Owner Kent in Wilding

“It’s been hard. We just haven’t been getting the numbers through the door,” Wilding owner Kent Barker tells me.

Having relaunched Wilding in 2023 READ ABOUT IT HERE, the rave reviews and crowds came bounding in READ OUR REVIEW HERE, but more recently numbers have dwindled so Kent has had to make the difficult decision to close the Little Clarendon Street restaurant at the end of this month, devastating its legions of fans.


“It’s not that we weren’t busy. The weekends are always full and they still loved it here, but lunchtimes never really worked for us and weekdays were quiet, which just doesn’t add up to enough footfall. We basically can’t survive on our Friday and Saturday nights,” he said sadly.

‘we are looking hard for another space and you will see Ben Wood cooking again In Oxford’

“We thought that would improve over the summer, but it hasn’t and we can’t see it picking up, so it’s deeply sad but we are closing at the end of the month.

It was a really tough decision to make, but when you are losing money you have to make some difficult decisions. But yes, it’s been very stressful, because we implemented everything we could to make it work and invested heavily in the re-opening,” he says.

Ben Wood in the open kitchen at Wilding

“But there is light at the end of the tunnel because we are looking for a smaller premises in Oxford where we can install our head chef, around 40 covers, two chefs, and keep doing what we are doing but on a smaller scale. Because Ben wood is such an amazing chef. He’s a breath of fresh air.

“So we are looking hard for another space and you will see Ben Wood cooking again In Oxford. It’s very important that we make that happen because we still have great faith in the Oxford food scene and it’s catchment.”