Definitely worth a try - this place could rival the best gastro pubs in Oxford
So, husband and I were there this week.
When we walked in, you are immediately reassured - the place is nicely decked out. it has a calm, restrained grown-up feel about it. Think Scandinavian simplicity with a smattering of English quirk.
The staff were all charming and helpful: we wanted a different table than the one they had chosen and set for us, and there was no whisper of annoyance to moving us over across the pub.
Now while the place looks good, the old school chairs and benches were not very cosy - after an hour, I really just wanted to stand. My first suggestion to the manager is to get those replaced. The benches as well are narrow and without backs. So it isn't really conducive to a long leisurely evening.
We were there for dinner, and when we had ordered our starters, it would have been fab had they brought over some nice bread, olives or something to nibble. His welsh rarebit was ok, though i thought the worcestershire was a bit heavy-handed. My sauteed and dressed purple sprouting with poached egg however was almost perfect - but a sprinkle of sea salt brought it to its intended heights. Call me a carb fanatic, but a crust of bread here would have been perfect to mop up the lovely vinaigrette.
For mains, I ordered the special of braised shin of Beef with caramelised onions, carrots and mash. Now this was well executed, balanced and rich - worth the £12.50 price tag but it would have been even better to have something to cut its irony richness. The background notes of cardamon gave it an additional depth. The man had Korean barbeque lamb, cooked pink. It also was served with mash, sauteed kale, all of which had the hint of Aniseed. So yumyumyum.
This was all washed down with a nice bottle of Veilles Vignes Baron de Baussac. Its cherry character stood up well to such intense and meaty mains.
The upshot is that it is definitely worth a try. Good wine list, good cooking skills, nice warm menu and unpretentious and friendly staff.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
December 21, 2012
Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful review!
Report response as inappropriate
I believe you've pegged our decor. "Scandinavian simplicity with a spattering of English quirk"?! Spot on! I hope you don't mind if I use that myself, credit to our reviewer of course.
Also, glad to hear you enjoyed your meal. Your attention to detail only makes the compliment of your suggestion to try stand out even more.
As for the chairs and benches, while these do come with a few problems of their own, we feel they more than make up for it with the familiarity they offer our restaurant-goers. Whether they are reminded of Sunday school, by the hymnal pockets on the backs of their chairs, or forced into the coziness that comes with sharing a bench with the other members of their party, the majority of our clientele are inclined to agree. That said, we appreciate the opinion that they may be a bit restrictive for the longer stay and will take your feedback into consideration. In the meantime, we have a selection of padded chairs that we can offer for your next visit. Don't hesitate to ask!
Best regards and many thanks,
The Oxford Blue
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.