Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Nut Tree Inn Murcott near Bicester

Surfing round the internet for somewhere special to eat the Oxford side of the Cotswolds I was delighted to find the Nut Tree with its recently awarded Michelin Star. In our old farming days we used to visit the Nut Tree quite regularly, as it was about an half an hours drive from our farm near Tring and had a deserved reputation for excellent steaks. It was run by a very genial mine host who got on well with my father and I have happy memories of some enjoyable times there.

It was with a sense of anticipation and slight trepidation that I drove through Murcott to the pub as my last visit would have been all of 25 years ago and I often find that revisiting places after such a gap often gives a slight feeling of disappointment that things are not as you remember. However for once in my life it was better than I remembered. A lovely, picture postcard, thatched building, very nicely kept up with a friendly feel on entering. Two ducks were waddling gently out the door as we walked in and with a smile we elected to sit outside on the back terrace as it was a perfect afternoon.

A one choice luncheon menu was incredibly priced at £17 for a Michelin star production but as nearly always happens I suspect, we ended up choosing different dishes off the full menu to try and fully sample the food. For starters we shared some Seared Scallops with Lemon Curd, Caviare and Fennel that was simply fantastic. The superbly cooked diver caught scallops with the sweetness of the lemon curd and the crunchiness and flavour of the fennel, was a truly winning combination. Weirdly we felt that the caviare was not needed and we would rather have had another scallop! I have an army friend who's dictum is “time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted” and I had read the website and picked up on the passion and reputation for pork dishes so we had the Pork Terrine. Again this was extremely good with a true depth of flavour that went perfectly with the Alsace Pinot Blanc that we had chosen. The wine list was not huge but adequate and the mark up perhaps not unreasonable.

For main course we had Slow Roasted Belly of Pork that really hit the spot, a real favourite of mine. A Salmon Fishcake with a Gratin of Spinach and Tomato Butter Sauce that was bursting with flavours and every morsel was cleared up! For a sweet we shared a soufflĂ© of lime and coconut with some mango sorbet that was just sublime. My bill came to £82 and compared to what you can spend to sample Michelin star food, extremely reasonable. The service was unhurried, efficient and friendly, always a winning combination. I will definitely return given the opportunity and do not intend to leave it another 25 years and we would both thoroughly recommend it to anyone going down the M40 or anybody lucky enough to live close by. It would perhaps also be a good idea to pay a visit before the prices go up!

Restaurants in Cumbria

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