There is one way to defeat the January blues and that’s a midweek treat, which is certainly what was in store for us when we visited the Blue Boar in Chipping Norton. Since its launch party several weeks ago, I’ve been itching to go back to try the grub and soak up the cozy atmosphere.
I know that hygge is a bit ‘on-trend’ but it’s certainly something the Blue Boar oozes – like pulling on a warm woolen jumper on a blustery day. We felt very snug tucked up, amongst the wood burner and the natural green and subtle blue undertones.
The Blue Boar was taken over by Young’s brewery a few months ago and its transformation from boozy Friday-night drinkers pub to hygge gastro pub took just six weeks. As Gary, the veteran Young’s manager, added a few of the locals were finding it a little hard to adjust to the Blue Boar’s new look.
Young’s has done a great job at restoring the building’s original inner charm making the most of its wooden beams and flagstone floor, without feeling overly claustrophobic. Slight confession to make, we did pop back here before Christmas and they had a mighty tree that really set the place off. It’s a big place, but I don’t think that detracts from the overall atmosphere, in fact it’s probably extremely handy.
Whilst we were there a large birthday party filtered through to take up a big table towards the back of the hall, but you didn’t feel that you needed to compete for attention with waiting staff. It also means that you can still have a drink at the bar, without feeling the need to order food. A little bit of everything for everyone.
So enough about the hygge, what about the food? I get the impression that the menu is seasonal and uses local sources where possible. Our dinner was definitely on the hearty side. I had sort of nordic inspired salami platter with a range of pickles, whilst Tom had a classic prawn cocktail (nothing like it’s 70s ancestors though!)
Mains, I tried the buttermilk chicken kiev stuffed with Oxford blue cheese (delish!) and Tom the duck confit on a bed of lentils. Desserts – chocolate and orange bread and butter pudding and sticky toffee pudding. I was disappointed that Tom reneged on his original offer to go halves with me and I was reduced to just one mouthful of the sticky toffee. There will be consequences.
Our dinner was courtesy of Gary and his team at the Blue Boar. But all tastebuds are purely our own. The team is currently doing a special Hygge menu with two mains for £20!