Easter Sunday morning found the Bitten team partaking of something a little different from the usual chocolate consumption. Having met the owner of Cotswold Distillery at a launch event last year we’d finally managed to coordinate diaries enough to join one of the distillery tours. Review to come.
We’d even planned ahead enough to have lunch out but sadly the venue we were visiting had a lack of communication with their PR company and decided they couldn’t honour our reservation what with it being Easter Sunday.
Jacqui was proper hangry, I was slowly marinating in gin and we were both looking forward to a proper Sunday lunch that we didn’t have to cook or clean up after.
After some contemplation, a quick phone call to The White Hart in Wytham secured us a table with the warning that we were starving! On arriving we were quickly seated in one of the rooms off the bar menu and presented with their Easter Sunday menu. Normally on a Sunday, they offer roasts, which are amazing but Easter befits something even more special.
Jacqui selected the charcuterie board for her starter and I went for the salmon. My salmon was fresh, bright, firm and beautifully presented with dinky little quail’s eggs and a mustard creme which cut through the slight oiliness of the fish. A gorgeous dish to look at and it tasted as good as it looked. A special shout-out to the accompanying soda bread which was flipping awesome and I could have happily eaten many, many more slices!
Jacqui’s charcuterie board came with Parma ham, salami Milano, mortadella as well as a celeriac remoulade, cornichons and more bread. She was quiet which is unusual and means she was busy eating.
Our hunger pangs sated, we sat back but within minutes our mains arrived. Jacqui had gone traditional and ordered the roast loin of pork with the trimmings whereas I was even more traditional and had lamb – it was Easter after all! Not just any lamb though, this was a rump of spring lamb with Jersey Royals, peperonata and salsa verde.
My toes curled with happiness.
The lamb was cooked perfectly, pink but with a caramelised crust. Nestled atop a pile of red peppers and onion, stewed and glistening in olive oil, the sweetness of the pepper complemented the sweetness of the lamb. No overcooked spuds here either, the Jersey Royals had been lightly smushed into a disc before being fried off. The jus on the plate – I can’t call this just gravy was rich and punchy and laden with flavour than the salsa verde on the side just brought it all together and woke your taste buds up with a resounding zing. Seriously, this was one of the best plates of food I’ve had in a long time. And the absolute best bit?
Less than thirty quid for three courses. Unbelievable!
I also stole some of Jacqui’s carrots and parsnips. It seems kind of silly to get rhapsodic over root veg, but these were next level.
Having had two sublime courses, there was no way I wasn’t going for a hat-trick. The options for dessert included rhubarb Eton Mess, carrot cake, ice-cream or dark chocolate roulade with spiced berries and raspberry sorbet. Except being me, I wanted to try the maple syrup ice-cream that came with the carrot cake! After smiling sweetly at our waiter, he promised to ask the kitchen if I could go off menu and they were happy to do so. Jacqui had decided against a dessert as she was full already (lightweight!) but requested a mint tea.
That ice-cream was perfect. The chocolate roulade though wasn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong, it was still very good but compared to my earlier dishes it was just slightly lacking. The chocolate mousse was dark and rich, wrapped around what resembled a summer pudding. The berries were nice, the crumble and the almonds were good but the roulade just didn’t quite float my boat. Plus, the mint tea didn’t arrive…
So, two outstanding courses, one good course and a missed drink all at exceptional value in a gorgeous country pub. Had the dessert been just a smidge better, we could be awarding our very first 10. As it is, we’re pretty delighted to award our very first 9/10.
Jacqui says: Finding somewhere that serves up a plate of food where every single component of the dish blows you away is a blissful thing. I’ve never ooh’d and ahh’d over side vegetables so much. Probably the best place for food in Oxford right now, certainly for roast dinners, and great for lots of different occasions. The White Hart in Wytham is also run by people who give a shit. They do an Argentinian steak and wine night on Thursdays on their Asado bbq grill outside – definitely going back to try that!