Situated in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, The Peacock at Oxhill is a pub with a twist. Its fine dining style menu with twists on pub classics provides something for everyone whilst the extensive dessert menu makes for difficult decision making.
For a Wednesday evening, whilst quiet at first, it soon became busy with both the bar & restaurant areas clearly being full of regular customers. Whilst being a small venue & quite busy, it still did not feel over crowded. The staff provided a perfect balance between being attentive yet not overly pushy & pressing, which is something many places really struggle with.
In a usual change from ordering similar food to avoid food envy, this time the rules went out the window. It was the Twice Baked Cheddar & Parmesan Soufflé with Spinach & a Cream Sauce, and Quail Scotch Egg with Piccalilli, Aioli, Pork Scratching & Apple that were the first choices of the evening. Both were light courses that were just the right amount to being a 3 course dinner with.
The soufflé was airy and not too rich at all, which it easily could have been with the combination of two cheeses and a cream sauce. The Quail Scotch egg was cooked perfectly with the meat remaining moist and the egg yolks still runny. The aioli and the apple sauce balanced the richness of the scotch egg and the long stick of crispy crackling provided a different texture. The dish was presented beautifully on a circular black slate.
A must visit
For mains, the Cotswold Lamb & Beef Burger made the cut.
Served with hand cut chips, the beef burger had all the elements a good burger should have; bacon, cheese, onion rings and mayonnaise and was a little messy as good burgers often are. Other than possibly slightly crispier bacon, the burger satisfied a hungry stomach and the addition of home-made hand cut chips transferred that country pub feel from the atmosphere to the plate.
It was requested that the Cotswold lamb rump cooking medium/rare and this is exactly how it came. There wasn’t much fat on the meat, it was tender with no chewiness and tasted delicious.
It was a good portion size and the Dauphinois potatoes and Provençale vegetables worked well with it. There seemed to be a little too much rosemary jus, but this is how a number of restaurants present dishes.
The course was good value considering the portion size, quality of the meat and the cooking of it. The two dishes really encompassed The Peacock’s 'pub food with a fine dining twist’ feel.
Then came the task of making a decision on dessert.
With the dessert board being safely tucked away until you are ready to see it, there was no pre planning on what to have, other than being tempted by other diner’s choices. In the end it was the Triple Chocolate Brownies and Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel that won.
Accompanied by ice cream and strawberries, the brownie was not too rich, and whilst leaving you feeling full, it was not overly sickly as many are. It was also very nice to have a good quality ice cream accompanying it.
As lovers of salted caramel, being presented with the option to have it as an accompaniment to the panna cotta, the only choice was to go for it.
The panna cotta itself was the right consistency and had the delicate vanilla creaminess you’d expect; but the very hot salted caramel sauce overpowered the dessert and it ended up tasting more like a Crème Caramel but without the egg’s richness to cut through the sweetness. It tasted nice but I'm not convinced it’s a combination that works particularly well.
Whilst a little far to travel regularly to from Cheltenham, if you are in the area it is worth a visit. Whether you are looking for a casual afternoon lunch or a slightly nicer location for an evening meal without feeling the pressure to get fully dressed up, The Peacock at Oxhill is worth a visit.
Credit is also due to the waitress who had been working all of an hour when asked what beers were available on draught &, very sensible, wrote them down before returning to the table. A clever move.
Dominic Meason contributed photography and research.