Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Restaurant Review - Jacobs Inn

Location: 130 Godstow Road, Oxford OX2 8PG, UK
Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour

After my recent preview of Jacobs Inn and subsequent opening of the new Oxford pub, I waited a few days to before visiting for a full restaurant review. Judging by the phenomenal interest in the grand unveiling, I wanted to allow any initial stampede, and doubtless teething problems, to calm down.

Following a day of pre-baby decorating and de-cluttering at home, MrF and I were more than ready for a trip to the pub; and in MrF's case, several pints. Seizing the opportunity to mix review and relaxation, I threw the lot of us in the car and headed on over to Wolvercote to see if the hyped up watering hole could live up to expectations?

Restaurant Reviews Oxford - FoodieOnTour

Arriving for a 5pm reservation, we managed to park right in front of the pub, which was pleasantly surprising - I'd expected the car park to be rammed. Heading straight to the bar to confirm our booking and order some drinks, we were served by one of the brand new bar staff, who was clearly still finding their feet, along with the location of all the drinks; whilst a few of the faces you will see at Jacobs Inn may be familiar from their cafe, Jacobs & Field, there will of course be some newbies. Said newbies do seem pretty green right now, prone to a few minor mistakes, but given time they'll catch up just fine.

With the option of sitting in the dining room, bar or garden, we decided on the less formal bar are and were shown to a table in a smallish nook, off to the right of the bar. This was perfect for dining with children as we were away from the main bar enough not to disturb everyone, but close enough to not feel excluded. There was a lovely big fireplace there just waiting to be lit on cold winter days; but, as pointed out by General Manager Luke, it is awaiting some of the 'Jacobs & Field touch', so expect big dried hams, chorizos and bunting, etc. in due time.

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour

Settling in with drinks and menus in hand, MrF expressed his sheer delight at the American Pale Ale he was sampling; the ale in question was Shipyard, a 4.5% collaboration between Marston's and Shipyard Brewing, served on tap at Jacobs Inn. Big thumbs up from MrF so far. Moving onto the food, there isn't currently a children's menu, but they do welcome special requests to accommodate, so we ordered sausage, chips and veg for MiniF; for us, the Potted Pork to start (£6), then Sirloin for MrF (£17) and Ground Beef Burger plus Swiss Cheese for me (£14).

Arriving alongside MiniF's plate of goodies, came our wonderful Potted Pork starters; deliciously soft and succulent, the pork was an utter triumph. Served in the same was as potted shrimp, in a small ramekin dish bathed in seasoned and solidified butter, but with meltingly soft pulled pork as the main ingredient... Absolutely stunning accompanied by char-gilled sourdough bread and home made gribiche sauce (I must admit needing to Google this - here is a description on Wikipedia), which added a perfectly balanced sharpness to counteract the buttery sweetness. BLOODY MARVELLOUS.

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
Perfection is... Potted Pork

Keen to leave room for my main (and hopefully a pudding), I regretfully stepped away from the pork... Had I not been planning a three courser I would have happily wolfed down the whole thing - it would be perfect as a light meal or snack if you're popping in for a drink.

Moving on to the mains... MrF had chosen the Romesco sauce to accompany his Sirloin - a tomato and red pepper sauce with a little kick; he found this went well with the dish but wasn't totally sold. Being more of a peppercorn sauce man, I wasn't expecting much else. If it were me? I'd have gone for the Béarnaise sauce or Cafe de Paris Butter - perfect for a nice juicy steak. I had a small taste of the Romesco sauce myself, which I thought nice; however I would possibly prefer it with chicken, as a personal choice. Accompanying the steak were chips and grilled courgette; the chips, MrF thought, were a little undercooked, and the courgette tasty, but too much of a similar texture to the steak to be fully enjoyed as a pairing - although, when asked what he would propose instead, he had no answer. As far as the steak itself went, it was cooked rare, to MrF's request (tick) and of good quality (tick), but the dish as a whole didn't leave a lasting impression on him.

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
Sirloin Steak with Chips and Grilled Courgette

With Atomic holding the local crown for Burgers, could Jacobs compete? Their burger was so different that I genuinely don't think they would consider themselves competing. This burger was served within a char-grilled (they do like their char-grilling) ciabatta, with a tasty home made tomato relish, lettuce, tomato and onion, alongside skinny fries and glorious chunky pickles which took me back to Katz's diner in New York.

Still planning to save room for dessert, I stripped the top off the burger and got to work on the rest of it. Meaty, juicy and well-seasoned, the burger held its own against a backdrop of flavours from the cheese and relish; the ciabatta works well in a supporting actor role, maintaining its character while not impeaching too much on the main events. The fries were good, although cooked a tiny bit under for my preference, and seasoned with what may have been a little cayenne pepper. I LOVED having the big chunky pickles on the side - you can't see them well on the pic below but there were three or four nice big spears.

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
Ground Beef Burger with Swiss Cheese & Fries

I didn't manage to finish all the burger or fries, however I can imagine someone not embarking on three courses would find this a well sized but manageable main. Again, a good dish, but not one that left me wanting more, unlike that potted pork.... 

Ahhhh, the potted pork!

Anyway... At this point, MiniF was getting restless, having finished his meal and progressed to playing with it (read as throwing it), so we moved out to the garden to allow him freedom to run around... this is where MrF and I have to take it in turns to run after the little monkey - fun but incredibly knackering after a big meal!

I wasn't backing down though, I'd set my mind to a pudding and a pudding I would have. Damn pleased I was too when a divine slice of lemon tart arrived at our picnic bench, topped off with a little crème fraiche and three pert raspberries. As you can see, I couldn't even wait to take a picture before diving in. With a delectable taste of lemon curd, smooth and sumptuous, the tart was beeee-utiful! Just the right level of sweetness, just enough crust, just enough crème fraiche and just set enough - it would probably have wobbled a bit if I'd have thought to shake it.

Oxford Restaurant Reviews FoodieOnTour
Heavenly little Lemon Tart

Stick a fork in me, I was done. MrF was ready for a post DIY and drinking nap and MiniF was almost ready for bedtime - perfect time to say adieu.

Overall, a very good pub meal; the starter and dessert were the highlights (along with the pale ale for MrF) - real stand out performances by both; I would quite happily tuck into both those dishes on a regular basis! The mains were good, but lacking a little of the wow factor that the other two courses provided. I know Jacobs Inn will be planning to feature a number of daily specials once they've had chance to familiarise themselves with the full menu, so I look forward to seeing what they have to offer; I'm also keen to go back and try a number of other items from the main menu and am damn sure we'll pop in for one of their famous breakfasts sometime very soon.

Overall Score: 8.5/10

As a brief footnote regarding the service, while the pub and some of the team are so new, do allow a few minor teething problems here and there; saying that though, you will find a warm welcome and staff who are incredibly happy to help. General Manager Luke is a huge credit to them - incredibly likeable and clearly very capable, we constantly felt we were in good hands and, most importantly, thoroughly relaxed.

Jacobs Inn
130 Godstow Road
Twitter: @jacobsinn
Facebook: @Jacobs-Inn
Website: TBC
Phone: 01865 514333

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...