The Sir Charles Napier was so good that I had to start a food blog so I could write about it! This Michelin-starred gastropub in Oxfordshire had been on my list for a while, but my visit with my family last weekend did not disappoint.
Entering the cosy pub with its exposed beams and crackling fires on the sunniest day of the year so far, made me very proud to be English! The eclectic mix of furniture, distressed walls, bunches of wild flowers and smooth sculptures by Michael Cooper added to the warmth of the place. I felt so at home, I wanted to move in.
The menu is immediately enticing, each option more descriptive and exciting than the next. For starters we chose: Rabbit rilletes with pickles and focaccia, Warm pigeon salad with blood orange, betroot and feta, Smoked haddock cheddar risotto with crispy quail egg and Seared foie gras with duck confit on toast and rhubarb. All were delicious, but the foie gras was the clear winner for me, with a delicate balance of flavours, well placed dots of rhubarb compote and two pieces of popcorn(?!) for decoration. “I love this place” we kept saying before we’d even finished our starters… “when are we next coming back?”
For mains, my sister and I both had the Monkfish with braised oxtail, jerusalem artichoke and russian kale. I’m always slightly disappointed by monkfish, and for £25.50 this dish could have had more flavour. The monkfish dish was easily overshadowed by the outstanding gnocchi with rainbow chard (fresh from the garden), butternut squash and rocket. The Cornish pollock with mussel chowder and caviare was tasty but I was more amazed by how the vegetables had been so finely and equally diced than by the food itself. Of all the mains, the best was the perfectly cooked Goosenagh duck breast with carrot, cumin, blood orange and endive marmalade. This is not just any pub, but an award-winning foodie heaven in a magical setting. 9/10
The Sir Charles Napier,
Sprigg’s Alley, Chinnor,
01494 483 011