Off to lunch last Sunday week in a blaze of warm spring sunshine to the Lord Nelson dining pub in Brightwell Baldwin, an Oxfordshire village between Watlington and Shillingford. Sounds like a place from a PJ Wodehouse novel or a Noel Coward musical. In fact the village was used as a backdrop in a couple of Midsomer Murder episodes.
This place has been around for some time and was highly recommended in a Sunday Times review some months ago. I booked a table in advance but when we got there the weather was so good we asked for and got a spare table in the garden. The reception was attentive.
From the menu I ordered Thai fishcakes to start, my wife something else off the menu, think it was a mushroom salad, followed by sea bass for the wife and a pan-fried lemon sole for me, with lyonnaise potatoes and an assortment of vegetables. This was all very nice, particularly the golden brown lyonnaise potatoes with onions. I had a peach melba for dessert which was relatively disappointing, followed by a lemon tea.
The pan-fried lemon sole was not on the main menu. I only got to know about it by overhearing the waitress mentioning the specials to another table. After we had finished the meal I also overheard that grilled sardines were available as a starter. I would have preferred that as a starter had I known. I do find overhearing these things in passing quite irritating. I wish we had been advised directly by the waiting staff.
The food was fine on a perfect spring day. The service was let down by irritating lapses, such as not being told of the off menu specials and also being slightly overcharged on the bill, £ 6.95 for the dessert when the menu price was £ 5.95. I pointed this out to them in passing but when I paid by debit card this had not been corrected although the debit card amount was 40p less than the bill for some reason. So I was 60p out but was not going to make myself look silly by complaining about that.
The interior of the pub is all inglenook and quaint charm. Must be quite pleasant to eat inside as well on a cold and wet day.
Afterwards we drove along the back lanes to Dorchester-on-Thames and had a ramble in the sun across the meadows to the Thames .
http://www.lordnelson-inn.co.uk/index.html Click on the video tour.