Dined here 0n 14/10/06 for wedding anniversary, and had a lovely meal, beautifully cooked, but let down by shabby service. Had booked the table earlier that day by phone, booked in with the barman on arrival giving our name and sat in the bar. No one came to take our order and had to ask if we could order and was again asked if we had booked and what was the name. French waitress very polite but could not understand her accent when she was informing us of the specials, so stuck with menu for safety! Ordered food and were then left to own devices and asked for a wine list, owner came over with it and again asked if we had booked,what was the name. Asked to go to table and owner said he would put wine on table and then call us(effectively saying no). We began to feel that they had not been expecting us which does not make you feel relaxed or welcomed! with no more drinks we had to go to the bar and order more and again ask if we could go to the table with success this time! At the table we were presented with our main course but had to tell waitress that we had not had our starters! Food finally came and was delicious, top marks to the chef who cooks and presents to perfection. Ordered coffee and although mine was good my wifes was little more than tea coloured water with no taste of coffee at all, sent back and second was perfect. Owner managed to soak a diner whilst opening champagne which whilst funny for fellow diners was probably not very nice for person involved! All in all great food (if expensive £100 for 2 including drinks) but confused and shabby service.
I have to tell you about a wonderful place I have just visited, The Mill House Hotel and Restaurant Station Road Kingham Oxfordshire 01608 658 188 John Parslow and all his staff are on hand to give a warm welcome take my word for it It is divine! Set in a small country village, Kingham which is about eight miles from Stow-on-Wold. It also a picturesque drive from Chipping Norton, another old cotswold market town. Perhaps though, you might not be driving through the area, but going through by train. Kingham is a fair sized station on the Hereford to Oxford line, at this restaurant would make an excellent excuse to break up any journey. I particuarly like the fact that the Hotel, is set in its own good sized and well maintained grounds, there is even a trout stream for those guests who are staying at he hotel to fish in! Being nosey I viewed two of the rooms a standard room, and a superior, even the so called standard was a lovely size and beautifully decorated, but the superior took the biscuit, it was the four poster! The style and romance of the room was delightful, perfect for a quiet weekend away or a weekend full of steamy passion. Back to the restaurant however, it was pretty as a picture, all laid out perfectly, with adequate lighting and good spacing. I am told that if there are conference guests in they use another dining room for them so other guests will ot be overwhelmed. The conference facilities are another feature the hotel boasts. With three meeting rooms in a seperate house with all facilities, it has been used by some top international companies before now, who have even taken the precaution of debugging the whole site, just in case! such was the secrecy of their work. The food is gorgeous, and loving food myself I was in heaven. Steaks, fish, chicken and lamb, were all on the menu the night my friends and I were there. All succulent, and all served with the m
ost beautiful of sauces. Mouthwatering is an expression but we were salivating like pavalov's dogs by the time the food was placed infront of us. You order in the bar before being taken through and seated of course, and the General Manager is on hand all evening as is the restaurant manager to give you advice on the meals, and wine. Afterwards I had passion fruit souffle with homemade passion fruit ice cream. I didn't want that desert to end, a magic bowl that refilled itself would have been most appreciated at that point. If you do go and get a chance stay for an after dinner coffee, the petit fours are gorgeous all handcrafted at the hotel. And I am told you musn't miss out on a speciality whiskey. I don't drink it myself, but a few of my companions were very relieved to see the 'good stuff' was available. If you are staying over make use of the local surroundings, The Plough is the local village pub. Run in style by Mike and Mary, a cosy friendly place with a warm welcome. If there is one thing though it is to take advantage of the country side, walk between Kingham and Churcill on a bridleway that leads you up the old railway line, and then into the heart of the neighbouring village. Have a look at the church in churchill, a replication of the tower at magdalen college oxford, and if you have children the playground on churchill village green is a must. I live six months of the year in Swansea, and six months of the year in Rugby, but this is a place that is never too far to go. I am trying to persuade the other half to have our wedding reception there! Please give it a go and let me know if your experience was as enjoyable as mine.
If you live in or near Witney and haven't yet discovered the Bird in Hand, it's well worth a visit. This country inn may be found by travelling away from Witney to Hailey, continuing through the village and out the other side on the main road, and is situated a few hundred yards further along on the right. The menu on offer here varies regularly, but is always of high quality. We found that even visiting once a month the menu had often changed slightly, so there is probably not much point in recommending specific dishes here. However, in addition to the main menu, there is a blackboard behind the bar detailing the day's specials and fresh fish dishes on offer, so the total selection is always very broad and would cater to most tastes. When we first visited the Bird in Hand, one of the main attractions for me, being a pudding person, was their sweet trolley which would be wheeled to the table, and a mouthwatering array of desserts described in detail and served with lashings of fresh cream as you watched. On more recent visits they have been using a set dessert menu, which I personally feel is a pity but the desserts are still of very good quality. I have dined here for business lunches, romantic evening meals, meals out with family, and a Christmas meal with work, and have never yet been disappointed by the menu, the food, or the excellent and attentive service given by the staff. The Bird in Hand also offers accomodation and has a function room available for parties etc. They may be contacted on 01993 868321.