When we recently announced Pint Shop were launching a brunch menu, we were hopeful that it would live up to expectation. And praise be to the brunch gods (pretty sure they exist), it didn’t disappoint.
While the menu is concise, it includes some appealing options – Full meat or veggie breakfast, avocado toast or bacon sandwich, along with the more unusual additions of a buttermilk fried chicken bun and a grilled cheese sandwich. I always use Full English or Full Veggie as my ‘acid test’ so ordered the meat version (for £10, veggie £9) without blinking, while Becca veered towards the buttermilk chicken bun (£6) with a side of potato gratin with burnt leek, thyme and Ogleshield (£4).
Consisting of two rashers of thick smoked bacon, one sausage, one egg, one flat mushroom, beans, black pudding, tomato and a slice of thick-cut toasted sourdough, the English Breakfast, at £10, is the top end of what you’d expect to pay in Oxford, but the flavours and quality made it acceptable. While the sausage could have done with some more colour on the outside, it had a good savoury tang and meaty texture within. The black pudding was excellent, nicely flavoured and crumbly, it was a good addition to the dish and one I’m always pleased to see included.
We were happy, too, to see the beans in a separate pot – for those who don’t like bean juice all over everything – and that they weren’t homemade attempts. Baked beans are the only exception to the rule of wanting homemade and homecooked restaurant food, you just can’t beat tinned on this front.
On the other side of the table, Becca’s chicken was thigh, which kept it moist and the batter was well seasoned. It arrived in an enriched bun – not full brioche, which was good, and the pickles added a good crunch. The leek gratin was lovely! Burnt crispy leeks giving a smoky flavour to compliment creamy potato slices and oozy cheese.
Oxford has a competitive brunch market, and Pint Shop is definitely adding itself to the ring. The briefness of the menu may put some people off. Expansion of the egg offering to include their own take on Benedict/Royal/Florentine, and possibly a sweet option or two, would be an interesting thing to see in time and could widen the scope with limited pressure on the kitchen.
For now, though, it’s well worth a visit. With brunch in the morning and gin in the afternoon, you might see me there quite a bit!
We dined as guests of Pint Shop, all views remain entirely our own.