There was an awed silence as soon as I spoke, a tangible feeling of reverence tinged with fear and a dash of respect.

Like Aristotle announcing that the world was actually round or Einstein defying the clergy with his evolution theory, we were definitely stepping into unknown territory.

“Ummm, so you like hot food then?” the barman asked, nervously shifting from foot to foot.

“Because the angry wings are hot. I mean really hot.”

I looked around the bohemian interior of The Rickety Press and accepted that the nods of recognition coming from the regulars verified his story.

“Are you OK with that?” I asked Mr Greedy who was happily nursing a pint of best, while contentedly mulling over his meal ahead. He nodded in confirmation. The deal was done. Angry wings it was.

There was a gasp from a customer awaiting her turn at the bar next to me: “You need to be careful,” she said unprompted.

“The wings are really hot. I’d feel terrible if I hadn’t warned you. Are you prepared?”

I don’t know. Were we?

We had only popped in for a mid-week supper after all, not a gastronomic experiment. What had we got into? Should I have a jug of water on hand or a paramedic beside me? Did the JR’s gastro team need to be on standby?

After all, the angry wings did boast a ‘ring sting hot sauce’ which sounded painful at best.

Not before we’d had our pizzas anyway, the lure of the Rickety Press’ fantastic menu having lured us into Jericho in the first place.

Converted into a brilliant gastro pub when it first opened in 2011, the former Radcliffe Arms then evolved into its current format in 2015 - a more relaxed, hip and cool pizza and burger gaff, complete with red leather banquettes, books, board games and table football, catering for both locals and a hipper new crowd, who co-exist happily together.

It had been a while since I’d been however, and I’d forgotten how good it was. Either that or they had refined the menus enough to re-engage me, because the food all sounded wonderful.

The Rickety Press menu might be limited, but what they do, they do brilliantly, which meant a long pause while we worked our way through the extensive burger/pizza conundrum, succumbing finally to an overwhelming Italian craving.

So, two pizzas - the ‘del polpo (£10.50) - crushed tomato, fior de latte, oregano, roast garlic oil, smoked anchovies, kalamata olives, capers and chilli, and a ‘chorizo piccante (£11) with crushed tomato, fior di latte, basil, soft chorizo and dry cured chorizo.

As they don’t go for starters here, we threw in said angry wings (£6)and the avocado gem salad with radish and house dressing (£4.50), for good measure. Or not?

In the meantime I enjoyed a fabulous Bloody Mary, which they do brilliantly here, just the right strength and flavour with a flourish of grated horseradish on the top which is well worth the trip alone. Hangovers you have been warned.

And then our pizzas arrived; heaving with juicy succulent tomato cheesiness, the dough defying you not to rip it and sink your teeth into the charred bubbly bits, the crust chewy, the base soft, the ingredients standing out. Silence.

When we came to, as if in a trance, oil and tomato smeared all over our faces, we realised we hadn’t touched the side orders - not a problem where my well dressed salad was concerned; the soft avocado and crunch of radish complementing each other perfectly.

As for the wings I can safely say that Mr Greedy is still alive, without any medical intervention.

Yes, the wings were hot. They made him sweat and squirm. But he was happy to take the pain for the sweet, succulent, juicy flesh and the hit of chilli. All consuming, with a wonderful punch, it then receded without taking out the back of your throat out and your tastebuds at the same time.

So next time you are passing Cranham Street, pop in. I too will be returning, this time to try the burgers, taste buds reassuringly intact.

Katherine MacAlister

The Rickety Press,

67 Cranham Street,


Oxford, OX2 6DS

01865 424581

Opening hours: Kitchen: Mon-Thurs noon -2.30pm, 6pm-9.30pm

Friday: noon -2.30pm, 6pm-10pm, Saturday 10am-3pm, 6pm-10pm, Sunday 10am-3pm, 6pm-9.30pm.

Must try the: brunch on Saturdays and Sundays 10am-3pm