Moreish Eats at Mollie's Diner...
Just down the road from OX’s offices near Faringdon is Mollie’s, the hotel and diner designed by Soho House which takes all our fantasies of Americana and serves them up with a side order of mid-century modern and an ice-cold coke.
Launched in 2019 just outside Buckland, Mollie’s is still a slightly surprising but welcome sight as you whizz up the A420. The contemporary, stylish take on the American pitstop also has an outpost near the Cribbs Causeway (Bristol) and will be opening a city centre branch near the Granada Studios in Manchester later this year.
We were invited to review the new menu offerings for Spring. New Head of Food, Kate Brooke -Green, has been tasked with extending the range of popular classics available and so, putting our Out Of Office notifications on, the editorial team at OX sauntered off down the road.
First impressions on walking in were good. The high-ceilinged dining hall is bright and buzzy. A good mix of leather booths (for that diner touch) and comfortable, well-spaced tables and chairs. There’s a big open kitchen area and a good amount of friendly staff on hand to help. Mollie’s certainly straddles a fine line between service station and destination eating, and this is reflected in the clientele, most of whom looked like this was somewhere they’d chosen to visit rather than happened upon, en-route to somewhere else.
The menu is pretty extensive, and filled with crowd-pleasers. We started with a couple of choices from the Nibbles section. First up, Frickles. Deep fried slices of gherkin, served with a creamy dip. Ok, you’ve either stopped reading or – like us – are curious to learn more. One bite and we were unsure – great or ghastly? Readers, we cleared that plate. They were utterly bonkers, completely moreish, so wrong they were 100% right. One we all agreed we would reorder time and again. The same was true for the Jalapeno Cheese puffs served with a rich salsa. Liquid cheese with a crunch of pepper, deep fried and dusted with parmesan? Yes please.
Next up, it had to be a classic burger – oozing with cheese, sauce, pickles and more, with a new double bacon version on offer for 2023. Chicken Tenders, were marinated in buttermilk and perfectly crisped. These come with a choice of sauces and we went with a very piquant, smoky pineapple BBQ sauce. We also managed to squeeze in the Mollie’s Fried Cod Sandwich – essentially the poshest fish finger sandwich you’re ever likely to eat, serve up in a glossy brioche bun.
What people reading this may not appreciate is the pure selflessness that goes into writing food reviews. We weren’t there for ourselves, and so whilst normally a weekday lunch is a sandwich at the desk followed by a piece of fruit – a melon cup if someone’s feeling fancy – on this occasion we took one for the team and ordered pud, and boy was it worth the sacrifice! The Banoffee Pie is a froth of Italian meringue on a deliciously short crust, with a layer of banana-toffee deliciousness sandwiched in between. We skipped coffee and opted instead for the Chocolate Espresso Soft Serve – chunks of chocolate brownie, smothered in Mr Whippy style ice cream over which you pour a shot of Mollie’s house blend coffee. Decadent and delightful.
Happily, that shot of caffeine ensured any post-lunch slump was luckily averted.