Sunday, 19 January 2014

Restaurant Review - Quod

Location: 92-94 High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4BJ, UK

I hate to admit it, but sometimes MrF is right. Not all the time, but sometimes. And on an even rarer occasion, he nails it right on the head. 

When Quod was booked for a New Years Day meal with my sister and her family, MrF complained, calling it 'vanilla'. "No" I said, "it'll be fine" I said. 

Damn him, he was bang on.

With a very limited choice of restaurants open on New Years day (everyone else sleeping off lock-in hangovers), we were pretty much left with hotels to choose from, so Quod it was. Big Sis wasn't quite ready to reign in the festive eating, wanting something nice, expensive and somewhere she could be delivered straight to the door. Tick, tick, and tick.

Previously an old bank and part of the Mogford Group (along with Gee's and The Old Parsonage), Quod is an impressive looking place, with high ceilings, neatly uniformed waiters, artwork on the walls and a modern, upmarket vibe. The car park to the rear is available to both hotel and restaurant guests, with a couple of hours complimentary parking for diners.

Overall our meal was very pleasant - endive salad with poached egg, pancetta and croutons (£7) for me, followed by slow braised beef in red wine, with button onions, lardons & mushrooms (£15.50). There was an onglet steak available but, having little faith it could match the glory of Port Mahon's steak platter, I decided to pass. MrF had a crab risotto to start (I can't recall the price), which was particularly tasty, then joined me in the braised beef.

The flavours, presentation and preparation of the endive salad were all perfectly fine. The beef was nice, though felt lacking in tlc during the cooking process, missing a tenderness expected from a slow braise. This, combined with a shortage of meat and lack of impact from the sauce, meant that 'nice' and 'fine' were the most excitable descriptions I could stretch to.

Endive salad with poached egg, pancetta and croutons
(I forgot to photograph prior to egg massacre -
at least you can see it was runny though!)

Slow braised beef in red wine, with button onions, lardons & mushrooms 

A decent meal, just not one that inspired a passionate review or a revisit any time soon. We didn't stay for coffees or desserts, just as well seeing as the bill already reached £170, including that 'oh so controversial' 12.5% service charge. The total bill may not have been excessive for four starters, five mains, two kids meals, plus drinks - but with tastier food available cheaper elsewhere in Oxford, I know where I'd rather be.

Elegant venue and setting, but the food didn't leave me wanting more. Vanilla indeed (just don't tell MrF he was right).

Overall score: 6.5 

P.S. I'd love to hear people's thoughts on the 12.5% service charge. Personally, I'm not a fan. I like to tip based on my experience of the service at the time, rather than it being assumed.

92 – 94 High Street

Twitter: @MogfordColl
Facebook: @mogfordcoll
Phone: 01865 202505

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