Thursday, 15 August 2013

Restaurant Review - Door 74

Location: 74 Cowley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 1JB, UK
Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour

Having moved to East Oxford three years ago, it seems utterly unthinkable that I hadn't visited Door 74. It's local, it gets good reports, the menu looks good... what the hell took me so long?

Hold my hands up, I don't have a decent answer - the restaurant is fairly small and inconspicuous, so I'd never really noticed it till someone pointed it out; other than that I've got nothing. So finally, looking for a venue to catch up with some other local mummies, I booked a table for last Friday night. About bloody time!

With some unavoidable confusion around how many of us there would actually be, it wasn't until the last minute we could confirm final numbers to the restaurant - undoubtedly very frustrating for a venue on a weekend evening, but thankfully accommodated without too much trouble.

Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour
Main Menu

Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour
Specials Board

With a final number of three (A, C & myself), we settled in with some drinks and a good old natter. Pausing for breath occasionally (you know what us girls are like), we eventually concluded... sod the starters, we wanted to save space for pudding! 

So, Whole Fresh Roast Lemon Sole with Warm Summer Vegetable Salad and Burnt Lime for A (£13.95) plus a side of Chunky Chips with Aioli (£3), Door 74 6oz Organic Beef Burger with Salad, Tomato, Aioli & Chips for C & myself (£9.95), both adding Emmental Cheese (+£1). Mains ordered we got back to some serious nattering.

Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour
Whole Fresh Roast Lemon Sole with Warm Summer Vegetable Salad and Burnt Lime

Totally losing track of time, the food appeared before we got to the tantalising topic of toddler sleep schedules (I know, rock & roll, right?). A's Whole Lemon Sole proudly owned the plate, on a bed of tomato, pepper and onion, finished off with a scattering of parsley and a wedge of lime; poor A was a little put off by the head on the fish but that's generally to be expected with a whole baked fish. Grateful she'd ordered a side of chips, A found that the dish alone would have certainly been missing some type of carb, but enjoyed it overall.

Forget the fish though, I was much more interested in my burger and chips... The burger was served in a wholemeal bap - which has to be a first for me - a bit too much bread, but improved by whipping the top off; the burger itself was well cooked and seasoned, working well with the Emmental; the salad was modest; but the chips... oh my lord, the chips were beautiful! Flavoursome and crispy, these chips were some of the best I've tasted locally and I could've eaten them all bloomin' night!

Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour
Door 74 6oz Organic Beef Burger with Emmental Cheese, Salad, Tomato, Aioli & Chips

Not a single chip remained, but with dessert on my mind, I managed to step away from the burger. GET THAT PUDDING MENU BACK.

By this point in the evening, the lights were down pretty low - as you can see from my pictures; this may make it tough for food photography but does make it a particularly good 'date' venue. There is a real intimacy to the atmosphere here, with little fairy lights on each table and sparkly beaded curtains in the window; there's a hint of boudoir about the place, but not in a tacky way. The ladies loo was decorated nicely too, but did look like it needed a good clean and fresh lick of paint.

Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour
Belgian Waffles with Strawberries & Chantilly Cream

Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour
Dark Chocolate Semifreddo with Vanilla Ice Cream

Restaurant Review Oxford, FoodieOnTour
Vanilla Pannacotta with Summer Fruits Salad

So jumping from loos to pudding...(?!) with some fantastic sounding choices, we all went for something completely different: A chose the Belgian Waffles with Strawberries and Chantilly Cream (£4.95) - which looked gorgeous and seemed to go down very well; C selected the Dark Chocolate Semifreddo with Vanilla Ice Cream (£4.95), lovely and gooey on the inside and bursting with the taste of coffee; I, however, had my heart set on the Vanilla Pannacotta with Summer Fruits Salad (£4.95) - smooth and silky, the pannacotta was delicious, paired with the sweet fruits and amaretto biscuit it was a happy ending to an enjoyable dinner. My only complaint? The rhubarb in my fruit salad was a little too cheek-suckingly sour.

Satisfyingly full and having covered the A-Z of toddler topics, we said our farewells. Dinner had been enjoyable, the venue charming, the atmosphere bordering on romantic, the food had been entirely pleasant; I do hesitate to offer more significant praise though, other than to the chips - which really were really bloody good!

Overall Score: 7.5

Door 74
74 Cowley Road
Twitter: @door74oxford
Facebook: @Door-74
Phone: 01865 203374

Door 74 on Urbanspoon

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