The Fishes – Peach Pubs – North Hinksey – Oxfordshire
Ask most people what their favourite meal of the week would be, and many would plump for the traditional Sunday roast. Take that question a step further and ask where they would like to eat that lunch, and many would add, sitting in an English country pub with a couple of drinks on a bright, sunny afternoon. Is there a better way to spend an English Sunday lunchtime?
I was lucky enough to be doing just that at The Fishes, an impressive Victorian building set in several acres of its own wooded grounds, on the outskirts of the City of Oxford. My first impressions were that it was a small establishment but on entering I discovered it was a much bigger building.
The decking that wraps around the outside of the smart conservatory was full of diners enjoying the spring sunshine and taking in the views across the Oxfordshire countryside. There were many more diners sitting on the extensive garden bench seating. I was told that The Fishes can cater for up to 160 covers on a busy afternoon!
As I walked across from the large car park at the side of the pub I noticed an impressive covered Tepee BBQ area and iconic silver Burger van next to a sandy gravel French Pétanque or Boule pitch. The Fishes is a wonderful pub for families as there are so many open spaces for children to play in and stretch their legs. Although there is no children’s menu, children can order smaller portions or basic versions of any food on the menu.
The Fishes has built up a strong local reputation, over many years, for the quality of its food and drink. All of the meat served in the pub restaurant and bars is British and of the finest quality from reputable local businesses such as Warwickshire butcher Aubrey Allen and other highly – regarded suppliers from across the country. Their steaks are sourced from some of Britain’s finest beef herds and dry-aged for 28 days to increase their flavour. All of the Cotswold White chickens they source are free-range, as are their eggs, pork and ice-cream. Their lamb comes from Cornwall and much of the fish comes fresh from Brixham, Devon and the finest Rhubarb from Yorkshire.
I was pleased to see that the Menus were seasonal and both Asparagus and Rhubarb were being offered on the Main Menu and Daily Specials Board. My wife chose Salmon with local Wye Valley Asparagus topped with a Cotswold Free Range Poached Egg as a starter from the Specials Board whilst I opted for the Ham Hock & English Mustard Croquettes with home – made Piccalilli. The Salmon and Asparagus were described by my wife as really fresh and tasty with a perfect runny egg. The Ham Hock croquettes were perfectly cooked, firm to the touch but with smoothly shredded Ham Hock on the inside.
Our Sunday Roast was an absolute feast of food! I chose Jimmy Butler’s Free-range Leg of Pork & Crackling which was served with Roast Potatoes and seasonal vegetables including Carrots, Cabbage, and Parsnips along with a monster Yorkshire Pudding & lashings of Gravy.
My wife, a big beef eater could not resist Aubrey’s Dry-aged Rump of Beef, which she said was beautifully cooked, tender, succulent and most importantly, delicious to eat!
To `make the most of our roast` we also enjoyed some Free-range Pork & Sage Stuffing discs and a bowl of Cauliflower Cheese. All of the food was beautifully presented and the waiting staff were efficient and professional but never intrusive. They could not have done anything more to make our meal, more special.
No meal is complete without the Dessert or Pudding so despite having already eaten too much we decided to move outside onto the decking and finish our meal in the sunshine. We chose the Dark Chocolate Mousse & Tuile Biscuit and the Cherry Bakewell Tart with Jude’s Vanilla Ice Cream. What a wonderful way to conclude an excellent Sunday lunch sitting in the sunshine eating chocolate and ice cream!
The Fishes celebrates an increasingly-vibrant British food culture with a focus on using seasonal ingredients. Despite insisting on buying the best quality ingredients the menu prices are affordable and reasonable considering the high level of service and quality of food.
A good pub is not just about its food! The Fishes still retains the atmosphere and ambience of a village local serving a range of well – kept beers and ales such as Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen. I settled on a pint of Celebration Ale to mark the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle and my wife chose a glass of Malbec Kaiken Clasico 2017 from Mendoza, Argentina, a much enjoyed fruity wine.
The Fishes also offers a comprehensive range of Continental beers and lagers including Peroni & Estrella. Spirits drinkers have not been forgotten either with Beefeater London Dry Gin and Absolut Vodka amongst their most popular tipples! The Grand Gin is served with plenty of ice, fruit, juniper berries and a choice of premium tonic waters. They can also shake up a great selection of classic cocktails!
I was at the Fishes enjoying Sunday Lunch but of course The Fishes is open all week, offering a comprehensive menu to suit all tastes, at any time. I urge you to check out The Fishes at the earliest opportunity.
On my visit to The Fishes I combined lunch with a short cab ride into the City of Oxford and explored the city for a few hours! If you are planning a visit to Oxford, stop off at the Fishes and enjoy a meal or drink. If the sun is shining, sit outside and enjoy the views of the open countryside from the terrace or if not, enjoy the considerable charms of the smart interior. You will not be disappointed!
North Hinksey Village
Tel: 01865 249796
The Fishes, North Hinksey is part of Peach Pubs a collection of really great pubs, mainly in market towns in the heart of England, that serve good quality, fresh, honest food and drink in relaxed, welcoming surroundings.
My visit was courtesy of Peach Pubs but as always, the comments and opinions are my own.