I love Michelin star restaurants and fine dining as much as the next person, in fact it’s mostly my life – but there is just something about eating in a well decked out pub that is so infectious. The atmosphere is almost always lively and come the Summer if a beer garden is in sight, most pubs are fighting punters away trying to soak up some of that sun and that was exactly how it was going down at The Perch. People were quite literally being turned away at the strike of midday – most probably it had something to do with it being and Sunday and its famed roasts winning countless awards and mentions in local press. We just had to see what all the fuss was about ourselves.
The Perch is an award-winning pub, nestled away on the outskirts of Oxford centre, sitting on the skinny part of the River Thames. Blessed with a beautiful garden this isn’t your standard pub. From the moment you walk in the bar is full of home-made goodies, from sausage rolls to scotch eggs and a big focus on wine. Lots of quality tipples are available by the glass too – perfect for food pairing. We arrived an hour early and ordered a drink to the garden. A huge and beautiful site dotted with benches, an outdoor bar and even a private events space at the back looking out over the river and on to the back of this thatched 17th century building which was lovingly restored in 2015.
A sunny day it was, but rather chilly so we took our meal indoors, snapping up our table before the queue of hungry diners could pounce on it. There’s a good choice of food here, very British and very hearty. For our starters we chose the butchers board – a fantastic selection filled with smoked goose, home-corned beef, Kelmscott salami, country pork pate, home-made bread and pickles – what a way to show off Britain at its best. Even better still was the crispy fried Cornish seafood. Perfectly seasoned and perfectly crisp, but still all very juicy and well-cooked.
And then we got around to those famed Sunday roasts. They both arrived piping hot to the table, and the jus on them both were outstanding – rich, moorish and meaty. The favourite of our offering was the classic roast beef, accompanied by some glossy veg, cauliflower cheese and butter roasted potatoes, the latter of which could have been a little crisper. The slow roast shoulder of lamb option was also good but that beef was so well cooked it really stole the show and had us fighting over it with our cutlery.
Of all the things we ate here dessert was where we were a little let down. It wasn’t terrible – the concept of it was exactly what you’d hope for but the execution needed more attention. Queen of puddings is a traditional British dessert, consisting of a baked sponge mixture, spread with jam and topped with meringue. The jam was delicious, as was the sponge but the meringue a little eggy and not cooked all the way through. A mistake made all too often and very easy to do, so I probably caught them at the wrong time.
That being said, the rest of our Sunday meal was fabulous. From the drinks, the service, the venue – it’s the sort of place you could only wish was your local. With a garden to die for and a great British menu there’s more than one reason why you should visit The Perch and I can’t wait to pop back next time I’m in the area for one of those delicious beef roasts. They really are exceptional.
I was invited to review