I’d been told I’d walk through twinkly fairy light lit trees leading up to The Mole Inn, which I certainly did. Situated just outside of Oxford in Toot Baldon, this welcoming country pub holds that real cosy feel, with low ceilings and old stone interiors.
However, let’s get to the good stuff first – the food!
The À la Carte menu consists of stomach-warming and decadent British foods – game sourced from local Oxfordshire estates, fish arriving daily, and purely British cheeses (not to mention local gins, ah-mazing).
I started with a special from the board – moules marinière with cream, bacon and a reduced-cider twist instead of white wine. My dad opted for the shredded duck and pork belly with chilli, bean sprouts, lime and a rocket salad. Both were amazing – generous portion sizes, packed full of flavour. Round one and we were off to a great start.
Not only am I immensely indecisive when it comes to choosing food, but I’m also that person who asks “what do you recommend?” to the waiter. Ross, who had just returned to Oxfordshire after heading back to his home in South Africa, was super helpful and accommodating. So, we each went for his two favourites.
My dad had the guinea fowl with rosemary and garlic dauphinoise, caramelised onion puree, wilted spinach and tarragon jus (£18.95). I had the roasted rump of lamb which came with lamb hash, cauliflower puree, carrots and a truffle jus (£22.50). Then, of course, we shared some parmesan truffle fries because, well, it would be rude not to when they’re on the menu.
The mains vary from £16-23 and other options were fish variations, such as pan-fried cod and grilled fillet of bream, as well as a few steak options (which are dry aged and hung for over 28 days, may I add).
Again, the meat was tender, the presentation was beautiful, and both dishes were immensely flavoursome. By this point, both of us were finding the place extremely difficult to fault. Instead, we were thinking about the next time we can visit for a Sunday roast (which they do offer, by the way). Want me to be real picky? More parmesan on the fries, please! Load her up.
Post-main and very full up, we couldn’t dare say no to a dessert. After all, it would only be right in order to deliver a complete review. We sampled a couple of their homemade ice-creams – raspberry ripple, chocolate and hazelnut, and shared the chocolate pave with hazelnut praline and blood orange sorbet. Ice-creams – nice. Pave – rich and dreamy. Also on offer was sticky toffee pudding, treacle tart, the fine cheeses aforementioned and more.
We told Ross to give compliments to Chef Daryl, recently promoted to head chef of the pub after 14 years as sous chef.
The Mole Inn also offers a lunch menu (including dishes like fish and chips, salads and burgers) as well as a children’s menu and as mentioned, a Sunday lunch for under £20 per head. As well as being cosy and intimate enough for two in the winter period with perhaps a partner (weird, as I went with my dad), I think this place works perfectly for a family lunch – although leaning toward the pricier side. The garden, I’m sure, is also great for the summer periods too. it’s just a slight shame about the location as unless you’re after a long country walk, somebody has to draw the short straw as designated driver.
The Mole Inn
Toot Baldon, Oxford OX44 9NG
01865 340 001
We dined as guests of The Mole