People who know about food know that many of our trends come from overseas and that in the last decade there was an international trend of gastro pubs, which were especially popular in Britain. Pubs have been the watering houses of travelers for centuries and this could be seen as a reinvention whereby pubs serve better food.
We all know that most South Africans head on down to the pub to watch the rugby or the Formula One. Sadly we missed the big game, but were looking for somewhere for lunch on a Monday. We decided to try the Oxford Arms in Durbanville. And the rugby was on – playing repeats of the Stormers match – the bar was full of locals having a beer and catching up with the other punters. The bar was busy and had a great atmosphere.
Attached to the pub is a dining area where we went through and were seated at a typical wooden pub style table. The walls are painted a deep plum colour, and the pub has a dim atmosphere even in the middle of the day. There were several couples sitting around enjoying a quiet lunch. The Oxford Arms serves typical pub-style food, the kind that hits the spot after a couple of beers. They have the kind of “nibbly” food that you can snack on while enjoying an Amstel or a pint of Guiness, such as crispy chicken strips served in a basket.
As for more hearty fare, the Oxford arms offers great pub classics such as fish and chips, grilled prawns or the prawn and calamari combo. My friend decided to have the hake and chips. As well as the fishy things you have a choice of bangers and mash, pork chops, eisbein or the old fashioned favorite, steak and kidney pie. I decided to try the pub specialty which was a Springbok and Guiness pie.
The pie came, and it was a deconstructed pie. A square puff pastry sheet, topped with a generous helping of deep, richly flavored stew, capped by another square of golden pastry. The meat was tender and delicious. The chips were average, as were the sides of butternut and creamed spinach. My friend’s fish was beautifully cooked in a nice crispy batter, delicately flavored with fish spice. The pub restaurant has a jovial ambiance of locals enjoying a quick bite to eat. When we arrived at about half twelve, it was quiet, but it gradually got busier.
Then we looked down to clean plates, and considered desert. I had noticed one of my favorite desserts on the menu, a great South African favorite – Malva pudding. I’m always in search of a great one. When it came, we were glad we were sharing it as it was a huge piece of sponge, gently steaming. The pudding was not too heavy and delicately flavored. The warmth of the pudding was perfectly offset by the cold ice cream.
The food and company were great, old friends catching up on news and plans. The Oxford Arms is a great place to meet friends, and have a drink, before enjoying a delicious hearty supper while watching the game.
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Address & Contact Details:
The Oxford Arms is situated at 20 Oxford Street in Durbanville, Cape Town.
Telephone: +27 (0)21 976-3522.