Winter warmer

AS we stare down a financial apocalypse, most of us will be looking for good value when eating out.

I spotted some great mid-week deals at The Oxford Hotel, so I decided to take the family up to Leederville for a Tuesday night feed.

The Oxford had an al carte menu with a decent range of pizzas, mains, burgers and salads.

There was nothing earth shattering on there, but it had all the old favourites like chicken parmi and fish and chips.

I decided to get the beef Madras curry from the winter warmers menu (all dishes $19.50) and my wife ordered the lamb shanks. The menu changes every week and includes desserts.

The main dining area was minimalist, almost utilitarian, with basic wooden chairs and tables with not much on them. It wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Bauhaus exhibition.

A few small design touches could make the area seem more inviting, matching the grandeur of the heritage-listed 1906 hotel.

Thankfully the food more than compensated for the ascetic furniture. My beef madras was fantastic: there wasn’t a hint of fat on the gorgeously tender beer and the thick sauce had a lovely peppery kick. 

The freshly-made poppadoms were diaphanous and crunchy, with a pleasant trace of oil on the crater-like surface (perfect for scooping up the boiled rice and dark viscous sauce). Delicious.

The dining area was soon filling up with an eclectic mix of seniors, families and young couples, so this was clearly a popular spot for locals during the week.

Unfortunately the acoustics from the wooden floors and high ceilings created a shrill din, and those seeking a more intimate meal should dine in the annex or the beer garden, which had lots of foliage and a massive roof to keep you dry.

Pizzas were only $9.50 on Monday and Tuesday nights, so the kids got a ham and cheese each.

They were quiet as Benedictine monks as they munched away. I tried a slice and can verify the base was lovely and light and tasted like it had been freshly made. They didn’t skip on the ham, and the thick coarse chunks reminded me of a gammon steak.

My wife’s lamb shank was humongous and looked so good I almost had a Proustian flashback to my gran’s house in the 1970s. The lovely tender meat was falling off the bone.

“The sauce is to die for and the seasonal vegetables and mash potatoes are all cooked to perfection.”

The service was fast and efficient throughout the night, and the busy waitress asked if me wanted our excess pizza bagged-up to take home. The Oxford’s winter warmers menu is great value and they also do $8 burgers and fish and chips on Thursday, and a pasta or parmi for $15 on Monday. In my book, an authentic pub meal should be tasty, filling and great value. 

The Oxford Hotel met all those conditions and excelled on the taste and portions front – it was a delicious pub meal.

The Oxford Hotel
368 Oxford Street, Leederville

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