Restaurant Review – The Duck on the Pond

This month we are again reviewing a local gastro pub with new owners, namely Gordon and Penny Waddell, who 6 months ago acquired the Duck on the Pond at South Newington.

And before you ask, yes there is a pond there and it does have a resident duck on it or to be precise two of them, an Aylesbury and a Muscovy, who are joined from time to time by wild ducks in transit.

Gordon and Penny relocated to the area after successfully running a hotel in Scotland for the past 15 years, so these folks really understand hospitality and customer satisfaction which is at the core of everything they do. They aim to make the pub a vibrant local hub for the village and surrounding areas

We arrived on a wet but mild February evening and were immediately cheered up by the bright modern décor, the cosy ambience enhanced by the glowing log burners and the warm welcome by Gordon and Carla our waitress. The pub has a stone exterior which has been exposed internally in places and this plus the beams gives it a pleasing character. There is a large carpark and outdoor eating area overlooking the pond.

After a beer at the well stocked bar we moved to our table and were delighted by the very comprehensive menu.

A fresh new menu has been introduced comprising so many items, which took our fancy, that we had difficulty choosing. Finally, after taking soundings from Carla and Mark Horton the chef we decided.
We had 3 starters…

Bubble & squeak, Stornoway black pudding, Parma ham, poached egg & Hollandaise Source. This was a delightful surprise just oozing flavour and beautifully presented.
The Thai crab cakes with mango salsa were exotic, and the Thai salad, crispy noodles & sweet chilli dressing with crispy chilli beef was just spicy enough and were part of a number of lovely Asian style options on the menu.

For mains we chose…

Pork belly roulade, crackling, mash. Apple puree, vegetables & gravy.

The pork was excellent and locally sourced and the crackling the best I have tasted in many a year. Often pork belly is very fatty if done as a slab but the roulade style avoided this.

Brochette – monkfish & king prawn skewers, sweet potato fries & salad. This again had an Asian influence and the sweet potato fries were brilliant.

Venison haunch steak with potato fondant, jus, parsnip & pear puree, red cabbage, caramelised shallot & kale. This was possibly the star of the show, beautifully presented and the wonderful tender taste evidenced that it was locally sourced.

Our 3 puddings were…

Chestnut mouse blood orange segments & puff pastry Mille-Feuille with pistachio ice cream.

Cheese board with crackers, fig chutney & apple
(Leonard Stanley Cheddar, Cotswold blue-veined organic Brie, Oxford Isis – mead washed rind soft cheese)

Affogato – Single scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of expresso.

All of the puddings were exceptional and again demonstrated a flair for working with quality ingredients.

It’s no wonder that Gordon and Penny have been warmly welcomed into the community. Their food is truly marvellous and the Chef Mark Horton has a real flair for showcasing the fine local ingredients.

The extensive wine list shows at a glance that Gordon appreciates his wine.

The bar is very friendly and as well as having a large selection of spirits plus draft lager, cider and well kept real ales on tap there is also a wide range of non-alcoholic offerings and hot drinks outlined on a special “Drivers Drinks” list. As gin is very fashionable anyone wishing to indulge will have plenty of choice even in a number of the non-alcoholic varieties.

This is a great place for that quiet intimate meal, a casual lunch or for a meal out with friends or that special occasion. So even pop in for a drink. You will not be disappointed and be welcomed.

If you wish to get in for Mother’s Day make sure you book soon.

The Duck on the Pond
Main St, South Newington OX15 4JE
01295 721166

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