Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim the Travelling GourmetTM
Photos of real food with no photoshop
MANY factors are important for a good meal. Ambience is one,. The Old Parsonage next to St. Giles Church certainly has ambience with its real wood fireplace and cosy restaurant with very low ceilings. Tall blue-grey candles on candlesticks add to the atmosphere of old world elegance. I had a nice meal today. However, the young waiter was too ambitious and tried heroically to serve 3 main courses simultaneously…which led to him spilling the gravy from my Leg of Guinea Fowl Confit on the carpet (luckily not on me or I would have been very cross indeed). To his credit he did try to wipe off the gravy on the side of the plate but did not do so well. Some of it stuck and was smeared on the warm plate. This did not please me. All Chefs and gourmets know that the first thing you eat a dish of food with is your Eye. That is why top Chefs like 3 Michelin Star Chefs whom I have trained under ALWAYS check each dish after plating and wipe off any spot of foil, jus, gravy or whatever prior to serving at table. I did tell the lady manageress in a white blouse and she promptly apologized. Young and not so experienced waiters must be trained and supervised. Apart from that, the rest of the meal was good. The Lemon Sole (bone in) with vibrant & crunchy green Samphire spears (Salicornia europaea or Sea Asparagus) was well done and quite tasty. I would suggest that the bone should be removed before serving. The Fillet Steak Sandwich on brown bread, toasted but not burnt was flavoursome, served with a mixed Green Salad.
A simple dessert of Ice Cream of Vanilla, Strawberry and lemon Sorbet was delightful. It was garnished with a strawberry shaped like a star. Sometimes, simple desserts are best. If you wish to dine here in the ambience that it has now before a major refurbishment, visit soon as I hear that at the end of the year, it is due for a big overhaul. I do hope the essence of the old Parsonage will remain when the renovations are completed. One thing that can be improved is that at present, guests move through the restaurant with their suitcases on the way to their rooms. A route that bypasses the Bar and Dining Room would be a better idea.
Old Parsonage Hotel Restaurant
1 Banbury Road
Tel: 01865 310 210
Ambience 3.5* Cuisine **** Service ***