Where to hold the office party is a conundrum many of us face every year, that unenviable task of trying to keep everyone happy and the price down.

A group of journalists (a jape or a jostle perhaps) are a more gregarious gang than normal. A hard crowd to please then. So when coming up with a suitable venue for our annual get-together, Cowley Road was always the focus.

With a continuous stream of new places opening up there, a bustling night life, plenty of scope for before and afters, and an eclectic and ever changing choice of cuisines, we were spoilt for choice.

And yet we ended up where we always go: Coco’s, because it’s a guaranteed great night out, the food is consistent, reliable, delicious and has something for everyone.

Plus the venue is fun, its funky decor complete with clowns in the bath and its horseshoe bar as relevant as ever. Some places never age it seems.

Cowley Road is struggling though, the Westgate Centre absorbing many of its customers.

But they’ll be back before long, Cowley Road’s unmistakeable allure, independent heavy line-up and unique offerings still its main attraction.

The East Oxford stalwart, Cafe Coco it was then, sister restaurant to the wonderful Kaz Bar next door and bar Tarifa further down.

Managing to fit us all in on one long table; we opted for the burger/pizza/salad options rather than the more formal set menu, and got stuck in at the bar first.

Once seated, we started off with some garlic dough bread, tzatziki, houmous and the baked camembert with cranberry sauce and granary toast, the dishes scattered up the table to share.

Lots of establishments offer similar fare, but this is the real deal - no grainy houmous, watery tzatziki or dry garlic bread here.

Next up was a real array of what Coco’s has to offer: giant calzones (vine tomato, ham, mozzarella, garlic, parmesan & cream, £11.75) began appearing alongside my favourite: the merguez & tzatziki pizza £10.75 (spicy beef & lamb sausage, spinach, onions, peppers, garlic and mozzarella topped with tzatziki), the latter plonked in the middle, perfect for dunking those crusts into.

The numerous burgers were also popular, served with a choice of skinny chips, superfood salad or coleslaw. The 6oz ground steak burger (£11) was cooked medium rare, in a seeded bun with tomato, lettuce, red onion and gherkin. The pulled pulled pork burger (£11) came with free range pork from Rectory Farm, Beckley in a seeded bun with tzatziki, red onion, piquillo peppers, tomato and lettuce, which oozed with juices.

From the bun, through each layer, right to the juicy meat and crispy chips, nothing is left to chance at Coco’s, each ingredient carefully thought through and prepared. Even the homemade veggie burger (£9.95) with piquillo pepper, tomato, lettuce and gherkin served in a seeded bun, was a triumph with our herbiverous friends.

Others tried the garlic king prawn & coriander superfood salad (£13.50) with chillies and spring onions, the seared salmon superfood (roasted salmon fillet with edamame beans, quinoa, greens, chickpeas, cranberry, mint, chia seeds with lemon, olive and sesame oil dressing), or the rocket and prosciutto salad with sundried tomatoes, parmesan, capers and basil oil (£11.75).

So bear Cowley Road in mind when choosing where to eat out, and support Oxford’s independent restaurants. Otherwise our favourite places will slowly start to disappear.

There’s a resolution if I’ve ever heard one.