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The Harcourt Arms

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Stanton Harcourt,
Oxfordshire
OX29 5RJ
Tel: 01865 881931

www.harcourtarms.com
 
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The Harcourt Arms
oxfordshire
 
 
The Harcourt Arms in Stanton Harcourt is a true gem. The grade 2 listed building in which it is housed is rumoured to be haunted, but on the summer day of our visit there wasn't anything spooky about this beautiful, light and impeccably decorated pub and restaurant.

My partner and I arrived a bit early for our reservation and so we decided to order a couple of gin and tonics and sit in the garden behind the pub. The garden is lovely and unassuming, with large tables shaded by umbrellas. It is truly a family place, run by Derek and his wife Jo - there is even a guinea pig hutch out back! The photographs of fun times had there lining the bar, along with the number of customers present, were testament to the fact that the duo are doing something right.

After enjoying our drinks in the sun, we decided it was time to order. As it was a warm day, we decided on a cold starter: the homemade duck and chicken liver pate served with toasted bread. The pate was flavourful and light, nicely paired with a sweet onion chutney. We also chose our wine, an Italian Pinot Grigio that had a hint of floral sweetness and a slight crispness too, making it very refreshing.

It was difficult to choose our mains, as all the dishes on the menu sounded delicious. I finally settled on the pancetta wrapped chicken breast, and Nathan chose the smoked haddock and shrimp linguini. Our server gave us the perfect amount of time between courses, so when we were given our two delightfully presented dishes we were ready. My chicken breast was cooked to succulent perfection and cut on a sort of spiral bias on the bone so I could see the crispiness of the pancetta. It was accompanied by a leafy salad with tomato and boiled egg, and coleslaw. The salad was a great touch on a summer's day, and the coleslaw was so yummy I'd like to get the recipe! Nathan assured me that his linguini was also delicious, with the fish tasting fresh in the creamysauce and the pasta done al dente, just as he likes it.

Although we were very satiated by our meals, the dessert menu proved too tempting and we couldn’t resist splitting a rhubarb and apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. The warm and tart fruits were cooly complemented by the ice cream, a yummy combination.

The Harcourt Arms has gained a reputation for its friendly service, beautiful interior and garden, its selection of ales, and a menu that combines traditional English cooking with an international flair. Its easy distance from Oxford makes it a great escape to the country without the faff. I would certainly recommend it for a dinner, lunch, special function, or relaxing drink.

Reviewed by Kimberly Manning and Nathan Wiles
 
 
 
 
   
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