28 Please remember to mention OVL when responding to adverts Food OVL Review W hen I moved to the Ouse valley some years ago, the Fox and Hounds was one of the first on my list to visit. The pub had a good reputation and was renowned for its steaks. We enjoyed many meals there before it began to slip down our list of favourites and gradually our visits became few and far between. Nowadays, if you’re driving along the High Street in Riseley, you’ll notice the 19th century pub looking rather smart, having benefitted from a recent facelift. And the new management, who took over at the beginning of this year, have given The Fox and Hounds some love and attention in other areas too. Keen for us to spread the word, they invited us along to try their new menu. We visited during the recent warm spell and, wanting to make the most of the sunshine, found a lovely spot to sit in the garden among the pretty lavender. Here we sipped chilled white Rioja and nibbled at olives and juicy boquerones with sun-dried tomato and oregano bread. When the evening air acquired a chill, we moved inside to a sunny corner of the restaurant to share a starter of soft black pudding, topped with a rich duck egg and salty, crisp bacon rashers. At the bottom of the dish we discovered a tasty pool of homemade brown sauce which added a welcome fruity tang. The Fox and Hounds’ menu boasts lots of homemade extras and the new team pride themselves on using local produce. It’s good to see that they have also chosen to stay with what made the pub successful in the past. The butcher’s counter has a new look but is still in place, showing off quality meat, and the tradition of cooking the steak on the flame grill in the restaurant continues. My fillet, which was deeply flavoured and tender, came with the most delicious fat chips. Crisp on the outside and so fluffy in the middle, it’s actually worth a visit for the chips alone. The new menu is compact, giving confidence that dishes are freshly prepared, but there is much more than steak and chips to enjoy. We witnessed impressively stacked burgers taken to other tables as well as pan seared sea bass and slow cooked pork belly. Our other main was the steak and Oxford blue pie. Warning: this is not for the faint hearted. We are talking Desperate Dan portions here! But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s worth it. Beautifully crimped, crumbly pastry came chock-a-block with chunky, tender meat. This marvellous centrepiece sat on layers of vibrant green kale to soak up the gravy… and perhaps your sins. We finished by sharing a salted chocolate brownie recommended by Toni, one of the lovely waitresses, who was spot on. I thought I’d struggle to even eat half but the perfect balance of sugar to cocoa and the right amount of salt in the caramel ensured it was neither too sweet nor too rich. The Fox and Hounds gets the balance right in other ways too. Here they have a chef who makes good, hearty pub grub look beautiful and who clearly takes pride in every plate that goes out of the kitchen. There was a steady stream of happy diners throughout the evening, which was good to see mid-week, and I would say it’s worth booking for the busier weekends. The Fox and Hounds is definitely back on the Ouse valley culinary map. It’s just what a good village pub should be: somewhere to chill with wine and nibbles, enjoy a pie and a pint, drop in for a burger with the kids or go the whole hog and dive in to three lip- smacking courses. Fox&Hounds:BackintheRunning