The perfect Perch
I love this pub. A total Muddy box-ticker, The Perch in Binsey Lane has it all. Family-friendly with a lovely garden. Newly developed terrace for grown-up eating. Cosy feeling inside for gastropubbing with friends or having a quiet drink in front of the fire. A lovely walk on the doorstep, but parking outside if you can’t be bothered to walk across Port Meadow. Dog-friendly too.
I could stop here but, no, I’m still gushing…. I also need to add that since the pub was taken over last year and reopened in the Spring, the food is far superior – less fussy, more local-friendly, lots of easy-eating options without going down market.
There’s been a pub on the site for 800 years, with this thatched building dating from the 17th century. Inspector Morse drank here regularly, but I’m betting he’d be acidic about its upbeat 21st century upgrade. Well, wet raspberries to Morse, Muddy readers will love it.
Here’s the garden for starters. A fab little spot on a sunny day and on weekends you can sit outside with your animals/children and just grab a burger and pint from the outside bar if you want to keep it casual.
The interior, by contrast, is cosy, tasteful, lots of stone and wood, with a large Chesterfield sofa and attractive log fire.
The bar has moved to the centre of the room and created a more formal eating area to the back of the pub, and an eating/slouching area around the fire.
I ate in the more informal bit (in the corner table next to the fire, above), and went for the moules frites – just love em and I never find that many restaurants that put it on the menu. It was soooooooo good, I ended up souping up all the creamy white wine sauce. Nothing remained except a distended Muddy belly.
I followed it up with a beautifully presented cheesecake – unusual flavours with the orange, but delicious.
If you’re thinking none of this sounds particularly kid friendly, relax ye mothers with picky children (er, like me) – there’s a kids menu with the usual suspects of battered fish and chips etc, though if your children are cordon bleu eaters they’ll also appreciate the more ambitious mushroom burgers and crispy-fried buttermilk chicken. It’s £7.95 for mains and dessert which is pretty handy too. There is also a hyper-organised selection of drawing pads and crayons with which to occupy little minds while the food is coming out.
For those looking for a walk before or after eating, close to The Perch is the pick-your-own Medley Manor Farm – just a 5 minute walk – if you want to take the kids, or just head towards the river, a 2 minute walk this time and you’ll see cows grazing in the water, and the most amazing views out along Port Meadow.
A 20 minute walk to the right will take you into the lovely Jericho area of central Oxford, or turn left to reach Godstow Lock and the remains of Oxford Abbey. Either way, it’s a big Muddy thumbs up for The Perch. Come rain or shine, it’s worthy of your attention.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: families, walkers, beer guzzlers, gastropubbers, dog-lovers. Everyone basically.
Not for: It’s tough to see who wouldn’t be charmed in some way by this place. Maybe if you’re aching for something incredibly quirky and eccentric it may fall short but I’m being picky.
£££: Reasonable. £13ish for most mains (plus another £3.50 for sides), £6ish for desserts. £7.95 for two courses for kids.
The Perch Inn, Binsey, Oxford, OX2 0NG. Tel: 01865 728891. the-perch.co.uk