Tucked away on Parson's Street, Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn (or The Reindeer, as it's usually known) is your archetypical old-fashioned pub, in the best possible way. Stepping out of the February chill, you find yourself in a warm, cosy bar room, all polished wood and squashy chairs, with friendly staff waiting to take your order.
I chose The Reindeer for a weekend lunch with my parents, knowing that the pub's range of Hook Norton ales would appeal to my dad. Despite it being Saturday, the bustle of Banbury's market just around the corner, the pub was comfortably full instead of overcrowded. We settled into one of the nooks behind the bar and ordered lunch with a round of drinks.
My mum and I both opted for the butterflied chicken schnitzel salad, with honey and mustard dressing and nuts. Warning for those with allergies - the menu advertised cashew nuts, but there were definitely peanuts on my plate. Not a problem for me, as I love both equally, but if you have a nut allergy, do check with the kitchen when you order. The chicken was delicious, tender in the middle and crispy on the outside, and was complemented perfectly by both the sharp and tasty rocket salad and the moreish toasted nuts. My dad chose the pub's signature dish, the Reindeer Burger, a venison burger with cheese, bacon, and chips. According to him, the burger was meaty and lean, with a good flavour, and the chips were expertly cooked - crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside.
The Reindeer has an informal, laid-back atmosphere that makes it a great environment for a relaxing lunch of proper pub grub. I'll definitely be going back - perhaps for one of their enormous Sunday roasts...