An Oxford institution, this. No one fails to warm to the well-run restaurant & bar combo occupying one half of a working boathouse, with wide windows overlooking the Cherwell. If you can take your eyes off the punts, pick your way through a short but fresh modern menu with British & French influences – warm salad of black pudding, quails' eggs & bacon lardons, oven-roasted fillet of Hereford Cross beef with hand-cut chips, red onion marmalade & morel sauce, & Champagne rhubarb & custard jelly with stem ginger ice cream, for example. Owned by Anthony Verdin (half of London wine merchants Morris & Verdin), the Boathouse boasts a magnificent list of wines to complement the cooking.
The most eye-catching element of the wine list is the value, with terrifically priced wines all the way through. Whether you are on a splurge or on a budget, it spoils you for choice. The by-the-glass and half-bottle selections are exemplary, it’s clean, simple to use, beautifully presented and the innovative touches are helpful and encouraging. It’s a list that, quite simply, has no faults. It’s exciting, but not overly long; has personality but is never self-indulgent, and caters for the wine fan and the novice alike.