I’m a fussy person when it comes to eating out. I begrudge the person who decided to make lots of pub food posh and get away from the traditional meals many of which I would eat. Plus of course making pub food much more expensive at the same time. But being married to a farmer and generally mixing with mutual friends for meals out, it does mean that we eat at a lot of village pubs…as long as there’s steak on the menu, then the men are happy.
We rarely eat out in town – there’s not much in the way of good restaurants, and with husbands who generally don’t eat anything more exotic than garlic mushrooms (no chance of getting the group out for a curry unless it’s girls only), we’re limited in the way of good pub food.
However, the girls in the ‘farming’ group are a little more adventurous. We didn’t opt for indian on our most recent outing though, we decided to try out The Three Pigeons pub in Banbury. It’s particularly convenient because we all come in from different directions so it’s middle ground. It was new to all of us, despite the refurbishment and new owners having been in place for some years now.
It’s a really beautiful pub. The car park is small, but there’s a council car park only a couple of minutes walk away. There’s a lovely outdoor seating area for the summer months, a small function room for private meetings or meals, and the pub itself is decorated well. It’s a bit of a maze, but it’s got a warm homely feel while still having a bar feel rather than the local man’s pub that it used to be before being taken over. The bar staff were friendly, making sure they got our drinks exactly right (although one did return her wine because it wasn’t cold), and it was definitely a welcoming place. We were able to sit for a while chatting before being taken through to our table when our starters were nearly ready to be served.
The drinks are generously sized and pricy. I ordered 2 medium sized white wine spritzers with soda, and it cost me nearly £12. Although I don’t order drinks much when out (that’s usually the OH’s job) so I suppose I’m not sure how much drinks are nowadays). The glass was the size of a small goldfish bowl, so it probably was worth the money!
Happily there’s both an A La Carte and fixed price menu (Mon to Thursday evenings, and Monday to Saturday lunchtimes). The A La Carte is pricy (starters from £6 to £9.50, and mains from £13.95 to fillet steak at £26.95, with most around the £18-19 mark). The fixed price comes in at £16.95 or £20.95 depending on whether you have 2 or 3 courses.
The main menu is fairly limited to 5-7 options per course , but there were several that I would have eaten on the A La Carte. They serve quality food, well done, not just the norm, but not so fussy or way out that you can’t find something to eat.
Across the 7 of us we’d chosen from both menus with many of the dishes sampled. The breadcrumb coated brie with salad and sauce was delicious, and just the right size to start off a meal. The other starters looked good too and everyone stated their dishes were just right.
For main I’d chosen their beef burger, with bacon, cheese and relish. The chips were really gorgeous, some of the best I’ve eaten. Everything was well cooked, and the portion sizes pretty accurate for someone with a big appetite. I couldn’t quite finish off my chips and burger bun, but gave it a good effort.
Of the other dishes, the swordfish would have been my other choice – well presented, and something you don’t often see on a menu in this country. Pie of the day also went down well in our group.
Finally most of us had dessert. I had dessert envy when I saw the other choices made – the panna cotta looked delicious and I know my OH would have enjoyed the sticky toffee pudding. I’d chosen crumble – maybe a little heavy after a big meal, but I can’t resist when it’s autumn, it’s such a seasonal dish. It was really good – with the fruit just the right softness and the crumble topping not too sweet.
Apart from it being at the higher end price for eating out at pubs round here, it was definitely worth the money we paid. The Three Pigeons has a nice atmosphere – on the Thursday evening we went, there were several tables of girls, and a few couples, but mostly quite a female buzz about it which is unusual in a pub. The staff were attentive without being overly so, and we were able to relax over our food. The only one nit picky thing was that they asked if they could clear the table after the main, when one of our group was still eating.
We’ll definitely be adding this venue to our approved list for eating out.
What type of places do you like eating out?