Soho House’s slick reinvention of the American roadside diner is hot stuff in Oxfordshire – even for those not stopping off for petrol and a comfort break en route to Soho Farmhouse in the north of the county.
Inside is pure Americana – but seriously smart. Deep, blue-leather booth banquets, glossy wood paneling, check-tiled floors and a sprawling open kitchen fronted by puffy counter-side stools would look more at home on Route 66 than the A420.
Burgers naturally get star billing, from the Dirty Double’s maple-glazed bacon to the Pure F!lth’s black sesame bun, garlic aioli and beetroot ketchup – both towering creations worthy of anyone’s Insta feed. Indulgence, though, isn’t a pre-requisite and there are plenty of lighter options including flat iron chicken with grilled broccoli, salmon fillet with sweetcorn and avocado or grilled aubergine with quinoa, rocket, tahini and chilli.
Ingredients, meanwhile, are to-notch. The meat comes from Pat Thomas butchers in nearby Farringdon with quality obvious in free-range rotisserie chickens and char-grilled ribeye steaks.
With a 79-bedroom motel sporting luxury Egyptian cotton sheets and oodles of Soho House’s Cowshed products next door, breakfast is also a star attraction. Think waffles with bacon and maple, granola and coconut yogurt, an avocado and egg bap, eggs on toast how you like them or the obligatory full English.
There’s a short, familiar cocktail list and a few well-chosen wines, though thick, silky signature shakes, served in a shining, steel mixing glasses, will have many diners offering to take over driving duties. Service is smiley and mostly high-speed, or there’s drive-through for the time-poor.