Listed in Restaurants and Cafés
Incorporating the former Mongolian Wok Bar
Opening hours: Open 12 - 12, every day.
6 - 9 Hythe Bridge Street
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Latest venue reviews
I grew up in Northern California where great Chinese food is in abundance and thus far I have not tasted the like in the UK. Until I visited this place. It is the very best I've had so far in Oxford. I found the food to be tasty and - in my opinion - even more traditional than what I'm used to. The staff were friendly and accommodating, and the decor was great. I left very full and satisfied!
Em (Unverified), 01/04/13
More splendid food cooked and served by people who understand it. This is, and remains, the best Chinese food I've eaten outside of Hong Kong
SMB (DI Reviewer), 18/09/11
Love Love Love Love Love this place. Service is amazing, food is absolutely divine. The best thing to do is let your waiter just bring you whatever they recommend. I've ever been disappointed.
HulaLilly (Unverified), 01/09/11
I love this place. Best Chinese I've ever had by a mile. The waiters are brilliant, really knowledgeable and helpful, and obviously passionate about their food. I think they have all the usual westernized Chinese choices (black bean and Kung Po etc), although I would definitely go for something from the massive selection of authentic dishes. I usually choose a few favorites and let the waiters pick out the rest for me (if you tell them what you've already decided on and what kind of things you like they're brilliant at advising on what you'll probably like - they've never got it wrong).
The food is served Chinese style, so everything is brought out fresh as soon as it is ready (rather than all the main dishes in one go after waiting under a heat lamp for 10 minutes) under the assumption that everyone is sharing.
The food is absolutely amazing! So aromatic, and an absolutely perfect blend of spices and flavors. I love the Szechuan dishes, and the slowly cooked meats -the most tender pork I've ever eaten. Very reasonably priced too. When four of us go, we usually order starters, main courses, side dishes, rice and each drink at least a couple of beers and it usually comes in at £20-25 pp including service, we eat A LOT and usually still have to take some away with us. I can't recommend this place highly enough!
HungryHenry (Unverified), 29/08/11
Ate here again on Saturday 2nd July. Waiter's choice = the best way to go. We had wonderful salt and pepper squid, prawn har gow (dumplings) and tiny spring rolls followed by tofu and vegetables, beef and aubergine, tilapia in a szechuan pepper broth and the most amazing whole braised pork knuckle with vegetables and rice. All beautifully cooked and delicious. Best Chinese food in Oxford by a long way
SMB (DI Reviewer), 03/07/11
The best Chinese food in Oxford! We came and asked the waiter to just bring out what the chef recommened, to give us a varied taste of things on the menu. Since it was our first time there with a group we were ready to share dishes and give them feedback if needed. My group was made up of foodies who know their food well - so, being in Oxford, we actually did not expect much. But we were mistaken! It was FANTASTIC! We had a sweet duck dish, a spicy chicken, garlic spiced greens, an eggplant side, jasmine rice and a beef dish. It was all really amazing. Each dish was uniquely different and it was really hard to pick a favorite. I will return, many times!
zoineos (DI User), 17/05/11
Went last night, asked the waiter to decide and then sat back and loved everything he brought to the table - absolutely amazing salt and pepper squid; fantastic slow cooked pork belly; deeply aromatic beef and aubergine; crisp and tasty green beans with chilli and garlic. Numnumnum.
SMB (DI Reviewer), 17/11/10
Mr Plateman, the SoJo Szechuan Noodles Soup as I recalled is actually Szechuan Fish/Beef/whatever in red peppercorn broth with glass noodles. This is not to be consumed like a bowl a Noodle Soup (eg Wonton Noodle Soup or Curry Laksa Noodle).
This is actually a popular Szechuan "Zui Zhu" dish where meat or tofu is cooked in hot oil broth and to be consumed with rice as a main course, never mind the noodles, normally glass noodles which come as standard as part and parcel of the dish. I salivate thinking of this dish!
Singapore Noodles a great and popular noodle dish served in Chinese establishments incidentally is not authentic Chinese.It's a recipe created by the Straits Chinese in Malaya which formerly incorporated Singapore island (now Malaysia & Singapore respectively). Singapore Noodles has malay influences.I am not so sure SoJo serves it as I remembered they told it was not available some time ago.
My dimsum experiences in SoJo have always been good.
Hail SoJo who dares to be authentically different and Hail Giles Coren who saw the difference.
Authentic Foodie (Unverified), 30/10/10
Soon after Giles Coren wrote his glowing article on SoJo we nipped in about 4pm one weekday for a trial. In the window were pictures of various dishes, of which I ordered a hot broth Szechuan noodle soup and my wife various dim sum. We were the only customers; service was slow but we were in no hurry and bought drinks to fill the gap. My hot soup was indeed hot - it contained fifteen whole red chilis and the fluid appear to be a scarlet oil. I decanted the chilis and made an attempt at the soup, but I considered that my digestion system was not going to welcome the oiliness, so I returned it, ordering something with which I was familiar - Singapore noodles - while the pleasant waiter explained the popularity of that soup and the genuine Szechuan recipe from which it derived. These Singapore noodles were very plain in comparison. My wife ate a small amount of her dim sum, which had been lukewarm, doughy and again, rather plain and then we left. We asked for a reduction on the bill but were charged for everything 'because we had ordered it'. I'm now less convinced by our hero Giles Coren's pronouncements on Asian food, with which we both consider ourselves reasonably familiar, having spent long periods in the far east!
Plateman (Unverified), 23/10/10
This place is simply a great place to eat. I organised a work gathering here on a Tuesday for 15 people. The guy who runs the place sorted all the dishes for me for a roughly set price. Food was great... kept coming! I've also been for a smaller meal with friends, and had an equally good time.
I feel bad for those who haven't enjoyed it - I'd heartily recommend it.
Tom (DI User), 06/05/10
We ate at Sojo on Saturday night and really enjoyed our meal. We asked the waitress to choose food for us and her choices were delicious - the best Chinese food I have eaten in the UK and not things I would have ordered if left to my own devices (tend to stick with what we know). Good value too at c. £40 for 2 generous courses (of several dishes), 2 beers and a fruit juice.
The service was also fantastic - we arrived just before 8 on a Saturday night, they were 95% full but the service was still very attentive, friendly and quick.
All in all a really good meal and we will be back.
OxJill (Unverified), 05/05/10
I sadly have judged this particular book by its cover, and walked past Sojo virtually every day for the past 5 years without ever going in.
The Coren review changed all that and, unlike some of your other reviewers, I was not disappointed.
Leaving the choice of menu to the chefs resulted in us not only enjoying a superb meal but also sampling 3 different styles of Chinese cooking at one sitting. It was superb!
I too have enjoyed many Chinese meals in cities throughout the world - Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, London and San Francisco to name a few, and Sojo stands comparison with the best that they had to offer.
I went early on a Thursday evening and the service was excellent. If you eat out anywhere in Oxford on a Saturday night, assuming you can find a table, the service is invariably slow.
Big Dave (DI User), 18/11/09
We went there for lunch yesterday. Excellent food, excellent choice, beautiful tastes and ever-so-helpful staff to help the first-time visitors. A more than ample lunch, including beers and service, came to £33. Can't be beaten - best (and most interesting) Chinese we've had for ages - and I've done Beijing and Hong Kong. We'll certainly make the (quite long) journey to visit again.
NickM (Unverified), 10/11/09
Brilliant! The best Chinese I've had in ages. Staff, food and service all excellent. Went on the glowing review in Sunday Times, and it was correct. Will try their authentic Chinese next time... can't wait!
DD (DI User), 21/09/09
Saw the rave review in The Times by Giles Coren, and thought I would give it a go. So I went along with my partner last Saturday.
I was rather disappointed, as it was just as bad as when I went to SoJo last year for a company dinner. We had to wait a long time for our starters; the waitress just kept on telling us it was coming. Same thing happened to our main course as well. When it did arrive, two of the three dishes were just warm. Could be that everybody saw the review in The Times and decided to go to SoJo, as they were unusually busy. This is definitely the last time I will eat here, as you don't get the service as described by Giles Coren.
Oxford Happy Eater (Unverified), 15/09/09
It's a shame to see only poor reviews of one of our regular favourite restaurants here. This restaurant perhaps has too much choice serving high quality Szechuan and Shanghai dishes, dim sum alongside the former Mongolian DIY Wok. We go almost once per week and generally just order Szechuan and Shanghai. The food is as good as any chinese food we have had in Soho, although not quite as good as the best of San Francisco. We go with just one hour to spare in order to see a film or show afterwards, and the service is so good we havent yet been late for a show or had to rush our food. There are not many restaurants in Oxford where you can do this. Since this is now based on approximately weekly visit over the last several months, I would suggest the service has improved from older reviews and is now consistently good.
LM (DI User), 11/02/08
I went here with a group of friends on a recommendation. Bad choice. The service was so bad, main courses were brought out before starters and some of the dishes and our rice were cold. When we brought this to the attention of the waitress she took it away and microwaved it. We sent it back, other dishes came with what was supposed to be chicken but was more gristle and looked under cooked. We sent those back. Some of our party did not even get any food as the waitress had not delivered the order to the kitchen. I asked for all the items we sent back to be deducted from the bill and was told that the reason we did not like the food was because we were not Chinese. We promptly left, did not pay for the food we sent back or service charge. We will not be returning.
Jules (Unverified), 13/10/07
We wanted to go to a Thai that we had recommended to us. Sadly they didn't have a table for 4 until 90 minutes later, so we moved onto Sojo. They had a table instantly, and rushed us to order, so we were pleased that we would be eating soon.
Then my main order arrived, and my friends, and my portion of rice. We assumed that his rice, and our companion's food were on the way. So we waited.
When we gestured to the many waitresses, they waved their fingers at us and said "Coming soon! Coming soon!".
Meanwhile, my food had started to congeal, and my friend's main (still without rice) was stone cold.
They brought out the oriental duck salad, which for £8 was a tiny portion of cold looking boiled duck, with two leaves of raw lettuce and a bit of onion on the side. Which made perfect sense that they had taken so long to bring it out, as it was clearly a difficult and time consuming dish to prepare, as it looked like it had been sitting on the side of a table for a day or two.
After we waited more, and we were still waiting on a main, and three portions of rice, we went to chat to a waitress. She rushed past us, and when we stopped them and asked to speak to a manager, they claimed there wasn't one there.
We got up to leave.
Surprisingly, all of a sudden we actually got some attention from the waiting staff.
We had a waitress screaming at us: "No leave! Not finished!". We told her we were leaving because the service was appalling, and we'd waited too long (close to 2 hours), our food had gone cold. We didn't even start on the quality of the duck salad.
She decided to change tack: "We cooked the food, you have to pay!". We pointed out that the food still hadn't all arrived, the food was untouched, and we were leaving. She demanded that as we had asked for the food, we'd have to pay. We stood firm and refused.
She said she was calling the police. We told her to call them. The police would have laughed in her face anyway. She went off to use the phone, thinking she was going to intimidate us.
She came back and said we had to pay. We said we'd been through that and we refused, and were happy to just wait for the police.
She said the manager was coming. We said we were pleased, and would love to talk to him.
She then demanded we at least pay for the soft drinks we'd ordered to go with the dinner, and been sipping at while waiting. At this point we realised she was really clutching at straws. We refused on principle, even though it would have only been a few pounds each.
She rounded off this excellent evening's entertainment by finally telling us to leave, and telling us that we were "crap customers". As we were leaving she screamed at us to "F--- Off!".
And not even any sign of our fourth and final main course!
AcidCat (Unverified), 11/02/07
Named after the owners' grandchildren So and Jo (their ridiculously cute photos appear at either end of the drinks menu), this new bar-eatery combines the chic with the comfortable and cool drinks with great food.
SoJo's is tucked neatly between The Bridge nightclub and the Backpackers Hostel on Hythe Bridge Street and definitely brings some much needed class to the area. You walk straight into the main bar area which is low lit and sultry in appearance, with a sexy modern bar and some sexy little cocktails to go with it.) Try the SoJo MoJo, it's a beautifully boozy number.) In addition to the anticipated heady mixes they offer a range of alcohol-free cocktails so the drivers amongst us aren't restricted to coke or o.j. - thank goodness.
The restaurant area is situated just behind the bar and although the drinks, service and atmosphere are all lovely, it's the food that has my friends and me going back on a weekly basis. Choose Dim Sum and you and your table can pick through a selection of yummies; our special recommendation is the pork buns. Choose 1 or 2 trips to the Mongolian Grill and you have a choice of chicken, pork, beef or squid main dish. Then add a selection of vegetables, your own special blend of sauces and watch a chef cook it in front of you. 1 trip to the buffet comes with rice and costs just £4.50!! 2 trips and you'll be asking for a takeaway box to put the leftovers in. This is a GREAT value meal option.
If you want to something a bit different, two or more of you could order a Hot Pot - you'll have to go and find out just how good this is - it's too much fun and too delicious to describe, but suits vegetarians as well as meat/fish eaters. And finally there is the main menu. Stuffed with soups, mains and specials, I haven't tried it all yet, but so far the only thing I've heard near a complaint was regarding the Sezchuan Chilli Chicken (and that was only because my daft friend ate some of the chillies - don't they know they are there to flavour the food, not to be wolfed down!). I've been there with both fussy eaters and bottomless pits and everyone so far has loved it - we especially enjoy the way that the staff are not in a hurry to get rid of you once you've eaten. I can whole-heartedly recommend SoJo's - get there and eat something, soon.
Jo Braithwaite (Unverified), 27/01/04
The Mongolian Wok Bar - How to describe this absolutely unique restaurant is an entertaining challenge. If you can imagine DIY stir-fry, you're close. If you can imagine a "Salad Bar" of pick-and-choose main course ingredients, you are closer. If you can imagine all-you-can-eat tasty spicy food tailored especially to your tastes, you're there.
The Mongolian Wok Bar is, without a doubt, my favourite eat-out in Oxford. The principle is based on a fixed price for the evening (not including drinks), a starter of Dim Sum, followed by a trip down to the Wok, a 2 meter-wide metal plate on which food is constantly being cooked by a team of chefs. Nearby a salad-bar filled with meats, fish, noodles, vegetables, spices and sauces awaits your selection. Then simply douse with a ladle of vegetable stock, hand to a chef, watch him cook it for a few minutes, then return to your table where a bowl of steaming rice will have magically appeared. Add the rice, grab a chopstick or two and tuck in!
The Mongolian Wok Bar starts at around £11.50 per person for the evening, but don't eat lunch that day and you'll be a happy camper. Highly recommended.
S.P. (Unverified), 03/11/98
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