The Trout in Oxford is one of many reasons why the city of dreaming spires remains near the top of my favourites list. It was no hardship at all to review and in fact, rather tasty. Whether you’re looking for food, history, fun or a bit of everything, you can’t go wrong with this city, or this pub.
Park Life and Peacocks
Just a twenty minute drive out of the city centre, but lodged well within the leafy, riverside village of Wolvercote, hides The Trout. It perches at the rear of the village right where the River Thames flows. As you drive along the narrow road you’ll notice that you pass not one, but two other pubs. Outsiders might be forgiven for wondering how three big pubs can stay in business in such a small area. Well, Oxford is famed for it’s lovely pub culture. I spent much of my two years there colouring in the well-renowned pub chart, trying to tick them all off. However, in terms of these three I only ever made it to The Trout…repeatedly.
Even on a weekday, The Trout is busy and enjoys a buzzing atmosphere. Office workers call in for a girly catch up over a glass of wine, and cute, elderly couples dress up to hold hands over a flickering candle. Even the ducks and the peacock, yes peacock, pop by for their weekday supper. Come weekends, popularity of this place soars and I’d highly recommend that you book a table.
It’s not just the pretty location that brings the diners and drinkers alike. It’s the fame and history. It’s a seventeeth century pub (check out the refurbished stonework and beams) and has inspired writers like Lewis Carroll (author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and Collin Dexter (Inspector Morse). Even King Henry II is said to have used it as a meeting place, so if it’s good enough for royalty it’s certainly more than adequate for a fine individual like ones self. Ooh, I say.
Best Time to Visit
It’s got to be bang in the middle of summer, or in the coldest part of winter. In the summer, you can walk from the city centre across Port Meadow (beautiful fields along the river) to The Trout, to then settle outside right by the water with a pitcher of Pimms. It’s bliss. You can do this throughout the year, but it just feels so much nicer when the sun is shining and the meadow is full of greenery.
Winter creates a whole different atmosphere. Roaring log fires and cosy armchairs leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, or maybe that’s the wine. Either way, The Trout just seems ‘to do’ Christmas so well.
The Main Attraction
The menu mixes a good selection of traditional dishes with fancier ones (mainly on the specials list) and manages to even make the simple ones sound stylish. A pea shoot salad just sounds so much more exciting than a house salad. You’ll have trouble choosing just one dish, so it makes sense to visit The Trout with a group of your nearest and dearest. Sharing is caring after all (just not when it comes to sharing your own dish if you’re like me).
The generous plate of gnocci is filling, wholesome and healthy. Well it’s healthy if you count the butternut squash, spinach and pumpkin seeds. The dollop of ricotta is also pretty good as far as cheeses go, and even if it isn’t healthy, it’s mandatory with this Italian dish. Delicious.
The British rib of beef and Rioja pie was pretty well received (clearly not by me as the non-meat eater that I am), but the side of buttery mash was praised more so. I tried a big spoonful just to verify and yes, it deserves a thumbs up.
The homemade beef burger, piled high with pulled pork, onions and gherkins was an almighty impressive tower of meat. How anyone is supposed to fit it in their mouth is beyond me, but then I spose it is a restaurant so perhaps a knife and fork would come into play for most diners.
The best part of a meal is always the dessert and again, there’s a good choice at The Trout. Well, good if you enjoy that indecisive ‘but everything sounds so deliciously naughty, how will I ever choose?’ kinda feeling.
The Eton mess with Chambord drizzle totally swayed me for a good minute or two, but I think it was the appeal of the syrupy Chambord more than the meringue. This left a battle between vanilla and chocolate gelato with home baked cookies, or chocolate brownies with vanilla gelato. I’m not going to lie, it caused me much pain to have to pick just one, but I eventually settled on the cookies. My chocolatey sixth sense did well, as they were good (athough they could have been amazing if they were warm cookies).
The sticky toffee pudding was proclaimed as the best ever. Like ever, ever. I guess it was tasty – so tasty that I never even managed to steal a mouthful. Ah well, I spose I’ll just have to go back to The Trout for another visit. Two courses and a drink will set you back just under twenty pounds, so hop on over and check it out for yourself. X
#SundayServed is all about worldly food and drink. Join me every Sunday for a slice of deliciousness around the globe. If you’ve got a good recipe or recommendation that you’d like to share please get in touch.