Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Lunch at the Cherwell Boathouse

Yesterday I had 'the Office Christmas Lunch' at the Cherwell Boathouse restaurant in Oxford and did a couple of sketches in my Moleskine of the christmas tree and other diners.

My companion and I used to be managers in the same organisation. At this time of year, we try to get together for a reconvened 'Office Christmas Lunch' if possible. This year, as we were meeting up in Oxford, I was keen to try the Cherwell Boathouse restaurant which I hadn't been to in some 30 years.

The boathouse is situated next to the River Cherwell - which runs through Oxford and has a restaurant, river bar and a punt station in the summer months.

I had vivid memories of coming here with friends who lived in Oxford for the ritual punt up the river on a sunny, warm summer's evening followed by a drink on the terrace and maybe a meal. Yesterday however, we had greyish skies, drizzle and the Cherwell was swollen with rain.

My companion, who is something of a wine connoisseur, was very impressed with the scope of the restaurant's wine list and even more so with the prices. I deferred to his judgement - and I know he'll be pleased to know that several listings agree with him.

On reflection I found the food on the Christmas menu to be disappointing - the overall impression was of small portions and blandness.

I always work on the principle when eating out that I'll try menu items I've never had before - and have had some very pleasant surprises as a result. Yesterday I had two new dishes - the Newbury rabbit pate with grape chutney (one small slice, one small slice of toast and a tiny heap of frisee) and braised pheasant pie with creamed potato - again a very small portion. Both were distinctly unmemorable and rather different from the delicious food I remember from the rather less upmarket boathouse of some 30 years ago. Maybe my palate has aged!

For any future visitors to Oxford, I've included the local listing given by the tourist office for Oxford for restaurants and cafes in Oxford, its link to the reviews for the Cherwell Boathouse and the Oxford Guide - one of the new network of collbaorative and community-edited city guides.

The sketches are done using my sepia ink pen and were initially coloured using my tin of 12 Derwent Coloursoft pencils. However I couldn't get the colours I wanted with these and wished I'd brought my pencil case of 'shorties'. In this instance the colours were given a 'spruce up' when I got home - that's a christmas tree joke!

Update: I've been reminded that today my blog is one year old! It's been a really interesting year learning about lots of new blog techie 'bits and bobs' and made very special by lots of new blogging friendships. Now I've got to go and try and think of a suitable blog anniversary post for tomorrow!

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Laura said...

I remember your lovely summer sketches of boats on the river Cherwell. It's now been almost a year that I've followed your blog and I'm so happy I have. Through spring, summer, fall and winter, it's been a delightful experience.

Katherine said...

Thanks Laura - I've very much enjoyed the last year. And in fact it's just you've prompted me to check - and it's exactly a year - the blog is having its first birthday today!!!

Cin said...

well then, very happy birthday to your blog! I have also delighted in visiting here, your sketchbook pages are especially favorites to see, looking forward to another year!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a year. Jeanne

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