When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Celebrating 50 years of service at the Luna Caprese, Oxford
My first memory of the Luna Caprese in North Oxford was the sight of a celebrated (and rather large) local restaurant critic stuck in the spiral staircase leading down to the loo. From around the same time, about 1974, remains the flavour (after so long!) of a well sauced pheasant I had for lunch.
Others perhaps remember the taste of the goldfish. One of the features of the place used to be a tank of them. But the Oxford Mail reported in 1987: “It had to disappear when eating one of the Luna’s goldfish became almost as popular with the undergraduates as eating the more conventional cuisine.”
I feel sure nothing of the sort will have occurred when David Cameron and his Bullingdon Club friends dined there in their student days, as is recalled in a newspaper clipping hanging just inside the door.
The Luna was already well established when I first knew it in the early 1970s. Last month it celebrated its 50th anniversary with a dinner hosted by owner Juan Luis Castro. Swordfish not goldfish this time from Giovanni Ventriglia’s kitchen.
Chef and owner are pictured above. Below are two of the evening’s very special guests. They are Michael and Jenny Coates, who first visited the Luna on Easter Monday 1962 and have been back weekly ever since, at 6.10pm each Friday night.
Until comparatively recently the driving force of the restaurant had been its long-time boss Giorgio Iacono. It was as a consequence of his family connection with Capri — and with its best known resident Gracie Fields — that the Oxford Mail enjoyed a world scoop with a report of her death in 1979.