We used to live in Thirsk and have been to Oswalds on previous ocassions, the last time being around 7 years ago, I think. We were always impressed with the food there. We decided to try it again last weekend for my wife's birthday.
The place still has a nice ambience and obviously attracts the affluent set of North Yorkshire, judging by the selection of Range Rovers and Mercs in the car park. The stone floors and solid wooden furniture speak of a desire to be seen as classy. The bar area has studded leather sofas and a specials menu written neatly on a large blackboard. The staff were friendly and helfpul.
Then it came to the food itself, which is why we went after all. There was no suckling pig this time...a dish that blew me away on my last visit. Hey ho, menus change, I guess. My starter was good - scallops in a creamy leek and bacon sauce with a herby crust. My main course was a bit of a letdown, I'm afraid. The rib-eye steak, whilst cooked reasonably well, was stringy and at times chewy. Three others in our party had the steak and remarked on this. My roasted vegetables were soggy and bland.
Then it was time for desserts. I skipped, but my wife and mother both ordered things and neither were very impressed with the offerings. My mother's brownie and marshmallow sundae was underwhelming and very basic, whilst my wife's panna cotta was overpowered by very sour raspberries.
To top it all off, our bill came with several drinks that we hadn't even had. They corrected it without fuss, but I'm glad we took the trouble to check.
So we left feeling a little deflated. It hadn't met the standards we had expected from previous visits. Cosmetically speaking, the restaurant is still pleasant, with nice decor, staff and well-presented dishes. I just feel there has been a little loss of focus on food quality.
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