This charming little cafe/bar/restaurant/bistro (I can't work out quite what to call it!) sits unassumingly on the main shopping street in Headington, on the corner with Osler Road.
The initial impression is of a bar with small, crowded tables inside and out, that might serve you an average steak and chips, but once you sit down and take a look at the menu, it becomes apparent that the food here is something more.
When a group of four of us arrived late on a Saturday night (it must have been approaching 10pm) the place seemed full, and we assumed that they would not be interested in serving us food that late. But as soon as we got inside, and squeezed ourselves near the bar, the chap behind the bar enthusiastically promised a table within 10 minutes, and asked what he could get us to drink in the meantime.
Before we'd had a chance to make real headway into our G&Ts (made with Bombay Sapphire) the table was ready, and we sat down. The menu is predominantly meat based, although I must confess that I can't remember the whole range, it was so extensive, and we were so tired (there is a menu on their web site which will do better than I could).
I ordered a grilled lamb fillet cooked rare, which came with french fries, chips and bearnaise sauce. It arrived in good time, and was perfectly cooked, nice and red in the middle, and the accompaniment was spot-on.
It's the only time I've been out in Headington in the evening (it's nowhere near where I live) but I get the impression I'll be going to Cafe Noir again...