With a mere hour to spare on the parking ticket and it being dangerously close to lunchtime, we found ourselves escaping the drizzle into the pastel pink Kings Arms Oxford on Holywell Street. It wasn’t a total risk, having visited before, but was a bit of a spur of the moment decision.
Upon entering we were greeted by a friendly member of the team who thoughtfully directed us to an empty but cosy dining room. With two kids in tow, we always find it a relief when there’s somewhere to sit away from all those lovely quiet adult tables. Unfortunately on this occasion the heater was up to ‘hotter than the sun’ levels so we decided to brave (read as disturb) the main bar area.
Claiming to be the oldest pub in Oxford the ‘KA’ dates back to 1607, serving up traditional British pub food, usually with a good selection of pies and puds – they always seem to have a tempting crumble on the menu. The menu offers small plates priced from £4.75 including ‘posh fish finger sandwiches’, cheesy chilli with garlic bread and homemade soup of the day. Mains include traditional fare of sandwiches, baked potatoes, gammon steak with egg and chips, fish and chips, or an impressive looking burger in what looked like, from one table away, a proper brioche bun.
In quite a rush, we opted for a small plate of chilli and garlic bread for the boys to share (£4.95), baked potato with chilli and cheese for hubby (£5.25) and gammon and eggs (£9.25) for me, though swapping the chips for sweet potato fries.
The setting itself feels very Oxonian, with lots of rustic wooden tables, antique books and pictures aplenty, plus deep blue walls. Staff are warm and accommodating and it’s actually a really nice place to just chill out, just far enough away from the main streets of the city centre.
When the food arrived it looked pretty appealing, the sweet potato fries looking particular impressive. The boys’ chilli was smokey and rich, with good crumbly cheese, the gammon nicely fried and eggs the right amount of runny. The jacket potato was a bit of a let down, with drier chilli according to the other half. The sweet potato fries though – well, they were delicious.
In a rush to get back to the car before an extortionate Oxford parking fee (£100 the last time I got stung!), we couldn’t hang around long, but the time spent was pleasant and the food a worthy investment.