Sunday Roast Review: The Oxford

February 28, 2010

The Oxford Pub and Dining Rooms
Kentish Town
Roast Sirloin, Chicken, Pork & Lamb
From £13
Roasting: 6.5/10

The Oxford is an easy option for anyone living in Chalk Farm or Kentish Town. Located smack in the middle of Kentish Town Road, it’s a cosy looking black establishment within 5 mins walk of the local tube. Having caught the last of summer when we moved into the area I remember seeing decent crowds spilling onto the footpath on the weekends, but today everyone is inside huddled behind a paper or scoffing a sunday roast.

The inside area is quite spacious and long, with the pub/bar area at the front, extending into resturant style seating as you walk past the open kitchen towards the back of the pub. I love an open kitchen in pub. I like to be able to see and hear and smell my grub as it’s prepared. Near the bar large chalk boards of menu hang from the walls, together with rustic wood furniture and high ceilings.

After having a quick scan of the menu we decided on 2 chicken and a pork. I was grinning stupidly after seeing pork on the menu, its been a total beef race lately so it was great to get my favorite roast back in the running. Overall, the menu looked good. Really good. Great selection and some interesting dishes in there for variety. The porkboard for 2 and the grilled cornish sardines sounded great. Definitely worth coming back to sample some of the other dishes on offer.

Several pages of trashy sunday paper later and our food arrived, piping hot. The first thing we noticed was the massive carrot sliced lengthways and placed across the middle of the plate. Blatant phallic representations aside, it was actually a great carrot, sweet and perfectly cooked. The meat and gravy was sitting over the top of the carrot dong with several large spuds around one side, and green beens and parsnip on the other side. The beans were of good crunchiness, parsnip was a bit soggy but flavoursome.

Unfortunately the spuds were a classic case of potato photoshop. They looked great but once you got underneath they were dry and flourey. The initial outer crispiness was pretty good, but we found ourselves continuously dunking them in gravy to combat the dryness. The gravy, unfortunately, was a weak point on both plates. “Watery and lacking in flavour” as Industry Boy put it.

The chicken was a generous half chicken portion, so a decent amount, but unfortunately fell victim to the all too common PRDD (Pub Roast Dryness Disorder). Every pub except the Woodbine so far has served chicken suffering from PRDD, and it’s a repeating problem in pubs everywhere. The chicken did come with a very tasty chipolata so that leveraged a point back.

The pork loin was better, although definitely not enough crackling. You can never have too much crackling. On the other hand, the crackling was very well done, perfectly crispy and seasoned. Like the chicken however, the meat was a decent enough portion, but it was a little dry. Pork loin as cut is very easy to overdo as there isn’t actually that much fat present (except the outside) so the meat can dry out quickly. It could of also done with a bit of seasoning, some fennel rubbed in would of worked wonders.

After letting the roast settle for all of 5 minutes, Industry Boy decided he was still hungry and so decided to push the boat out and get a desert. We helped him settle on the sticky toffee. It was a superb pudding, the caramelised sauce was perfectly sweet without being burnt, and the gooey-ness of the cake was bang on. Home made ice cream to top it off, and all for a fiver. Needless to say it didn’t last long. Definitely make sure you try it if you go. If we encounter any more desserts like this we’ll have to consider rating the puddings as well. But for now this won’t count towards the final score.

In a busy pub at peak lunch hour it’s easy to let the meat slide a little and unfortunately this is what seems to have happened in both cases. Gravy aside, everything else was on the money. Great size, good selection of veg and nice to see someone getting a bit experimental with the carrot for a change. We couldn’t fault the service, and The Oxford certainly gets extra points for having a good selection of roasts. Sirloin, Chicken, Lamb and Pork is a great selection and sure to satisfy most punters. There is a vegetarian option, although not a roast.

In the end, we each agreed that it wasn’t that it was a particularly bad roast, it just wasn’t particularly outstanding one either. Worth going back for? If you’re nearby and don’t want to go far, then yes, most definitely. You could certainly do a lot worse on a sunday.

Meat ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6)
Potatoes ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (2)
Veg ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Yorkshire ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (n/a)
Gravy ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (3)
Serving Size ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Menu Variety ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Service ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Atmosphere ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Value for money ★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)

Overall Roasting: (6.5/10)

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3 Responses to “Sunday Roast Review: The Oxford”

  1. lotte Says:

    This pub is just down the road from me, I’ve been there a few times for a roast now and I really like it.

    Good review.

  2. AishA Says:

    Agreed. The oxford is a great little pub, I used to live in Kentish town and loved it. Plenty of good pubs doing roasts in east london as well, you guys should head over some time.

  3. […] Garden Gate, The Flask, Ye Olde White Bear, The Bull and Last, The Lock Tavern, The Oxford, The Stag, The […]

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