Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Restaurant Review - Magdalen Arms (follow up)

Location: Magdalen Arms, 243 Iffley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 1SJ, UK

Yes, I know. It's been reviewed to within an inch of its life, by both local and national media. I reviewed it myself previously (here).

But bear with me. 

While Jay Rayner clearly had a very enjoyable meal, he might just kick himself when he realises he missed out on their best, most EPIC dish. 

As an East Oxford local, I've been to Magdalen Arms many times - for lunch, dinner, drinks and cake. I've sampled a wide variety of their dishes, each well-made and delicious. But they all pale by comparison.

So here it is folks, in all its meltingly soft, rich, meaty glory... the Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder!

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder
£70 for 4/5 people. Lamb Neck, cooked and served the same way, is often available at £30 for 2ppl 

Served up with seasonal sides (luxurious dauphinoise spiced red cabbage on this occasion), this is serious, serious food porn.

The large version of the dish serves five people comfortably (trust me, we've shared it between four a few times and always taken a doggy bag home) and isn't always on the menu. On our last visit this was the case, but on asking it was available as a special. And mighty special it is too.

Glistening lamb, slowly cooked with carrots, celery and onion. So tender it yields without fight to a spoon. Sitting regally in a moat of cooking juices. No need for gravy or condiment, nor a glance in the direction of salt & pepper.

The dauphinoise are a glorious addition - creamy, buttery, well seasoned, comfort food at it's best. You know it's naughty but, go on then, just one more spoonful. I'll be a good girl tomorrow.

The greens or cabbage are a welcome addition, simply to break up the richness elsewhere. But you don't need much - you'll be too consumed by lust for the lamb.

If you decide to try the lamb yourself, be aware it takes around 40 minutes to reach your table. So order early, and make do with complimentary bread and butter (first portion is free, extra portions are £3.50) till the main event is brought out, rather ceremoniously, by a small convoy of waiters.

Service often comes into question here, for being far too casual. On this particular occasion though, we found the service to be perfectly attentive and helpful. It's a casual atmosphere anyway, so don't expect front of house staff in crisp matching outfits. It was almost a breakthrough to be asked if we'd like further drinks during our meal.

Overall score: 10 - without doubt, their finest dish.

Family friendly and relaxed, Magdalen Arms also serve some good vegetarian options - but portions can run out fast. The website is still incomplete (after several years), so you will need to book by phone.

Magdalen Arms
Iffley Road
Twitter: @magdalen_arms
Facebook: N/A
Phone: 01865 243159


  1. I have wanted to go here since I read Jay Rayner's rave pie review and you have just confirmed it for me. I simply must go

  2. I have wanted to visit this restaurant since I read Jay Rayner's rave review about their pies. You have just confirmed it for me, I simply must go!

    1. The pie is great, but, oh my god, the lamb is amazing. Let me know if you go and if you enjoy it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...