Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Review - Magdalen Arms

I've been to the Magdalen Arms approximately twice before, once for food and once for wine and chess. The third occasion was on my twenty first birthday. But not for my birthday, you understand. Just so I had something nice to remember for when I'm decrepit and twenty one feels like a world away. Otherwise I'd just remember having my worst exam on that morning and that feeling of watching the clock and thinking 'should I leave? Staying will just make me feel worried about how little I have said/to say. But I can't be the dick who left early twice I JUST CAN'T.' As it turns out my worst exam was actually the day after my twenty first birthday, an occurrence I attribute to the fact that I ate so much food and delicious pastry (and overpriced pistachios and undercooked frozen pizza) that I was too sleepy to work. It'll be fine, quoth the raven. I'll get up at six and work, quoth she. I got up at seven and I worked but apparently one of these 'final exams' needs more than six hours work. Who knew! (Everyone but me. Even I knew but I thought I didn't care until it was much too late.) Still, the fourth of June was lovely. The Magdalen Arms did a 'summer kitchen' and the specials were all barbecued. I had the leg of lamb which came with a colourful plate of salad. The artichoke globe with olive crumb came with the same liberal dose of salad. The burger came with chips and coleslaw. All looked and tasted divine. Look! I didn't even instagram this!
My lamb had a glazed, crisp skin and the slightest hint of pink within. It tasted healthy despite the fat. Excellent. It went really well with all of the salads lying underneath it. Griddled courgette, soft cous cous hiding chunks of cucumber and mint. A tart tomatoey peppery dip of some description and a joyful little pickled yellow thing. Possibly more that I've forgotten too. Wonderfully fresh and light and perfectly balanced. The vegetarians described it as the best and second best things they've found as a vegetarian offering in a restaurant. (The one who deemed it second best said it had only been beaten by St John.) I didn't try any of the burger but it looked excellent and came with caramelised onions and chips. All were gone but the coleslaw. Even that went when I decided to Hoover it up though. Creamy and rich and homemade. The Eton mess made me keep wanting to return for more meringue even though I don't like meringue. The cream and strawberries cut through the sweetness whilst still remaining sweet.

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