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Eat, Sleep, Drink

The Lamb Tavern Buckland Review

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Beef

If you’re looking for somewhere new to eat out and experience some truly exceptional, well-prepared, and tasty food, make The Lamb Tavern your next destination.

The village of Buckland where The Lamb Tavern is situated is made up of pretty stone cottages and can be found just off the A420 – four miles northeast of Faringdon. It is also easily accessible from Kingston Bagpuize, Witney, and Carterton. The tavern is tucked at the back of a row of houses so be careful not to drive too quickly past the signpost.

The 16th-century village tavern, listed in the Doomsday Book, has recently been taken over by Nathan Richardson, formerly Head Chef of the Guinea Grill in London, and Phil White, who is his former boss and supper-club partner from the days when the duo worked at The Ship in Wandsworth.

Although The Lamb Tavern has its origins in an old building, the interior is not what you’d expect. The bar area, with around 80 covers, has large windows letting the light flood in but of an evening are closed off by original window shutters. The 40-cover main restaurant which has had an extension combines elements of the old building with a feature fireplace and old beams, but with a light airy feel. There is a patio and small garden beyond, perfect for enjoying good weather. Well-behaved dogs are welcome to join their owners in the bar area.

When you enter the tavern, Phil’s greeting is warm and welcoming. The ambience of the bar and restaurant area is relaxed and informal, providing the perfect setting to spend a few hours enjoying good food and drink from their well-stocked wine cellar, beer from local breweries White Horse and Loose Cannon and gin from Cotswold Gin. For anyone wanting to hold a special occasion, there is a private dining room available which seats up to 16 people.

Having lovingly restored the tavern back to life after the previous tenants of 15 years chose to leave following the Covid pandemic, Nathan and Phil, are creating something new and magical.

The menu which Nathan has crafted is about taking classic British dishes and ensuring that they are the best that they can be. Meat is supplied from local Faringdon butchers, Pat Thomas whilst vegetables, eggs and fish are all from Oxfordshire suppliers. There is a small kitchen garden where Nathan is planning to grow herbs and a small selection of vegetables to use in his kitchen.

Having worked for many years in London kitchens, Nathan has used his skill and expertise as a chef to cook flavoursome food which leaves the diner looking forward to their next visit. He is a keen baker and serves his own freshly made, mouth-watering bread every day accompanied by butter also made in-house. There are a range of unusual starters including indulgent Poole Bay oysters and devilled lamb’s kidneys on toast. Main course specialities include his old-fashioned suet crust pies filled with succulent beef and bacon. Top quality 28-day dry-aged beef is served with smoked bone marrow toast and parsley salad and calves’ liver is served with bacon dumplings and fried onions. Vegetarians and vegans are not forgotten with interesting dishes such as spiced carrot and apple soup with smoked yoghurt to start and King Oyster mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli salad, confit tomatoes and hazelnut and truffle mayonnaise.

Fish features on the menu too and when I visited, I had the wild sea bass with stewed tomatoes, saffron aioli and pickled fennel. Not only was the dish beautifully presented but the appetising aroma set the taste buds alight and the eating did not disappoint as the sauce left you wanting more. Traditional Battered Hake and Chips is always a popular dish with diners.

The dessert menu offers a range of traditional puddings making the selection difficult and for cheese lovers, there is a good selection of cheeses, each served with its own individual accompaniment.

For visitors just wanting a snack with their drink, the pub snacks are equally interesting and varied. Children are also catered for with a menu specially created to suit young tastes. As one would expect, The Lamb Tavern’s menus are adapted to suit the season and availability of ingredients but one thing is for sure, they will never be disappointing.

Nathan says of his new venture: “Pubs pulsate through my blood. Phil and I are so proud to have re-opened The Lamb Tavern and this kind of elevated gastropub cooking makes me so happy – it’s a fun menu with serious parts to it! We are delighted to be welcoming people from the village and beyond and do hope that people who live in the surrounding area come and see what we have to offer.”

The Lamb Tavern is open Tuesday evenings through to Sunday lunchtimes. Booking for the restaurant is essential.

For further information visit lambtavernbuckland.com.

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