Review: French brasserie meets British pub classics in Thame

The Black Horse in Thame
The Black Horse in Thame

The Black Horse in Thame is a bit like entering Dr Who’s tardis. You enter what appears to be a fairly ordinary 16th century pub then wander into a gloriously sunny garden room before moving into the original coach house, which has been given a new lease of life, transformed into an impressive dining room with striking metal chandeliers strung between original beams and with real linen napkins on the tables. This sets the scene for an extremely pleasing dining experience, for the food served here is simply divine.

This pub brasserie, run by The White Brasserie Company, has been lovingly restored and opened at 11 Cornmarket just before Christmas. Judging by the full tables during my visit, word has already got around about the quality of the setting, service and food.

The Garden Room

The Garden Room

It’s not cheap. Starters are around £7/8, mains are from £12.50 through to £24.90, side orders cost extra, and puddings are about £7. But there is also a set menu on weekdays until 5pm, two courses in March cost £11.95, with the option to add a third for £3.50.

Serving dishes influenced by British pub classics and French brasserie favourites the full menu offers handmade weekly pie specials plus such delights as Malabar fish curry with toasted coconut, creative vegetarian dishes such as pumpkin ravioli or black truffle and wild mushroom risotto and a children’s Henri le Worm menu to tickle tiny taste buds, whilst older children can order half price half portions from the main menu.

During my visit I enjoyed a very flavour some French onion soup with Gruyere cheese croutons (£6.95) followed by an utterly delectable 22 hour slow cooked shoulder and leg of roast suckling pig that was so soft it cut like butter (£19.50). This was followed by three scoops of Jude’s ice cream (£5.25).

To fully enjoy summer evenings there is a paved courtyard space out the back, where there is also a small car park. But in Thame there is plenty of free car parking in the centre of town anyway.

Two of the mains available - duck leg confit and slow cooked shoulder and leg of roast suckling pig

Two of the mains available - duck leg confit and slow cooked shoulder and leg of roast suckling pig

I would suggest, due to its popularity that booking is advisable at any time. Telephone 01844 219050.

Check out the website for more details, www.theblackhorsethame.com