Quod Oxford – Jacqui – Jan 2014
I hate to admit it, but sometimes MrF is right. Not all the time, but sometimes. And on an even rarer occasion, he nails it right on the head.
When Quod Oxford was booked for a New Year’s Day meal with my sister and her family, MrF complained, calling it ‘vanilla’. “No” I said, “it’ll be fine” I said.
Damn him, he was bang on.
With a very limited choice of restaurants open on New Year’s day (everyone else sleeping off lock-in hangovers), we were pretty much left with hotels to choose from, so Quod it was. Big Sis wasn’t quite ready to reign in the festive eating, wanting something nice, expensive and somewhere she could be delivered straight to the door. Tick, tick, and tick.
Previously an old bank and part of the Mogford Group (along with Gee’s and The Old Parsonage), Quod Oxford is an impressive looking place, with high ceilings, neatly uniformed waiters, artwork on the walls and a modern, upmarket vibe. The car park to the rear is available to both hotel and restaurant guests, with a couple of hours complimentary parking for diners.
Overall our meal was very pleasant – endive salad with poached egg, pancetta and croutons (£7) for me, followed by slow braised beef in red wine, with button onions, lardons & mushrooms (£15.50). There was an onglet steak available but, having little faith it could match the glory of Port Mahon’s steak platter, I decided to pass. MrF had a crab risotto to start (I can’t recall the price), which was particularly tasty, then joined me in the braised beef.
The flavours, presentation and preparation of the endive salad were all perfectly fine. The beef was nice, though felt lacking in tlc during the cooking process, missing a tenderness expected from a slow braise. This, combined with a shortage of meat and lack of impact from the sauce, meant that ‘nice’ and ‘fine’ were the most excitable descriptions I could stretch to.
A decent meal, just not one that inspired a passionate review or a revisit any time soon. We didn’t stay for coffees or desserts, just as well seeing as the bill already reached £170, including that ‘oh so controversial’ 12.5% service charge. The total bill may not have been excessive for four starters, five mains, two kids’ meals, plus drinks – but with tastier food available cheaper elsewhere in Oxford, I know where I’d rather be.
Elegant venue and setting, but the food didn’t leave me wanting more. Vanilla indeed (just don’t tell MrF he was right).
Becca – Feb 2011
My first visit to Quod Oxford, despite working less than five minutes away and I was disappointed. I visited on a Tuesday lunchtime which was fairly busy but we were seated straight away. We requested a jug of water whilst we perused the menu but this got awfully complicated as we tried to explain that actually, we didn’t want bottled still or sparkling water – just tap. When will restaurants learn to offer this as standard?! Anyway, we ordered, a tray of very good, warm crusty bread was brought to our table with a small pot of olive oil. Personally, I prefer a really good butter but it seems that butter is out of fashion at the moment…
The food took about twenty minutes to arrive which was okay. I ordered the glazed pork ribs with sauté potatoes and winter coleslaw. Ribs were meaty and tender and plenty of them although I found the glaze a little heavy on the grain mustard. There were only 7 chunks of sauté potato, I’d have liked more! The winter coleslaw was fine.
My colleagues ordered spaghettini carbonara which was fine, the duck confit with mash and wilted greens which was good and the half metre of pizza bianca with artichoke, rocket and prosciutto (I got to take some home as the portion was huge even for two sharing!) Pizza base was fantastic and good prosciutto but I still haven’t developed a taste for artichokes!
We still had room for dessert so chose profiteroles – three huge ones with chocolate sauce drizzled on. I went for the special of chocolate tart with clotted cream. Even though I’m a huge chocoholic, this was too much for me. A slab of heavy, rich, chocolate mousse, more like a ganache seen on the top of sachertorte with a slightly powdery, gritty texture and a sticky, glutinous top similar to the skin you find on a rice pudding. A generous quenelle of clotted cream accompanied. Perhaps a raspberry couli would have broken down the cloying sensation, it would be predictable but it works.
Coffee was very good. Bill came to just under £100 for the five of us, we were good and didn’t drink, which was okay but I left feeling disappointed. I certainly won’t be rushing to return to Quod Oxford.