I’m no stranger to The Black Horse; since Raymond Blanc took it over in 2017 I’ve been a keen returner. So when Bitten was invited over to sample their new Summer menu, I jumped at the offer! It’s a tough life.
One of my favourite elements of The Black Horse is their use of space. You walk into a cosy, small, low-lit entry, filled with dark wood; turn to the left and follow that vibe into their snug, or to the right into the well stocked bar. But, keep going and you’ll arrive in a beautiful, light & bright dining area with lots of windows, and a real ‘summer is here’ feeling. Further still, and you reach more warm lighting, fun décor and a romantic air in the long dining area at the back of the restaurant – this is my fave!
We arrived just in time for happy hour and enjoyed a ‘lemon tease’ and a ‘brambleberry’. The lemon tease stole the show; bursting with citrus it was perfectly refreshing, I’d also suggest it as a good palate cleanser. Paired with big juicy olives we were off to a great start…
For starters we chose the baked Saint-Marcellin (£8.50), which promised creamy melted cheese with truffle and honey bread (is anyone else drooling rn?), and potted Cornish crab with avocado guacamole (£8.75).
Give me a whole basket of the truffled honey bread and send me on my way.
The baked Saint-Marcellin was the clear winner here; decadent, rich and delightfully moreish, it was everything you’d want from a pot of melted cheese! The crab was slightly disappointing. Whilst still delicious, potted crab graces many a gastro-pub menu and I’ve had it done better.
The avocado guacamole felt like filler and was sadly lacking in texture, whilst the whole dish was lacking in seasoning; I feel like some chilli or lemon would have lifted the whole thing!
Onto the mains!
We could have easily picked multiple mains, they all sounded so good, and with five out of sixteen being vegan/vegetarian friendly, I was really pleased with their inclusive spread. The jackfruit fritter with green papaya salad was especially tempting, but eventually we settled on the confit Barbary duck leg (£18.75) and steak frites (£19.95).
DIVINE. I don’t have enough good things to say about the duck in all honesty, it was faultless! The meat fell off the bone and the citrus sauce was a thing of beauty. Steak frites is something I love getting, especially when it’s done this well; gorgeous herby butter, perfectly cooked steak and some kind of magical flavouring on the chips. The mains absolutely sang!
I wasn’t going to attempt a pud after all that, but the waiter persuaded me – for which I’m grateful! We had the cherry amandine (£7.25) and the golden chocolate feuilletine (£7.95). The amandine was a perfect end to a brilliant meal; not too heavy or sweet, with bursts of loveliness from the cherries – I’m drooling again! The feuilletine was essentially like eating a cake made of Nutella – say no more – but it was just a little too heavy after everything else so we couldn’t enjoy it fully.
To sum up…
If you’re thinking of going to The Black Horse in Thame then I can highly recommend it!
The Black Horse
11 Cornmarket, Thame OX9 2BL