When I began my Girl Eats Oxford project in April 2011, the idea of eating in and reviewing one Oxford establishment per week seemed doable. Daunting, but also doable. In many ways, my first naive thought was right: it's certainly possible to dine out once every 7 days, but finding the time to review is sometimes tougher. This isn't the real challenge, though. The problem is that by the end of March I'll only have scratched the surface of Oxford's restaurant scene.
This came as something of a surprise. As the city is frequently labelled a 'culinary desert', I had an ill-considered idea that it would be possible to review the majority of the restaurants worth visiting in 12 months. How wrong I was. Nine months in, I've eaten at around 40 different establishments - with much better results than you'd expect of a gastronomic wasteland. So far, so good. But the list of recommendations still to visit numbers over 40.
Will I continue my project for another year? I thought I'd let you decide: if you're keen to keep reading, please leave a comment below or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook. Whatever happens, I've decided to celebrate the end of the year with a dinner at the top-scoring restaurant of the project. So far, the only perfect 10 has been awarded to The Ball Green Door supper club, but with the chef currently away and its future uncertain, there's everything to play for. Please keep your suggestions coming, as comments, emails, Tweets or Facebook posts. And if you'd like to join me for dinner at the end of March, please email me your details.
The Ball Green Door may have scooped the top score so far, but I've discovered plenty of other favourites. For the most part, my top picks from my six-month anniversary still apply: Santorini, Al Shami and the Magic Cafe remain some of my most enjoyable experiences. Since September, I've also had excellent experiences at Oxfork, La Cucina and No1 Folly Bridge.
Who knows what else I'll discover in the final 3 months of my mission? For January, I'll be focusing on budget eats, with the results revealed on BBC Radio Oxford on 10 February. Following reader suggestions, I'll also be trying out more cafes, date-friendly restaurants and family-friendly spots. As ever, if you have any suggestions for me, let me know!
Thanks for reading and happy new year.