IT is interesting to note that the word ‘pop’ in old London slang, meant to ‘pawn’ – as in the old rhyme ‘...Pop goes the weasel’.

Basically the song is about blowing all your money on having a good time, then needing to pawn something in order to carry on.

Luckily the guys at Bicester’s Pop-in-the-Park are more than happy for you to bring your own bottle. so you’ll not have to ‘pop’ anything at the end to pay for your drinks tab if things get a bit out of hand. In fact, there isn’t a bill at the end. You pay your £45 per person way in advance then just take your own drinks.

The extremely talented chefs behind this great little pop-up restaurant in the town’s Garth Park are Anthony Pitcher and Oliver Snowden. These two lovely chaps have a wealth of culinary knowledge from their many years working for events and private dining.

This passionate, hard-working pair really know how to look after your tastebuds and your eyes at the same time. Their food is like art. And with seven-courses for your money they look after your wallet too.

The first Pop-in-the-park was a great success with excellent food, setting and service (big shout to Anthony’s wife for being one of the nicest front of house humans you could ever meet).

Our menu started off with a little smoked mackerel dish – almost too beautiful to eat. Made with cucumber, horseradish and dill pickles. The horseradish was subtle, creamy and clean and perfect with the crunchy cucumber.

Next on the list was a doughnut dish. Actually, whipped duck’s liver parfait, orange and cardamom glaze and sticky peanuts, it was an optical illusion where the eye thinks its pudding time – but then you can’t miss the parfait.

It was extremely unusual but delicious.

Oxford Mail: Pop in the park - a ‘pop-up’ fine dining experience at Garth Park in Bicester
Picture by Ed Nix

Then it was a tomato dish. Isle of Wight tomatoes, basil ricotta, black olive ketchup and pickled elderflowers. This dish was a joy to eat and a delight to photograph. The whole thing oozed freshness and changed colour as the olive ketchup gently mixed in.

Onwards to a kedgeree dish. This was again great to photograph. It slightly resembled a potato croquette, but this was a spiced Cornish smoked haddock arancini with raisin and tea puree, pickled fennel, spring onion and coriander.

It was a ball of goodness. Not fishy fish at all, again clearly very fresh with the pickled fennel cutting right through.

Now we were onto a lamb dish. This was the absolute highlight; the sort of dish you see on the television if you watch MasterChef. When it was brought out and placed on the table, I wanted to cry tears of joy.

It was a perfectly cooked cumin roasted Berkshire rump, sourced from the butchers on the Bucknell Road in Bicester.

And it was amazing.

Oxford Mail: Pop in the park - a Ôpop-upÕ fine dining experience at Garth Park in Bicester
Picture by Ed Nix

It was served with a lamb fat potato pressing, minted peas and broad beans, asparagus dib-dab, sheep’s curd and a lovely rich lamb jus. If I was in a room on my own I would have licked the plate clean for a good 10 minutes.

After that honestly very emotional dish, came a palate cleansing popsicle made with lemon, fennel and marjoram.

That got us ready for the final strawberry dish. This was a very close second to being the highlight. An incredibly pretty clotted cream panna cotta with macerated strawberries, an oatmeal lace and Cotswold gold rapeseed oil.

The rapeseed oil was very surprising. I had no idea oil would work on such a fruity dessert but it sure did.

It was a wonderful evening in a pretty park.

Oxford Mail: Pop in the park - a ‘pop-up’ fine dining experience at Garth Park in Bicester
Picture by Ed Nix

The next Pop-in-the-Park is this Saturday and is sold-out. The next one after that is on July 10 and is already nearly there - so be quick.

A good idea is to follow Anthony on his Pop? Instagram page @popinthepark or ‘pop’ him an email at