The Wild Rabbit restaurant, Oxfordshire

The Cotswolds is an idyllic escape for Londoners in search of fresh air and lush countryside. This upmarket area near Oxford is one of the most popular short break UK destinations for busy city residents and has numerous quaint accommodation options and food establishments to experience. The Wild Rabbit is one of the most desirable places to stay and dine in the Cotswolds, a luxuriously rustic and characterful neighbourhood pub / restaurant with charming bedrooms, all tucked away in the tranquil village of Kingham.

The Wild Rabbit opened in September 2013 after the 1750 building underwent extensive restoration and renovation. The traditional pub has a cosy and welcoming feel, with delightful rabbit related memorabilia and taxidermy decorating the ground floor dining rooms. The nearby twelve bedrooms are individually furnished and designed with the utmost attention to detail, with simple indulgences adding extra comfort.

After an easy drive from London, we settled at a window table for Saturday lunch in the Wild Rabbit dining room, a stylish farmhouse room with modest wooden furniture, exposed brickwork and potted herb plants at each table. Freshly made bread, thinly shaved salami and churned butter arrived to cater to our growing appetites. A raspberry and white peach Bellini was a delightful aperitif.

The menu takes advantage of local produce and is a carefully curated list of British inspired recipes which changes with the seasons. To start I highly recommend the crisp Pig’s head croquette with artichoke and basil vinaigrette, this dense rectangle of tender meat is covered in a salty, crispy layer and served with a fresh colourful salad. Open ravioli of goat’s cheese and confit tomato with grilled vegetable sauce antiboise is a lovely summery vegetarian option, both filling and healthy.

The main course showcases the best British meat on offer, bold brilliant flavours with the highest quality components. My pork tenderloin with toffee apple puree, confit belly, mustard and onions was an exquisite combination of sweet caramel and rich meaty flavours, arranged immaculately on the plate with an addictive pork gravy. Guests can also choose from the Josper Grill steaks, all served with hand-cut chips and salad. Dry aged 12oz sirloin steak on the bone was an impressive hunk of meat, with a lightly charred edge, tender and juicy inside. Paired with the wonderfully thick and yellow Bearnaise sauce and giant chunky chips it was an utterly indulgent treat, of which every mouthful was savoured. If you can fit it in, the buttery mashed potato is unmissable.

The wine list features environmentally friendly wine from small wineries. I tried a delicious rose with my meal. The dessert list featured all my favourite sweet things. The Pistachio soufflé with cherry ice-cream and almond crème Anglaise was beautiful, a bouncy pale green masterpiece collapsing as the hot creamy sauce was poured over it. The soufflé, a notoriously challenging dessert to make was the perfect consistency and tasted absolutely divine. For something richer, chocolate lovers will enjoy the rich mousse with salted caramel ice cream.

The Wild Rabbit is the best kept secret in the Cotswolds, but good news travels fast, so now you’ll have to be patient with the rest of the waiting list for a chance to experience these enchanting rooms and fine food. I can assure you it is worth waiting for.

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