Big news:

Branca restaurant and deli on Walton Street is expanding into the former Posh Fish to become a new deli, cafe and hotel, all of which will become part of the Branca experience.

Branca restaurant and deli owner, Paul Petrillo, plans to expand the current restaurant space and deli across all three premises and create a new ‘food hall’ style presentation providing fresh food prepared on the premises. The boutique hotel rooms will each come with ‘en suite’ bathroom and an outside terrace.

Paul Petrillo commented: “This is a tremendous opportunity for Branca to extend its offer and stay in this fantastic location. We have a well-established following in the area but this consent will enable us to energise our food retail offer with fresh food made in the kitchen here. It’s a very exciting prospect for us and our customers."

Owned by St John’s College, Prof Andrew Parker, Principal Bursar, St John’s College added: “Jericho has a long established reputation for great food, service and community. We are also pleased to see a local, well-established business go from strength to strength.” More to follow.

Nestled in South Leigh, Artist Residence Oxford will be opening its doors to the public as a pub and restaurant next month.

Mr Hanbury’s Mason Arms will include five bedrooms and owners Justin and Charlotte Salisbury aim to convert the stables and outbuildings into a further seven bedrooms later next year.

Believed to be a former farm house dating from the early 1600s, the Grade II-listed Mason Arms is constructed of limestone beneath a thatched roof.

The interior features an abundance of original features including flagstone flooring, dark oak panelling, rustic beams and stone walls. Items selected from auction houses and reclamation houses are being chosen for the property, while William Morris wallpaper and artwork from the Connor brothers will add colour.

The Salisburys said: “We’re off to the countryside to restore an old pub to its former glory. The setting is very quiet and surrounded by farmland – we wanted to find somewhere remote and rural with a natural charm and character to it, something that you can’t fake."

Ollie Moore, who has previously worked as head chef at the Michelin-starred Black Rat restaurant in Winchester, Hampshire, is joining the Mason Arms as head chef.

Enjoy a lovely Easter Egg Hunt at the Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel on Easter Sunday at 2pm when eggs will be hidden around the hotel’s grounds for both adults and children alike to hunt out!

Wilderness' foodie line-up is mightily impressive. The Oxfordshire festival runs from August 3-6 at Cornbury Park and this year's Long-Table Banquets boast Yotam Ottolenghi, Chiltern Firehouse wunderkind Nuno Mendes and restaurateur and Guardian columnist Thomasina Miers.

Wilderness welcomes Tommy Banks, the youngest ever winner of a Michelin Star in the UK and Hamish Brown of London institution Roka for the very first time, alongside fellow esteemed chef Robin Gill of The Dairy and Merlin Labron-Johnson of Portland and Clipstone.

Sophie's Cookery School not only has a brand new website at but some fantastic new classes scheduled including ever-popular favourites like Lemongrass, Lime, and Chilli or Spring Pasta, as well as brand new classes, such as a foray into olive oil tasting, a Vietnamese feast, and adventures in Korean cooking for it's Oxfordshire clients.

These include Easy Patisserie today at 6pm, Tapas next Thursday, then Latin American Vegetarian, Bread For Beginners, Spice is Nice, Moroccan Magic, Wok and Roll, Paneer to Panko Vegetarian, Middle Eastern Mezze, Italian Islands, Eastern Mediterranean Vegetarian and Knife Skills.