A family member of mine, who recently found themselves with a spare afternoon in the market town of Thame, complained that she couldn’t find a decent place to sit and have a coffee. ‘Thame is nothing but tea and coffee shops!’ my mother and I scoffed, as we sat sipping ours last Saturday morning in the light-filled conservatory of The Black Horse, Thame.
An exaggeration perhaps. But it is a town known for its market days, tea shops and pubs. And the latest incarnation of The Black Horse means it can now list itself as a cool brunch spot, coffee stop, cosy pub and fancy restaurant all in one.
I was there to try their new breakfast menu, served every Saturday 9-11.30am. We were seated in the newly decorated conservatory at the back of the pub. Filled with natural light, exposed brick walls of the 17th-century pub and decorated like a traditional brasserie (including real napkins to my mum’s delight!) with relaxed finishing touches; hanging wall plants and garden cushions – lots of cushions!
The best part about the renovation, carried out in 2017, is that the bar has been left as a traditional pub – bar stools, cosy chairs and more muted colours in the front room keep the pub’s traditional charm.
This is the first opening in Oxfordshire and sixteenth pub by The White Brasserie Company, sister company to the more famous Brasserie Blanc, by Raymond Blanc.
Service was friendly and efficient. I chose the cinnamon French toast with mixed berry compote and natural yoghurt at £8.25, and my mum, the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, £6.95. Our food arrived quickly and both dishes were simple, classic and tasty. I was particularly impressed at the portion size and price of salmon with scrambled eggs. The rest of the menu looked equally good – all classics; full English, eggs Benedict and homemade granola.
We easily whiled away our morning chatting with our coffees and enjoying the beautiful setting.
The Black Horse is a great addition to Thame’s brunch scene (it has great company in What’s Cooking? and The Woodwork’s Trading, both cool and beautiful breakfast/coffee spots).
On my way out, I was surprised to discover the restaurant continued at the back of the pub – a large, long room with exposed original beams and lots of diners, ‘perfect space for a wedding’ my mother hinted. But returning to sample their set lunch menu will do me for now.
Breakfast is served Saturdays 9am-11.30am
We dined as guests of The Black Horse