Our drinks order was taken swiftly; my companion opted for The Fox, which is a perfect autumnal real ale with a nutty flavour and smooth finish, while I chose, on the recommendation of a staff member, the Santa Roato merlot, with chocolatey notes that went well with my main course. The décor is all exposed original beams and neutral tones, as seems to be the fashion in pubs at the moment, but this doesn’t reduce its character. For a Wednesday night the pub was full of people and merriment.
After a matter of minutes, we received our starters. My partner’s beautifully presented salt and pink pepper squid was well seasoned, and the batter was crispy and thin but some parts of the squid were a little bit chewy. He’s not usually disposed to have sauce with squid but ended up utilising the ginger and lime mayonnaise because of its great taste. My ham hock salad was huge – salty flakes of ham, nice range of salad leaves, sharp shards of radish and crisp green apple plus soft crackling (is that an oxymoron?) – overall, this was a very pleasant dish. It would make a decent sized lunch as well as being a generously portioned starter.
My partner opted for the fish special as his main. He said that the sea bream was cooked well as it was still very soft but the skin was crisp on top, and the sauce was creamy and flavoursome. The inclusion of bacon and clams was a good touch, providing little pearls of saltiness against the velvety sauce. This dish demonstrated the chef's talents in creating specials which are indeed special.
The 8oz onglet steak (which, being Steak Night, I had chosen from the bountiful steak board) was cooked to order (medium-rare) and served with an enormous disc of homemade chef’s butter with herbs which complemented the steak nicely. The accompanying fries were seasoned with what seemed to be a mix of spices, which reminded both of us of those spice blend packets (we thought it was a Cajun mix): certainly not unpleasant and an interesting twist on conventional fries. The delicacy of the watercress and sweetness of the fried shallots helped to balance the dish, with the grilled mushroom providing an additional meaty texture. My only suggestion would be that although it was Steak Night, there were no ‘2 for 1’ offers or discounts for purchasing multiple steaks – perhaps this is something worth considering for future promotions.
Onto dessert, which I’ll admit I had been excited about from the beginning of the meal. Somewhat unexpectedly, the puddings divided opinions; my partner thought the sticky date and stout pudding could have been less spongy and denser while I was very happy with the light texture as it meant I was able to eat more of it without getting full! Fortunately, we both agreed that the sticky sweet toffee flavour was excellent. The chocolate bread and butter pudding from the specials board had a chewy consistency and there was just the right amount of chocolate. Again, the accompanying brandy sauce was well received by my companion but I found it a little too bitter, as the B&B pudding wasn’t especially sweet. Filled to the brim, I managed to squeeze in a Dow’s
The Fox at Boars Hill is a fantastic place to pop into for a three course meal or a light lunch. Dietary requirements are clearly labelled on the menu and judging by the happy faces of the younger diners we saw leaving, children are well catered for. I can imagine visiting after a brisk wintry walk and being comforted by a hearty meal or snuggling up in front of one of the fireplaces with a mulled wine. Until next time!
This was a complimentary three-course meal plus drinks kindly provided by The Fox.