We had a few days off around Easter and so we decided to go out for dinner somewhere we'd not been before. I'd heard that The Fox in Fair Oak had a good chef - their website boasts that he is 2 rosette standard.
The menu seemed quite limited and Ian wasn't sure what to choose, but we finally came to a decision - Ian chose the layered smoked salmon, crayfish, crab & smoked trout terrine and I went for the Goats Cheese & celeriac mousse with red pepper coulis.
Ian's starter was nicely presented and seemed well packed with all the layers and he didn't leave any of the terrine itself (the blob of white stuff which we believe to be creme fraiche remained on the plate though). I don't like smoked salmon but I had a bit of the middle, although Ian had already drenched it in lemon and I'm not keen on that so not sure what I thought of it!
My starter was a bit of an adventurous choice for me as I wasn't sure if I liked celeraic so I figured this was one way to find out. I was expecting it to be mixed in with the goats cheese to make the mousse, but as you can see it was just chunks of it. I did try several pieces because it's not a very strong taste and I couldn't quite work out what I thought of it, but I did end up picking it all out. I'm not sure I'd go as far as saying it's a mousse though, as it was quite solid - I expect mousses to be more bubbly and light really.
For mains, I was a little worried about going for a cassoulet after the quality of the last one I had, but I figured I'd give it another go. Cassoulet of confit duck, black pudding, pearl barley, carrots and thyme seemed an interesting combo, and I like pearl barley so thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunately, I was again disappointed - by the fact that there were no beans in the cassoulet (and I'm pretty sure that is a required ingredient), by the dryness of the duck, and by the woodiness of the thyme stalks in amongst the pearl barley. The black pudding was tasty though, but it all got pretty samey after a couple of mouthfuls, and it was hard work really.
Ian went for a safe choice of scampi and chips, and there was plenty of it so he was pleased by that. I'm not sure how you can get scampi and chips wrong so it's hard to be critical of it at all.
For dessert, I went for the apple crumble, and Ian went for the hazelnut brownie with ice cream. The crumble on my dessert was far too fine, and resembled cous cous - it wasn't unpleasant, but it was really strange for a crumble. There also wasn't enough ice cream for the size of crumble they gave me, I'd have been a lot happier with a second scoop and a smaller crumble.
Ian's dessert was probably good, it disappeared before I got a chance to try it, and he polished off the other half of mine.
We couldn't fault the service, although we were the only ones in the restaurant for the first two courses, but the food didn't live up to what we'd been expecting.