A Taste of the Mediterranean at the Blue Boar in Witney
Quick as a flash, the most delightful cocktail appeared with a mix of Aperol, Prosecco and soda
Not having visited the Blue Boar for a year or so it seemed an obvious choice and I was very much looking forward to a chin wag and a cocktail or two.
The Blue Boar has created a niche in the Witney leisure scene. Its ardent support of the local rugby scene, carnivals and events has risen its profile significantly and is a working example of how giving back to a community makes sound business sense. The venue is so accessible that hardly any time existed in between parking and walking into it (to a very appealing barman and his cocktail list).
The conversation on the drive over had centred around a love affair with Italy and my friend mentioned that her favourite holiday tipple was Aperol.
Never heard of it but as a Campari lover, and bitters enthusiast, its description really floated my boat.
Imagine my delight then when my friend noticed a bottle behind the bar.
The bar man very sweetly explained that both Aperol and Campari are made from a secret combination of herbs and roots, with some citrus and a hint of sweetness
Aperol however is a little more refined (just like the person ordering I think!).
Anyhow, quick as a flash, the most delightful cocktail appeared with a mix of Aperol, Prosecco and soda – looking divine and tasting even more so.
Eventually, and with a little reluctance, it was time to eat.
We were seated in a busy dining room with a mix of relaxed diners that spanned all ages. There was a lot of laughter going on which to me is always a sign of good food in a good venue.
The service was prompt and smiley and our choice of a shared starter was delivered quickly and with a smile.
Unfortunately our conversation made things a little more spread out than I am sure the restaurant would have liked but again, like true professionals, they delivered our order (a beautiful locally sourced fillet steak for me and fish for my friend) with perfect timing.
My first choice of Rose was a bad one (note to self – read the wine list!) as I had ordered incorrectly; it was replaced, without a murmur, with a crisp dry version and supper continued in a long and deliciously lazy manner.
My friend ordered desert which looked superb and must have tasted it as there was little remaining by the time my double espresso arrived. And then, with regret, the short post work supper, which had extended by many hours, was at an end.
Although I was very tempted to book into one of the delightful and quite reasonably priced bedrooms and simply sleep away my evening, all rooms were at capacity (another note to self – book ahead as these rooms are very popular, and quite rightly so) so it was home for me.
I will not, however, leave it anywhere near as long to visit again. In fact I am very tempted to head over and join in the Christmas activities for which The Blue Boar has house rules: “Be Merry, Forgo formality with Christmas Bites at the Bar”. With specially reserved places at the bar, the thought of forgoing the formality of the festive dinner for a Venetian concept of Cicchetti, a feast of snack-sized dishes, sounds amazing. 6 people at just £18pp ticks the boxes nicely. And knowing my friends, the “less food and more drink” mentality will be perfect.
So thank you Blue Boar, a great night was had and make sure the Aperol is still on your cocktail menu for the December foray.
- Jill Rayner