With the accommodation of Ox Pasture Hall meeting the high standards we had hoped for during our lovely weekend away, it was down to the food to either add or detract from our experience. Being invited to enjoy afternoon tea, dinner, and finally breakfast meant that we would be able to get an accurate idea as to whether the food served at Ox Pasture Hall is consistently good.
In light of the sheer volume of food eaten over the course of 24 hours, I am breaking from my usual style in order to rate dishes out of 10 (afternoon tea and breakfast as separate entities will receive a score out of ten, with evening dishes scored individually).
We ate all of our meals in the lovely location of the courtyard restaurant, which offered peaceful views and a relaxed atmosphere.
Our introduction to the world of food at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel came in the form of afternoon tea, and a fine introduction it proved to be!
For me, a good afternoon tea needs to be light, offer a good range of sandwiches and cakes and, of course, boast an excellent scone (with sublime jam and cream)! Ox Pasture Hall delivered on the light front without any shadow of a doubt, by offering nice airy sandwiches that were not too filling, and cakes that did not leave us feeling like we were sinking to the bottom of the sea!
The scones were not as light, but I haven’t eaten a better scone in a long time. In my view, the scone on offer here put the famed Bettys Fat Rascal to shame, and I don’t say that lightly! With some gorgeous cream and jam spread on top, the scones truly were a highlight and were just big enough for us to feel like we had just enjoyed something truly decadent without being full for our evening meal.
The sandwich fillings were nice and inoffensive for fussy eaters with the beef, egg mayo, and cucumber sandwiches all delivering on taste without any single flavour being too dominant. The white bread had had the crusts cut off, adding a demure touch to proceedings.
While the scone was surely the triumph of the afternoon tea, the cakes ran it a close second. The range of cakes was impressive, with more delicate tart-style cakes mixed in with formidable chocolate beasts that were rich and indulgent but not too obscene!
A particular shout-out must go to the main chocolate cake, which was truly divine!
If I were to be fussy, afternoon tea has “tea” in the title and we were not given the ‘loose leaf’ tea experience that some may desire but, to be honest, for the cost involved and taking into account the quality of the food on offer, we didn’t feel that this was detrimental to the overall experience.
Dinner before breakfast may seem out of order, but I feel it’s worth going through meals in the order in which we ate!
As we had six different dishes, I will attempt to give a rundown of each one. I won’t critique the vegetable soup amuse bouche, but it was a lovely burst of flavour and was served with some absolutely delightful homemade bread that we asked for (and were given) extra of since it was so yummy.
The soup was a really nice start to our evening and a high level was set for the rest of the food! For the duration of dinner, the service was fantastic and this really added to our experience.
Confit Duck Salad
For me, the confit duck salad was a really nice dish. Full of flavour and with a nice range of textures, it was an enjoyable if slightly unspectacular dish.
I would say that that the cherry sorbet is an interesting idea and it did work well with the duck, helping to cleanse the palate as well before the main arrived. Score: 7/10
The chicken in the roulade was really well cooked and the dish nice and light as a starter, but it could have done with more of a punch of flavour from somewhere, even a little more seasoning.
In retrospect, the vegetable soup would probably have been a better option than the roulade as that was full of flavour and had a nice texture to it. Score: 6/10
This dish is one of the more expensive dishes on the menu and therefore I felt that it needed to perform well to live up to its cost. I was not let down at all. The beef brisket was tender and well seasoned, and combined with the mashed potato and gravy represented a stunning and hearty meal. The additional beef pudding was a lovely element that was well cooked and offered a fantastic contrast to the texture of the brisket.
With the gravy, mash and vegetables all being cooked well, this was an excellent if slightly heavy dish that I would certainly go back for again if given the choice. I will admit that as good as this dish was, I feel that it didn’t quite offer the value of the steak pie dish that Charlotte enjoyed (I was left with severe food envy!), so it loses a point here! Score: 8/10
The steak pie, chips, peas, and gravy was a risky choice; a pub classic or home cooked favourite, there were other, more gourmet options on the menu that stood out. Would the pie prove to be a waste of a choice at a nice restaurant? Well, quite frankly, no, not at all!
The pie was stunning; packed with meaty chunks and a truly delicious gravy, and all encased in a crispy, crumbly, golden casing, this was not your average pie. Cutting into the pie was a treat in itself as the filling oozed out and every mouthful was divine.
The chips, so often done so badly, even at nice restaurants, were deliciously salty, piping hot, fluffy on the inside, and crisp on the outside. Dipping them in a bowl of ketchup was a simple pleasure that’s hard to beat!
There’s not much to say about the peas, but the small jug of gravy was rich, moreish, and tasted very naughty! It should also be noted that this dish was one of the lowest costing dishes on the menu and offered stunning value for what it delivered. Score: 10/10
A dish described as being just ‘chocolate’ conjures up fantastic images and does somewhat leave the customer open to disappointment. For me, this dish not only lived up to my hopes but also was so good that despite being ridiculously full I was able to finish it! A lovely white chocolate parfait that wasn’t too rich or sweet, it went very well with the hot chocolate fondant. The fondant was a melt in the middle treat and I loved how it was served in a hot chocolate mug!
I only have one small gripe which was the smear of chocolate on the plate. I am not against smears as such but this just didn’t add anything to the dish and actually wasn’t able to be eaten as it stuck to the plate!
This was a lovely dessert that showed chocolate in two of its best forms. Score: 8/10
Sticky Toffee Pudding:
The sticky toffee pudding was on another level entirely! None of your light, spongey pudding here; this was a sticky toffee pudding that truly meant business.
The slice of pudding was dense, dark, and almost bitter in taste (in a good way), the milk ice cream was a perfect addition to the sticky naughtiness of the pudding, and the toffee sauce was sweet and satisfying without being sickly.
This dessert resulted in a food coma of epic proportions but it was worth every single second. Score: 9/10
Breakfast is Charlotte’s favourite meal of the day. In this respect, Ox Pasture Hall had to deliver in order for her to feel it had met her foodie needs!
Having sat down at around 8.30am, we found the service yet again to be fantastic in the gorgeous courtyard restaurant. With a range of cold food available at the buffet as well as toast, we could help ourselves before moving on to the hot options!
Charlotte and I both went for the Full English and were not disappointed. The eggs (scrambled) were creamy and delicious, the bacon was cooked beautifully, and the good-quality sausages were succulent.
Overall, breakfast was a really nice experience, especially given the lovely views from the restaurant. We were left full for the rest of the day and felt like the food was of a very high quality on the whole.
I would say that if I wanted to be picky the jams could have been of a slightly higher quality, perhaps served in little jars rather than plastic sachets, but this is a minor quibble given the otherwise high quality food on offer.
We were both thoroughly impressed by the food on offer at Ox Pasture Hall, especially the quality of the produce and the range of options on offer during the evening meal. The restaurant’s prices represent good value and we felt that the staff treated us very well.
Given the new loyalty card on offer, if we lived a little closer we would be heading back time and time again!
Categories: Restaurant reviews