Having lived and worked around Oxford for the last 20 years, we were already familiar with The News Café when the lease became available. We came across it by chance on the Tuesday and had until the Friday to put together a proposal that could tempt the current owner of the lease to give Owen and I; two young..ish guys a chance to shine in the city centre instead of one of the many brands that were circling like vultures.

Firmly established within the city’s café scene, The News Café had a loyal following and was, the perfect site to house our ambitions. To our astonishment, the owner, granted us an audience and then went beyond our expectations by allowing us this excellent opportunity, ahead of the other more proven, interested parties.

We loved the site immediately.

It had multiple floors and vast potential. I wanted to create something interesting, that was on the tip of peoples tongues when asked where to eat in the centre of town? Somewhere that had a buzz, offered delicious food, served great wine and was a bit…cool. Where the staff were proud, motivated and knew their stuff.

The building was full of character but in need of a change. With a modern British Brasserie downstairs and a funky sharing concept and oyster bar on the first floor in my head, we set about the refurbishment. We exchanged on June 3 and opened on July 20. A month and a half of rounding up the various trades was exhausting, mentally scarring and extremely frustrating. I will do it differently if a similar situation arises.

However, No.1 Ship Street looks like nowhere else in the city, the contrasting floors are different enough to make them feel like two separate operations. Different vibe, different nosh, different sounds but the same thoughtful and charming service. We are for grown-ups, no mucking about, but we love what we do and the produce we offer, from the wines we offer to the drinks we create to compliment the food.

The opening night on Friday July 21 was really exciting for everyone involved. Partners, friends and family, alongside some serious industry professionals, joined us to celebrate our opportunity. It was great fun and very welcome after the preceding months.

Other highlights include the team we have recruited, who are extremely enthusiastic and have bought in to our vision. The food is winning followers already, and while aware of how talented head chef Owen Little is, it’s nice seeing others recognise this. The ambience is exactly as I had in my mind although we will tweak things here and there to keep people interested. All in all, it’s been a very exciting journey so far and one with a long way to go.

I hope we will become recognised as one of the city’s most consistent venues that offers diners a stylish option.

We look forward to welcoming you.