We've just had a second trip to the Old Pottery restaurant in the the House of Marbles and, like last time, we were delighted with our experience.
THE VENUE: At a glance, the Old Pottery looks like any classic, English tea room with two dining rooms; the old pottery room and a, newer, conservatory; both are very pleasant places to sit with a nice, warm atmosphere. If you have children, they'll probably find the jungle animal display above the kitchen very exciting; if you're an adult group, you'll probably find it quite amusing and, once your food arrives, your eyes won't spend much time away from the delicious food on your plate. The portions are ALL very generous and there is no dish on the menu over £10, so it's all of exceptional value!
THE FOOD: When you dip into the Old Pottery menu, you realise this isn't just a normal tea room serving over-pricing toasted tea cakes, beans on toast and jacket potatoes. instead you find imaginative light dishes like Arancini and salad; sandwiches and paninis with interesting fillings like brie, apple and red onion chutney; mains like homemade falafel and bean burger, with humus; desserts like banana and white chocolate bread & butter pudding served with vanilla ice cream. The Children's menu is also thoughtful and full of hearty options, which deviate from the norms of sausages/fish fingers and chips; our boys had toad-in-the-hole, which was served with mini yorkshire, a whole sausage, gravy and peas.
THE SERVICE: When we arrived at the restaurant we were politely told by the front of house that there was a 20 minute wait, but we could leave our name and they would seat us upon our return; this was no problem as we ventured around to the shop, which we spent our 20 minutes in easily. Upon our return, we were seated within 2 minutes. The waiting staff were excellent; smiling, helpful, accommodating and very switched on. Our two boys (3 & 4) were given children's activity menus with a pencil case full of colouring pencils and the waitress spoke directly to them, which made them feel very grown up; it's a little thing, but really makes for a different experience for them. Having boys of ages 3 & 4, the portion size we need is rather awkward; they're too big to share a children's portion, but too small to have one each! This was no issue for the waitress, who popped off to the kitchen and came back with an option to split the chips & peas between two plate and then for an extra £1.75 we could have an extra yorkshire and sausage (the full dish was £4.75).
THE VERDICT: I love it when you get that sought-after experience of an interesting menu, delicious food and a real can-do, positive attitude from all the staff; I wish more places were like this AND I wish the Old Pottery was nearer to home in Oxfordshire, as I'd visit all the time! :)
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