Saturday, 21 May 2022

Gastro pub uses the best of local produce

THE Fat Fox Inn is set in the market town of Watlington surrounded by the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. Owner John

THE Fat Fox Inn is set in the market town of Watlington surrounded by the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. Owner John Riddell states that his pub offers a seasonal menu which changes daily. They use locally sourced meat and vegetables and strive to deliver excellent, quality food in a warm, friendly environment. With the days getting shorter and nights drawing in the change of season triggers a desire for hearty, comforting food. Throw an inglenook fireplace, an eccentrically decorated dining room and the Chiltern Hills into the mix and you’ve got yourself the perfect autumnal gastro pub setting.

John invited me and my partner to the Fat Fox last week. There were some tempting choices on head chef Stewart Lennox’s menu. To start, I chose the Pozu yellow fin tuna steak. The meat was melt-in-the-mouth with a soy, sweet mirin and citrus dressing served with a tomato salad and delicate leaves. It was a superb light starter, and satisfied my love for fusion ingredients.

My partner chose the Fat Fox Scotch egg, made using Cumberland sausage meat from Britwell Farm. The peppered pork complemented the egg beautifully, with a golden crunchy breadcrumb case. The egg was cooked to perfection, with a lovely runny yolk and the spiced chutney added a mellow, fruity tang.

I would usually decline any food containing offal but I decided to throw caution to the wind and try the faggots and mash for my main dish. I was delighted with my choice. The faggots were two generous meat balls served with a creamy mash, white carrots and gravy. The meat was caramelised on the outside with a coarse and succulent middle. The flavour packed a punch of well seasoned pork and offal which offered a peppery heat. For those who love sausages and mash and fancy something slightly more experimental then this is the dish for you.

My partner chose the pork belly, pan fried skate and carrot purée. Already a huge fan of pork belly but a little wary of fish, my partner loved the surf and turf combination. The local pork belly, from Britwell Farm, had a smoky flavour and was cooked perfectly. It was crispy both sides and the tender skate along with the sweet carrot purée balanced the flavours and textures.

A quintessentially English cheese selection with chutney and home-made oatcakes was my partner’s choice of pudding while I opted for bay pannacotta with Rectory Farm raspberries. This was unlike anything I’ve tasted before. Head chef Stewart did run the recipe by me and I am now kicking myself I didn’t write it down. The pannacotta teamed with the mellow, fragrant bay flavour was divine. The sweet cream had a perfect wobble and teamed well with the tart berries.

If you are looking for somewhere local to eat with an innovative menu and first-class service then a trip to the Fat Fox is in order. To book a table call (01491) 613040 or visit www.

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