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Bear Lane Stadhampton nr Oxford
Over the years these eccentric have made quite a name for themselves. From their club and restaurant in Fitzrovia to one of their two hotels within striking distance of London and Oxford, whichever you visit, you’ll find an eclectic assortment of objets d’art, coupled with impeccable service and good food. Visit this English restaurant for classic afternoon tea or a proper Sunday lunch, where local beef and their own lamb and Old Spot pork are roasted with all the trimmings. Meals at other times aren't to be sniffed at either; yellowfin tuna tartare with shallot and radish salad or charred squid with home cured pancetta make lighter lunchtime options, or indulge with pies, steak or lobster and chips.
Bear Lane Stadhampton nr Oxford
Radley Station 7km
Culham Station 7km
Newington House 1km
Battle of Chalgrove Field 1643 3km
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
This is a venue I have frequented many times over the years as it's only a few miles up the road from me and has played host to weddings of friends, first dates(!) and cosy Sunday lunches. It's good for all 3 and more in my opinion. A less ostentatious version of it's sister venue in Beaconsfield but still a great little place.
Their Thai is very good but my rating today is based on a recent Sunday lunch, which came after a nosy around their on-site fam shop. The Sunday lunch was incredibly good value for money and I've not stopped recommending it since. The usually boring vegetables that can be served with a good roast dinner were lovingly cooked and tasted delicious! They even let me change some of the vegetables for alternatives on their side dishes menu.
The meat is all organic and reared locally (the lamb actually reared on the grounds near the farm shop!) and it's cooked to perfection. The Yorkshire puddings were just huge as well; all in all I actually struggled to finish my meal if I'm honest, I still found room for a desert though of course ;-)
I love this little venue but the only thing I would say its lacking a little of is atmosphere. It's a very small bar and eating areas so without the right cosyness it can feel a little like it's so quiet your conversations can be overheard at the next table!
Great range of drinks available at the bar too, I always indulge in some of their good quality flavoured vodkas when I visit a crazy bear and their cocktails are fantastic and as with all of their venues, the service is very very good.
Food + drink: 3
Comfort – good. Sedate – definitely not. But with “Crazy” in the name would one really expect a calm atmosphere? The quirky, miscellaneous décor is exceedingly busy and music was not background, though in no way did it interfere with our conversation. Having dined in the Thai section previously concluding that it was not good enough to repeat, it was time to visit the English restaurant, enticed in knowing that they now breed their own livestock and fowl.
Being a hotel, food in some form or another is served all day, so there is a lot to read. Even skipping breakfast list and lunch, appetisers will be found, followed by salads or starters and an extensive main course list, making it impossible to take in desserts til later. From a promising start for all four of us, we happily munched on Tuna tartare, an excellent classic French onion soup and equally good chicken liver salad with fabulous bacon pieces from home reared Gloucester’s with super fresh salad and a perfectly poached egg. Two bottles of Douro were excellent. Onwards to two different pies and a mixed grill of pork meats, and this is where discontentment set in. Three different complaints about pies, one having bacon to chicken ratio out of kilter; one with bone and some gristle and then the beef cheek not having been cooked down properly, so though it was soft it was also chewy. Dry pork chop and a cement-like rosti didn’t please one guest, but side orders were cooked correctly and most impressive of all, the tender young broad beans were devoid of skins.
Service, whilst pleasant and attentive enough, distinctly lacked knowledge. Good ingredients were used but sadly the treatment didn’t afford them justice, which is a shame because the prices are definitely City.
I love the Crazy Bear Group – Really really love them, So for my wife's 30th Birthday decided to head up to Oxford to spend the weekend there. It's a shame I can't really write a review about the rooms (which are fab) but thankfully both the English and Thai restaurants give me plenty to write about. We had decided on the English restaurant for a light lunch which I'm happy to say turned into a bit of a heavy lunch. Starters of Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon and Oxfordshire Aberdeen Angus Steak Tartare were a wonderful way to start – both very fresh and tasty. Pork was the order of the day with my wife going for the Old Spot Pork sausage and mash while I went for the Old spot Pork Belly with apple salad and duck egg. Absolutely delicious and huge portions. Dessert was taken care of with strawberry summer trifle – supremely tasty and very refreshing. Service was smooth and subtle – there when you need them but otherwise unobtrusive.
Fast forward 8 hours and it was time for dinner in the Thai restaurant – a beautiful little relaxed lounge type area, very intimate and relaxing. A mixture of snack style starters got us going including duck spring rolls, prawn dumplings and some of the best ribs I've ever had – the meat very tender to the point of dropping off the bone. Mains were soon followed up with Duck breast in Tamarind sauce and the divine slow pot roasted Ox cheek – extremely soft and tender with the roasted garlic and spring onions giving it a lovely zing. Service was excellent especially considering the intimate space the waiters have to work inn.We practically ignored the wine list for both meals opting to go for champagne (Belle Époque 1998) which felt a little pricey but it was after all a special occasion, but the champagne and wine list can easily accommodate all tastes and budgets.
I think the venue as a whole is excellent and perfect for a weekend getaway or a bite if you are in the area, but I would suggest booking ahead rather than leaving it to chance. Another bonus being that if you like the food there, then you can pop over to the farm shop and pick up anything you may need – the only downside to this was having to face the cute little pigs in the farm fields, knowing that their brothers and sisters, although delicious are now in my belly and not so cute anymore.
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