It's a joy to step off grey and bustling St Clement's and into this pub. It's the kind of place you can't quite believe slopes down into a car park. The patio, with its graceful glass canopy and dark, curling designs seems more deserving of a river or a verdant wood. That being said, the river and meadow are pretty close by, and Angel & Greyhound pub is the perfect stopover from the city streets. Its existence in the busy Cowley Road Area is an excellent idea.
The Young's East Coast IPA ale, 'produced just twenty minutes from here', the bartender assured us, is pleasantly smooth, without the heaviness of some other ales, although it still has a good tang and a bubbly bitterness. The Angel & Greyhound menu has a rich wine list, and a fantastic selection of spirits. Our burgers - hickory smoked chicken breast and bacon, and the black and blue burger - arrived in a very reasonable time, both arranged on pleasing, heart-shaped plates.
One of the best things about the Angel & Greyhound burgers is how well-built they are. They aren't piled ridiculously high, with need of a skewer to tether them down. When you bite into the burger it remains intact, allowing you to enjoy the flavour without the contents falling everywhere. The chicken breast is surprisingly tender, given its slightly charred appearance (I assume from the hickory smoking). The bacon, while being sharp and crispy, was mild enough not to overwhelm the other flavours. The lettuce, as usual, added little to the overall taste, but the house slaw was smooth and creamy, contributing a pleasant sweetness to the bold and juicy mix of chicken and bacon. The beef in the black and blue burger was also deliciously juicy and mixed well with the mellowness of the cheese and smoky mayo. The black and blue burger was significantly sweet with its brioche bun. Although I liked this, because it softened the taste of the beef and bacon, not everyone appreciates sweet-tinged savouries. The fries had an interesting texture: they were certainly salty enough, but also a bit soft and soggy, and I missed the familiar crunch that usually comes with a burger and fries.
The food at the Angel & Greyhound is overall very good, but it was the atmosphere of the place that really sold me. Caring isn’t an adjective I’d usually attribute to a pub, but the board-games, dog treats and basket of blankets ready for their intrepid outdoors winter visitors, showed me just how much consideration they have for customers, whether they have two legs (or four). We visited the Angel & Greyhound on a blistering day, but we noticed outdoors heaters ready to keep customers comfy in the cold. The pub also has a generous number of high-chairs, which puts the parent in me at ease. I’ve had too many experiences of trying to push a pram into a cramped city pub only to find they make no accommodation for children, so it was great to see that the Angel & Greyhound, with its generous space and provision for parents, is perfect for kids and grown-ups alike.