Friday, 31 May 2013

Restaurant Review - The Oxford Blue, Oxford

Location: 32 Marston Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 1JU, UK
Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour

Having previously eaten at the Oxford Blue several times, I hadn't been for some time. Chatting to someone on Twitter about Food Hygiene Ratings, I'd been a bit put off to find out their most recent rating (September 2012) had been a shocking 0 out of 5 - urgent improvement necessary. At the time, the Oxford Blue was one of my local favourites, I'd enjoyed all of my previous visits; the staff had been warm and friendly; the food interesting, tasty and well cooked; the style cosy and inviting (think old English Gent meets salvage yard chic), so was pretty gob smacked by the rating.

Figuring things will have no doubt been resolved by now, and in need of a local pub lunch, we decided on a return visit. We had some visitors staying with us (N,L & their daughter E), so off we all went, fingers crossed all would be good.

Having called ahead to reserve seats and a high chair, it turned out there was really no need - we were the only diners in the whole restaurant. There were a couple of people in the small rear garden, but otherwise the place was empty.

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour

Settling into our seats, we ordered our drinks got the sprogs set up and began to peruse what is, to MrF and I, a fairly familiar menu. On previous visits we'd tried the Halloumi with Imam Bayaldi (stunning - grilled, salty halloumi served with a Turkish ratatouille-like aubergine dish), the Bannister Burger (very good), plus the Breaded Chicken Escalope (thoroughly enjoyable). This time, MrF opted for the Roast Pork and I, again, for the Breaded Chicken Escalope.

Upon arrival of the food, MrF was disappointed to see the Roast Pork was pork belly, not his preference for a roast dinner - although the dish did look appealing and he tucked in with gusto. I was also a little disappointed, as the Breaded Chicken Escalope had undergone some minor changes since our last visits - the chicken itself looked more deep fried and less pan fried than before, holding onto more oil; plus the once enjoyable red pepper sauce it was served with was no more - replaced by a simple side salad. I guess the salad was more summery, but unfortunately less enjoyable. The reformation of the chicken itself certainly didn't add a sense of summer, it actually felt somewhat 'down-market' compared to the previous version. This doesn't mean the food wasn't enjoyable, it was fine; but fine isn't a word anyone likes to hear. The unfortunate thing is that the food previously was great - a word I'd much rather hear.

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
Roast Pork

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
Breaded Chicken Escalope

The service was good, but again, not as good as last time. Yes, the waitress was nice, helpful, pleasant even; but she didn't inspire me to stay longer, or chat to her, plus we had to go and find her in order to pay the bill when we needed to leave. Mostly, I'm not looking for restaurant/bar staff who make me want to chat, but this was a 'USP' of the place when we'd visited before, the barmen/waiters were all the kind of guys we'd happily hang out with - they were friendly, a bit chirpy (without being annoying - I can be a grouch when faced with too much glee), and always attentive. When MrF ordered some drinks at the bar on this visit, the barman gave him the wrong order; when MrF pointed this out, he apologised but didn't offer to replace the drink - MrF had to make it clear this was required... just a bit odd.

I don't like writing negative reviews, especially for places I usually enjoy, but hiding my disappointment isn't really an option. I'd like to go back again, in case this was just an off day for them, but I would probably knock them down my list if it turns out this is the 'new' Oxford Blue.

Overall score: 7/10

The Oxford Blue
32 Marston St
Twitter: @TheOxfordBlue
Facebook: @OxfordBlue
Phone: 01865 460215

Oxford Blue on Urbanspoon

1 comment :

  1. Yes, that chicken escalope doesn't quite look gastropub standard!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...