Mixing a quintessentially British pub setting with a fine gastronomy venue, is a balancing act that can see the scales tip in favour of one or the other. However, The Bear and Ragged Staff have managed to achieve the balance with consummate ease. The pub is split in to a restaurant, pub, bar and accommodation serving as a multifarious venue with each section scoring highly for its appeal.
However, the Ox was here to sample the food supplemented by the fine choice of wine, lager and ale on offer. Having eaten there on a Friday, I thought it was only natural we sampled a couple of the Fish dishes on offer. Firstly, we sampled the Beer Battered Cod, served with skin on chips and Tartar Creme Fraiche. I have a simple benchmark for most pubs, if they can serve Fish and Chips well then generally I know they are on to a good thing, and this was fresh fish on a Friday at its best. The skin on chips were akin to chip shop chips without the grease, and the battered fish was light, fresh and tasty.
The other dish sampled was the trout with truffle risotto from the specials. The owners actually told us after the meal that the piece of trout was caught on Thursday night in Farmoor reservoir (about 1 mile down the road), prepared Friday morning and served Friday night. If that’s not a fresh turn around then I don’t know what is. However, without being told this most diners would have been able to taste just how fresh this was. Offset against the truffle risotto this was an excellent dish and also a must try.
All told, The Bear and Ragged Staff is a good venue for a simple meal out for two, or for eating out as a group, after all serving fresh fish on a Friday is always a winning combination.
FoodofTheOx Rating: 9.5/10