Two: The Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford


Excellent shadow of my phone in the image. Professional.

The Venue: The Cherwell Boathouse, Bardwell Road, Oxford, OX2 6ST

The Sunday Dinner: Turkey. It’s nearly Christmas.

The price: £23.50 for two courses. Hmmm. Could be worse. Let’s deduct two points on a whim, anyway.

Welcome to review two. I hope you’ve had a pleasant seven days. This week, Mr Jus and I visited the home of Inspector Morse and Lisa Armstrong, who works in the makeup department on Strictly Come Dancing, according to the list of the most popular people born in Oxford on IMDB. I could have chosen Dudley Moore or Martin Amis here, but I don’t think Lisa gets the credit she deserves for her work. Not that I’m at home on Saturday evenings watching the show. No. I’m usually at a dinner party or clubbing, such is my hectic, cool lifestyle and general popularity. 

I caught the train from Birmingham to Oxford to meet Mr Jus. You don’t need to know why I was there. It’s not integral to the story and is frankly none of your business. He was only 45 minutes late, which was fine, because I love sitting at train stations alone in the freezing cold, bored out of my tiny fucking mind.

We’d travelled there to meet his family for dinner, who have no idea that I swear like a docker. I know. I’m amazed at myself. I think I’ve said ‘bloody’ at most.

Proceedings kicked off awkwardly, when I tried to kiss his dad full on the mouth. It was clear that he was only prepared to offer me his cheek, and there was a small kerfuffle. I felt a bit daft and embarrassed, but Mr Jus has been out of action due to his broken ribs and a woman has needs, so I just shrugged it off, sat next to him and gingerly stroked his inner thigh. The last bit is a lie.

Stating the obvious

The Cherwell Boathouse has a prominent riverside position and a slightly annoying menu. I’ve seen worse, of course. On Masterchef last week, someone named the dish they’d prepared. It was called ‘Frustration’ and it certainly boiled my piss something chronic. I might start pretentiously naming dishes I concoct. ‘Totally Inept’, ‘Radioactive Laziness’ and ‘Carcinogenic Risk’ would be fitting.

For my starter I chose:

Pan fried chicken livers, Jerusalem artichoke, pancetta lardons, wild mushrooms

For my main I decided upon:

Oven roasted turkey medallion, chestnut stuffing, bacon Brussel sprouts, carrot puree.

I would never have guessed they’d fry the livers in a pan, you know. I was thinking they might use a shoe, so the clarification helped. And what’s that? You roasted the turkey in an oven? Fuck me, there’s a first. I know I sound terribly sarcastic and foul-mouthed, but it’s all a front. I’m nice underneath. For example, I was would never eat battery-farmed mushrooms, so I was relieved to learn they were wild. Foraged too, one would imagine. Not merely picked. Five points removed.

Taking the piss

I always try to block out the fact that the liver purifies urine as a job. I think. I took GCSE Modular Science, because it was the easy option, so my in-depth scientific knowledge is somewhat sketchy, but those piss-sodden (or not) little guys were DELICIOUS. They came in a rich sauce, and Mr Jus didn’t want to steal any, because he is frightened by things like livers, kidneys and vaginas, so I was DELIGHTED that I could enjoy the full portion.

It raised my gravy expectations for the main and I was so DELIRIOUS that I forgot to take a photo. My thirty Instagram followers will be sorely disappointed. I’m sorry if you’re one of them.

So let’s move on to the main. You may recall that I always request extra gravy, which is usually no big deal. Today was an exception. You’d have thought I’d asked for the virginity of the proprietor’s son, based on his reaction. I even found myself apologising. Mr Jus’ parents looked bemused, yet disappointed that their son had not chosen someone from within their social class (“upper-middle”, apparently).

The medallion of turkey was more of a Trivial Pursuit style wedge. It was ok. But didn’t come with any skin. And I always want a bit of skin, because it’s so low in fat. I like it crisp and not flobbery, which is a word.

The sprouts had been DECONSTRUCTED and fried. With bacon. In a pan. They were great. I like a sprout. People who don’t enjoy them are, in my humble opinion, immature. Same with people who can’t handle anything stronger in the world of cheese than mild cheddar. They need to grow up. It’s pathetic.

The roast potatoes were ok, I guess. All two of them. That’s right. Two. Lose two points, Chef Spud Scrooge. The carrot puree was, well, liquidised carrot. Saved me the hassle of chewing, I suppose. Nothing to get wet over.

And finally, the gravy, ladies and gentlemen. Utter bollocks. Scroll back up and look at it. You can see the plate through it. The stuff’s transparent. I have nothing more to add here. It’s actually made me feel quite angry again. Eight points deducted.

I’ll give the place a point back for having crackers.  It made it a bit festive. They all contained those red fish which change shape when you place in the palm of your hand, which are supposed to be indicative of your mood or personality. Mine came out as ‘acutely anxious, bitter and over-bleached’ and, according to the little chart, Mr Jus was ‘still annoying people by being indecisive, weird and snobby about the new bathroom’.

Final score: 16/33. A two point improvement on last week. Refined and by a river, but remiss in terms of gravy quality.


7 thoughts on “Two: The Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford

  1. Very good. I chuckled at least three times and you had me nodding vigorously when you started ranting about people who balk at strong flavours needing to ‘grow up’.
    I regularly have burned garlic and anchovy fired under my tongue with an air cannon.
    Obviously i don’t but look, your creativity and fun with words has inspired my comment.

    A.A. Gill is dead.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Exactly. You don’t have a load of urine in your system that the liver purifies so you can piss water. But I take your point. You’re put off by the fact they get up close and personal with piss and that’s why I can’t eat them. Or vaginas.

    Liked by 2 people

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