I love heading over to Leamington Spa for the day. It has a perfect mix of independent shops, cafés and restaurants as well as well as a lovely park to wander around and some culture, such as the Royal Pump Rooms. On our most recent visit we combined it with an invite to dine at Oscars Bistro, which is right in the town centre. We’re no stranger to Oscars, a lovely french style bistro as we visited it about a year ago and adored it, so we were keen to go back for hearty lunch in between hitting the shops.
Like previously, we were welcomed warmly and throughout the meal the staff couldn’t do enough for you. The place seemed full of regulars, who knew the staff by name and the staff the same in return, which sings it praises very highly indeed in my book.
I love the interior of the restaurant, its almost like being welcomed into the home of a French friend – cosy, warm and full of traditional french bits and pieces; from the artwork on the walls to the crate of lavender in the ladies loos.
We started with a glass of champagne (why not!) and then Lee followed this with a glass of merlot from the extensive list of French wines which were reasonably priced to suit most budgets.
Whilst looking through their lunch menu, priced at £12.50, £16.50 and £19.50 for 1,2, or 3 courses respectively we munched on some traditional french baguette. Not the most exciting of breads but when served warm and crusty you can’t get much more satisfying.
For starters we chose the Chicken Liver Pate with Melba Toast and the Asparagus Salad with Radishes, Quails Eggs and Chervil. Lee said of his salad, which included white and green asparagus, that it showed off the ingredients to a high level. You could taste each ingredient individually without anything overpowering them or each other. A lovely spring dish in his opinion. I also really liked my paté; the texture and flavour was very good and it had been well seasoned. We both really appreiciated the freshness of ingredients and the dishes both sang with ‘homemade’.
For my main course I chose the Roasted Cod Fillet with Tomato, Mash and a Shellfish Bisque. My cod was perfectly cooked with a beautiful salty crispy skin. The mash was silly and smooth, and again generously seasoned and the bisque had a great depth of flavour without being too heavy. Lee went for a Beef Bourguignon with Creamed Mash. Not exactly a light lunch dish, but he loved it! The meat fell apart, so much so that he didn’t even pick up his knife throughout. Again, seasoning was perfect and the rich deep flavours were shining through.
Other options included Cumin encrusted Aubergine Steak or Moules Marinieres, the latter of which smelled divine and was flying out the kitchen.
We didn’t really need a pud, but were drawn in by the sound of the Vanilla Panacotta with Rhubarb Compote, which we shared. The panacotta had that lovely telltale wobble, and tasted delicious. The compote was a nice flavour but with some minor faults; we felt it could have been a bit less runny and was a tiny bit too sharp.
The food at Oscar’s is unashamedly traditional and an ‘authentic reflection’ of simple French dishes. Go expecting hearty rustic bistro style dishes, fantastic flavours and friendly service and I doubt you will be disappointed.
And as a little added incentive Oscars is offering a free glass of French house wine to accompany their meal with the daytime menu this May and June!
Disclosure: On this occasion, the food & drink was complimentary, but if you’re in any doubt that the opinions are honest check out our first review of the place in which we also rave about the food!