The very best of British food in Oxfordshire's latest award-winning gastropub
Where? The Lambert Arms, London Road, Aston Rowant, Oxon OX49 5SB (01844 351496, www.lambertarms.com)
Pub grub and bitter all round? Well, they do have some great beers for the boys, but you’re as likely to find ladies sipping prosecco (aka me) at the bar as locals supping pints, and the food’s so good the restaurant’s already been awarded its very own AA Rosette.
What’s getting the critics so excited? The staff here are fantastic – attentive and enthusiastic – and the décor is perfect – traditional but not fusty – however, it’s the food that really seals the deal. Traditional British dishes, with modern flourishes, feature the very best ingredients, and there’s a nice line of ‘Classic’ menu choices for those who want to keep it simple.
Top choices? Our starters of pan-seared scallops with celeriac puree, pancetta and trompette mushrooms, and grilled fillet of Cornish mackerel with crushed new potatoes, white crab meat and basil dressing were both so good we wished we’d ordered them as mains (plenty of the dishes come in both small or large portion sizes). That was, however, until we tucked into the actual main courses: Chalford Manor Hereford sirloin steak with hand cut chips, portabella mushrooms, roasted plum tomatoes and red wine jus, and crisp, pan-seared fillet of sea bream with saladaise potatoes, fricassee of wild mushrooms and pancetta. Absolutely, unequivocally delicious.
Room for pud? He didn’t, but I made up for that by ordering a ‘selection of Lambert Arms desserts for two to share’… and eating them all myself! (I did have fish for starters and main, after all.) Having tasted everything on the dessert menu, if you’re being good and just ordering one (although, why would you?), my favourites were the dark chocolate truffle with grand marnier anglaise and the, slightly lighter, cinnamon poached pear. Well worth the expanded waistline!