The Perch Inn is just a short ten minute drive from the bustling Oxford city centre, but you'd never know it. With the River Thames within view, stretches rolling countryside and a stoney path to the door, the gastropub feels more rural Cotswolds countryside than city restaurant. This, along with the beautifully put together seasonal menu, makes for the perfect destination after a busy afternoon shopping or sightseeing.
The seasonal menu as plenty of pub favourites, as well as inviting seafood offerings and inspiring vegetarian options. Starter include delicious sharing platters, whilst the main menu sees everything from classic battered fish and chips or burgers to the more contemporary roast cauliflower ‘steak’ with Colcannon mash, caper, walnut and parsley butter.
Vegans will be pleased to know there is a specially created menu for you, with a choice of two starters, two desserts and two mains. On this occasion they were Roast Beetroot Burger, Globe Artichoke & Roasted Heritage Carrot Salad and Spiced Plum, Blackberry & Almond Crumble with Soya Custard.
To begin, we started with the small fish plate (£9.95) and Calamari, which is no longer on the menu. The calamari dish came with a delicious combination of smoked chorizo and crispy potatoes, which made for a variety of textures and flavours.
My fish plate, which can also come in sharer size, was a medley of beetroot cured salmon, kipper pate, house cured mackerel, a crayfish cocktail, soft homemade bread and caper berries. A well put together platter, it made for a light and tasty start to my meal with great quality fish and seafood.
With so many amazing sounding mains it really was hard to choose - especially because they had such good fish and vegetarian options. I opted for a special of roasted halibut (£21.95) which came with champ mash, heritage carrots and a fresh rosemary and Pernod cream. My dining companion went for timeless fish and chips (£13.95), an ale battered Cornish fish served with triple cooked chips, minted peas ad homemade tartare sauce.
With crispy chips and a delicate batter, this was certainly a fish and chips dish to rival those seafood special. My halibut special was delectably flaky and moist, despite being roasted rather than pan fried or grilled. Giving the creamy sauce a fragrant hint of star anise, the Pernod added depth to the herby rosemary. The sweet carrots were also a delight, with an earthy flavour which married beautifully with the white fish. A truly great dish which I wish I could devour again!
To finish, I chose their dessert special of dark chocolate mousse, which was topped with a chestnut cream and hazelnut praline. The perfect dessert for me, as a lover of nuts and bitter chocolate flavours, the mousse was delightfully executed and the cream was beautifully whipped. My dining partner went for the homemade seasonal sorbet, which in this case was spiced pear. My idea of a nightmare fruity pudding, it was dutifully eaten and throughly enjoyed. Let's just say neither of us wanted to share!
Have you been to The Perch Inn? What are your favourite restaurants or pubs in Oxford or Oxfordshire?
The Perch Inn
I was invited to The Perch Inn for a review. All words, opinions, photographs and love of chocolate mousse my own.