Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Restaurant Review - The Marsh Harrier

Location: 40 Marsh Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 2HH, UK

Having visited The Marsh Harrier a few months ago, and thoroughly enjoying some tasty bar snacks, it was about time I revisited - this time to sample their roast dinners. The Marsh is always a popular drinking pub for MrF en route home from work, and I can see why. It's a comfortable pub, recently redecorated in soothing, homely, Farrow & Ball'esque colours; the staff seem friendly, as do the customers; it has a nice garden; and it's literally equidistant between our house and MrF's office.

So, having covered them previously, I won't launch into full review mode, but what I will do is give you a little insight into recent events, and answer that all important question - can they cook a good roast?

After my earlier review, I was invited along to a 'tasting day' - nothing formal, but an opportunity for the kitchen to show the pub's customers it's new menu. On arrival, we grabbed a seat in the garden and waited patiently to see what the plan was. Then we waited some more. And some more. Before long it became apparent that things were a little haphazard. Waitresses were bringing out large, cheap looking, disposable platters (not a great look) and delivering them to seemingly random tables. When a platter finally made it's way to our table for sampling, we were pleased to see a good selection of items, though none of which stuck in my memory (other than the overly dry mini burgers and quite dull potato wedges). The odd thing was though that the platter before us didn't match up with the sampling menu on the tables. Disorganisation seemed to be the theme of the day. Since then, as I understand it, the chef has moved on and someone else has donned the chef's whites - the menu remains and is being cooked perfectly well. As to better organisation, I cannot complain so far.

Anyway, on to the Sunday Roast! I ordered the Topside of Beef - quelle surprise! At 10.95 it was good. Ok, I can expand more - it was really good. The meat was delicious and of decent quality, as were the vegetables. In fact I'd say I was pretty happy with the entire plateful - until I spotted the 'cook from frozen' yorkie *sigh*. I know they have a really small kitchen, so maybe it's impossible to get a big stack of yorkies prepped alongside all the other required elements, but that styrofoam texture of a frozen yorkie is always a disappointment. Don't let that be the overarching impression though, as the meat really was very tasty, and cooked well.

Topside of Beef

Hot Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream

For dessert, I'd gone for the high-risk Hot Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream (4.50). How many fondants die the death of an overcooked centre? Millions? Billions..? Trillions...!? Unfortunately this one fared no better - dry throughout with a slightly less dry middle. The texture was actually quite unpleasant, so much so that I didn't even finish half of it. A shame really, because I know they do some great dishes here. Stick to the bar snacks and meat and you won't go far wrong, but I'd definitely steer clear of the puds - both of the Yorkshire and dessert variety. 

Overall Score: 6

The Marsh Harrier
40 Marsh Road
Twitter: N/A
Facebook: @marshharrieroxford
Website: www.marshharriercowley.co.uk
Phone: 01865 718225

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