitz rankings on facebook and news of her arrival in the restaurant had reached him and he had come over to pay his respects.

The red wine we ordered, was lovely, a rather nice Malbec. Now with the restaurant being rather busy, it took a while for our orders to be taken and for our starters to arrive, but let me assure you, I consider this a good thing. When I am in good company, in a restaurant, I don't want to be rushed in and out within an hour. So the wine and the laughter flowed, and before the starters even came, the bottle of red was diminishing fast. Well Duncan was enjoying it very much, and I was rather drunk on the atmosphere so was thinking we should order another! Unbelievably, Bestie, who has this odd notion that I misbehave on too much drink, subtly tried to tell Duncan "Don't let him order another bottle!" but I was wise to this move and our second bottle arrived along with the starters.

And what of the starters! Wow, I had chicken liver parfait and it was absolutely gorgeous - to die for in fact, Claire had the same. Both the Sharps were also very pleased with their choices. As for the mains which followed, well Bestie and I both had steaks, though I think she had the better option at the prices with the ribeye fillet whereas as you know, my meat always is served best "on the bone". Duncan's liver and bacon and Claire's pork belly were also excellent.

Now the chips, we did receive only 6, but they were the largest chips I have ever seen, and quite sufficient for my needs. I have never required a huge amount anyway, not for me the pile it high, undercook it and sell it cheap mentality of the Hungry Horse. No, these were "par excellence". And so, on to delicious chocolate torte and Irish coffee and a large bill - but quite frankly, with the company, and the time spent (3 hours) who cares?

Maba? Huge thumbs up and back in a couple of weeks for a revisit, without a doubt. They also do lunch, so may have to pop in for a sneaky one!

Well only 3 days behind with the blogs now, action packed life at the moment, but that's all good!

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Jason x x


  1. Does Maba have a website? Been searching for a phone number online so I can book a table but struggling to find any contact details at all! Do you have the number by any chance? I fancy trying it on Sunday!

  2. Hi there - you can find all the details you need on their facebook page, the link to it is here:

    If you're unable to access that for any reason the phone number is 01869 328750.


  3. VERY disappointed with this place. I booked a table specifically for Sunday morning brunch for 11.30 on 29th April. When we turned up the place was completely empty but the techno music was loud, intrusive and inappropriate both for the venue, time of day and customer demographic. The waiter told us that brunch isn't served on Sundays (WHAT??) and that the kitchen wouldn't be open until 12 noon. We ended up walking out and going to Villandry at Bicester Village instead. If this is the best that a new independent business in Bicester can do, I don't think they'll last very long....Need to get their marketing priorities right. Won't be back in a hurry...

    1. You can please some of the people all the time all the people some of the time but never both!! and some people you can just forget and put it down to people looking to be miserable! I had a fantastice meal in there with some friends and we all agreed its just what Bicester needs.

  4. Can't agree with previous comment I'm afraid. Had a very poor meal there. Restaurant virtually empty but waited what seemed like forever to receive poorly cooked food, served with zero interest by waiting staff. Oh dear.

  5. Oh, don’t they accept reservations? Good thing you didn’t mind waiting for a table. Considering that they were on their first day, many people would really come to check them out! It’s actually my peers’ tasks to check every restaurant that opens near our place, hehe. I miss those days… =(

  6. We have been a few times and love it. The food is always good, the service fast but unobtrusive and the staff very friendly! This is not the Ritz but it does not set its self up to be. Good food at a reasonable price, what more do you want Bicester?

  7. Great review, Jason. On the back of it we're off to try Maba tonight!

  8. Love Maba. Great food and had some cracking cocktails in there. Not cheap as in the chav gastro 'haven' that is Hungry Horse but you get what you pay for! :)

  9. Apparently Maba laid all it's staff off today no notice but with a month's pay. Seems after one year of business Maba have already closed it's doors. :/

  10. The 'rumour' is they got closed with immediate effect following a customer discovering a dog tag (the kind used for identification) in their food - which might explain the unexpected and sudden dismissal of staff :-/ Glad we never ate there!