My wife and I recently visited Burford for the first time, for a long weekend. We decided to try the local restaurants and booked two meals in the village during our stay, the first at the Royal Oak (fantastic!!!) and the second at the Angel (very disappointing!!!).
For those of you who have not visited the area, the two pubs are located on the same street and are mere feet apart geographically, but the two are hundreds of miles apart in terms of quality!!
Hats off to the Oak here – lovely landlord, polite, friendly and with a good sense of humour. Far more welcoming than the Angel, who seemed much more reserved in comparison. A couple of young waiting staff working hard in the Angel but could have done with more staff on and some better leadership it would seem?!
No comparison – the Angel seem to have put too much emphasis on how the dishes look, rather than portion size and satisfying the appetite of the customer (and I am only a slight man for my age!) My wife and I left the meal at the Angel feeling hungry and short changed for the price we paid, but we couldn't have asked for more at the Oak - fantastic food. The portions at the Royal Oak are generous and have a real wholesome, ‘home-cooked food’ feel to them but whilst somehow (impressively) delivering cracking presentation too, to give the overall dish that ‘modern cuisine’ feel.
The beer at the Angel was well kept – but just the one ale on hand pull?! What’s that all about? Contrast that with the Oak where there were 3-4 well kept (cheaper!) beers that were just as nice, with a range of beers to suit all tastes.
The Angel was trying to be up market we feel, but without the solid foundations to required! It had a nice fireplace and exposed woodwork/beams but the place was quiet (no music?!), dimly lit and the staff were not too welcoming. It felt quite cliquey too? Contrast that with the Oak (better lighting for a start, my wife and I could see one other in the bar area!) which had more people (always a good sign!) and welcoming bar staff (we believe we were served by the owner and his wife) who both had a good sense of humour. Then to top the night off, it ended with live, local music (fantastic and much better than the lack of music down the road at the Angel!!).
The Angel is not good value for money – the food may be locally sourced, but you just don’t get enough on your plate for what you pay!! Our views above re. quality of food say everything we need to say about the Oak in comparison!!!
The Angel just haven’t got it right when it comes to British country pub/restaurant dining – The Oak on the other hand are doing a very good job of what they do, go to the Royal Oak instead!!
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