Victors: a sneak preview

A taster of the latest restaurant to join the Westgate roof terrace

Picture: Ailin Cheng

On yet another sizzler of a hot day in Oxford, it seemed a perfect time to venture across the sun-soaked roof terrace of Westgate to Victors, the new Hamptons-inspired restaurant and bar.

Although the fine-dining hotspot will see its official launch tonight, last week the Victors team kindly welcomed Cherwell for an exclusive sneak peek of what’s to come.

Sleek glass panels and the gleam of yet-unused crockery convey a modern feel, yet this somewhat imposing grandeur is softened by the communal dining style of circular wooden tables and cushioned booths sitting in prime view of a huge fireplace. Though the audience is yet to arrive, the stage is set. Victor’s is ready for its first guests, with a stunning restaurant complete with curtains of purple wisteria flowers that cascade from ceiling to floor. The centrepiece, however, is the large bar at the heart of the restaurant, where we meet Roberto, our Victor’s barman for the afternoon.

It’s a struggle to pick just one from the menu of 15 signature cocktails, including the the sweet and fruity ‘Butterflies’, the fiery-flavoured ‘Beasts’, and the ‘Flowers’, offering sharer size for those of us partial to Spoons’ pitcher-style portions.

First in the line up of three cocktails (oops) is ‘James and the Giant Peach’, a sweet vodka-based drink that decorates your upper lip with a moustache of egg white foam and leaves behind fruity flavours of pear and peach. ‘Neat Chic Petite’ is up next, putting a twist on a classic G&T with rich spicy undertones of ginger and agave — an ideal refresher for an intensely hot, treat-yourself kind of day.

To conclude our cocktail round is ‘Kiss and Candy’, a suitably elaborate finale comprising a base of vodka, vanilla and lychee, served alongside a shot of prosecco crowned with candyfloss. This deconstructed style of cocktail, I am told, is a recurrent feature of some of the Victors’ signatures.

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This means that a cocktail at Victors doesn’t just guarantee you an extra ten likes on your Instagram post, but also offers up a sweetness to alcohol ratio that suits your taste. If you’re daring enough to go off-menu, the bartenders are just as happy to synthesise an original cocktail to suit your specific craving.

Victors will be open from breakfast until after dark — at 10.30pm when dinner is over, the restaurant is transformed into a nightlife venue, featuring live jazz and DJ sets to keep the party going way beyond the dessert course.

With a tantalising menu of Modern American sharer platters by day, and a unique bar experience by night, Victors’ debut on the Oxford dining and nightlife scene promises to make a stir — or should I say, shake?