We loved our trip to the Perch Inn in Binsey, Oxford back in March and we were thrilled to be invited back for their bloggers launch of the new Spring menu. (It’s official we are now full on ‘bloggers’).
Unlike the last time we visited the weather was actually dry which allowed us to enjoy the patch of countryside that surrounds the Perch. Oddly, Monday’s (as well as the Sunday roast rush) are the Inn’s busiest nights and the restaurant certainly filled up as the night went on. For a change, Tom and I were also joined by new blogger pal, Ellen, from Eat With Ellen. Based in Rugby, Ellen has been eating her way through most the West Midlands (check out her blog for some great eating suggestions) so I was really pleased that she could join in on our tasty feast.
It’s clear that Damian, the gregarious Sheffield landlord, has really fallen for The Perch Inn and it’s surroundings. It’s definitely dedicated love when someone goes to the effort of curing their own locally sourced corned beef. And I think that enthusiasm is reflected in most of the menu choices – Tom had the night’s special, a pork and black pudding rissole with red cabbage, mustard creamed leeks and horse radish chutney.
@Jess_Friend Apologies…Black Pudding isn’t local but is one of the best! From Stornaway…..Our Scottish Head Chef is somewhat biased.
— The Perch (@ThePerchInn) April 13, 2016
So I pretty well knew before we got to the Perch that this was not going to work well with the whole ‘Slimming World’ ethos (more on that another time) and we’d already decided we were in for the whole hog! The Spring menu certainly reflects the time of year – and clearly quails eggs are the in thing.
For starters, I had the wild rabbit, chicken and smoked bacon terrine with grape and apple chutney and granary toast. Tom went for the Perch’s classic fish plate with juniper cured salmon, dill cured herring, crayfish cocktail, crab pate, home made bread and caper berries. (It’s amazing that Tom needed any more dinner after that!)
And Ellen had the classic Butcher’s Board with the home corned beef. Like last time, my starter was my favourite part – it was tasty, not too filling and the freshly baked bread roll was like eating a buttery cloud. I would be happy with a plate of bread rolls next time.
With our mains Tom had the very hearty pork and black pudding rissole – which is kind of like a cross between a meatball and a croquette. Ellen’s grilled sea trout fillet looked beautifully presented and my Wye Valley asparagus, jersey royal salad, quails eggs and Caerphilly was a well built salad and certainly optimised everything spring like. (Plus Slimming World would approve…)
I would definitely say that starters and mains are the Perch’s strength. Last time we visited I had the exotic chocolate and chilli creation which was good but so sweet. And that’s definitely the overriding trend – between us we had the Queen of Puddings (the Inn’s best seller, selling out everything else two to one), rhubarb and white chocolate Eton mess and the chocolate orange mousse.
Hands down the mousse was the finest dessert but Tom polished off that Queen of Puddings (a sponge base with plum jam and soft fluffy meringue baked in the oven) and enjoyed a sugar rush which lasted all the way home until a monumental crash.
Before slipping off, we took a brief look round the Perch’s Big Top, a permanent marquee which lit up in the evening would make quite a special wedding reception. We will definitely be heading back in the Summer to check it out and the pub is also hosting an all day mini-festival in July- All Tamara’s Parties.
Disclaimer Tom and I were invited down to the Perch to try out their new menu, you can find it for yourselves right here: the-perch.co.uk/#menus