The Fox Hotel
The problem with high expectations is that reality usually doesn’t live up to them. Friends of ours live near The Fox and have raved about it being their favourite pub on a number of occasions, so it was on my list to try.
It was sort of a muddle of a Saturday, we got caught up doing housework, so when we finally made it out of our pyjamas and emerged for brunch it was 3pm. No mater, assuming anywhere who is anywhere does all day breakfast, we set of for Three Bags Full. We were absolutely starving, I was a little worried Mr J might faint. We got Finn out of the car only to find he needed a change, which we did awkwardly in the car (all the while getting more and more hungry). By the time we made it inside we were ready to devour everything in site. Unfortunately for us, the kitchen was closed. You can only imagine the despondence as we trudged out, bellies empty and began the rigmarole of getting Finn in the car all over again. We thought of a couple of other brunch places but as it was nearing 4pm (that weird in between meal time of day) we didn’t like our chances and couldn’t stomach any more disappointment. By now we just needed food, any food. I had a brainwave, what about an always open for food pub? So we headed to The Fox and hallelujah they were serving.
Not only were they open for food but a little high chair was all set up and ready to go in the slightly dark and dingy but artfully decorated dining area. Finn got set up and looked right at home, anyone would think he was a regular the way he got comfy slouching in his chair, I almost expected him to ask me to grab him a beer. It turned out much to the waitresses embarrassment that we had stolen someone else’s high-chair (the only one) that they had reserved especially before arriving, so he was quickly re-delegated to my lap.
The menus arrived and I’m surprised we didn’t eat them at this point. The list was extensive with a whole page of vegetarian options. I was so hungry I settled on a burger and fries, none of this ‘gastro’ pub nonsense for me I wanted a true pub meal. What is with ‘gastro’ being the name for fancy pubs anyway, as Mr J pointed out it sounds more like a pub you would want to avoid. Beloved was almost to the point of eating the coaster by this point (if you watch Black Books you will have a good visual of what this looks like) but when he saw there was pork belly on the menu a little colour returned to his cheeks.
The Fox made their burger sound very fancy pancy and ‘gastro’ pub esk with beetroot relish, spinach, chutney etc. However, as I eagerly bit in I was disappointed despite my ferocious hunger. The patty was huge (too big to balance the other ingredients) and the meat was poorly seasoned. The salad was scarce and the bun was stale. All in all I wish we’d chosen a local Fish n Chip shop as they probably could have done a better burger. It baffles me the amount of places that can’t.
Mr J faired slightly better with his choice. The pork belly was crisp and tasty but the overall dish was too rich with little to counteract the fattiness of the pork. Beloved was excited about the scallops advertised on the menu but when it arrived there were only two tiny morsels. One of the many things I love about Mr J is that even if he only has a very small amount of his favourite foods, he will always offer me first bite and often gives away more than he eats, a truly generous heart. So I can testify that the scallops were delicious and buttery and scrumptious but I would expect a few more. The jus was tasty but very stock heavy and again too rich for the dish.
The Fox’s (one) high-chair does make it kid-friendly-ish and I did notice a couple of families. In terms of a quiet drink with kids in tow and a bit of pub grub The Fox doesn’t do too badly. The atmosphere is nice in the dining area with attractive lamps and funky pictures. The bar is separated from the dining area, which allows a certain amount of distance from rowdier drinkers and there are a number of quieter rooms out the back. We were seated near the live music (guitar and female vocalist) which was quite nice. In terms of ‘gastro’ pub food it wouldn’t be my first choice but hey maybe we were just unlucky, I have heard great things. Certainly a good spot if you have a vegetarian in tow as the veggie menu is impressive.
‘Gastro’ pub or traditional pub meals? Which do you prefer? And do you have a favourite local?