Oxford’s food scene is full of secret gems—small independent businesses that put any ubiquitous restaurant chain to shame. One of my particular favourites is the Standard, a long-standing family-owned restaurant that specialises in Bengali and South Asian cooking.
Located half-way down Walton Street in Jericho, the Standard is part of a cluster of exceptional independent restaurants, that also include Manos’ Greek deli and Mamma Mia’s pizzeria. Having eaten at the Standard an almost unquantifiable number of times—and ordered it on Deliveroo even more often—I feel like I’m entitled to call myself an authority on the place.
With apologies to those unlucky enough not to live five minutes’ walk away from Jericho, I would definitely recommend eating in, if only to have your food in its fresh, piping hot glory. The restaurant is one small, nondescript room with simple décor: it’s the food that does all the talking.
After the obligatory poppadum, my go-to dish is the chicken shashlik—perfectly grilled chicken off a skewer, with peppers, onions and tomato, all with the just right amount of char on the edges. Having eaten this dish in the restaurant itself, in my room during an essay crisis, and on a Friday night before drinks, I can safely testify its consistent outstanding quality.
Among my friends, we all have our favourites: without fail one orders brinjal bhaji (soft spiced aubergine) with prawn dupiaza (a curry with spiced onion and peppers), another swears by the palak paneer (spinach with paneer cheese) and peshwari naan combination (sultanas, almonds and coconut).
This is definitely a vegetarian-friendly joint, with an extensive vegetarian dishes list and the option to have a vegetable curry of any choice. You can also save money by ordering a vegetarian dish as a side plate, which is £2 cheaper than a main (I told you I was an expert).
The Standard’s reasonable pricing is a huge draw, with a generous meal including main course, naan and rice costing around £15. However, by some skilful manipulation of the menu (see above), you can get a highly satisfying meal for half that amount. Inevitably, the restaurant gets busy at dinnertimes, so I’d recommend either going for lunch or booking in advance. Overall, not only is this Indian incredible value, but it sets the standard for independent restaurants in Oxford.
The Standard, 117 Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6AJ.