It’s such an uplifting success story the revival of The Three Horseshoes in Witney, now positively thriving.
Previously sister pub to The Hollybush opposite, both were put up for lease earlier his year, former employee Tommy Higgs taking on The Three Horseshoes.
Opening a new business in times of such uncertainty is always a gamble, yet Tommy has made an immediate success of it, every single table full of corralling diners when we visited last weekend, while outside in the extensive seating area out the back, a more lively, younger crowd were having a great time.
The Three Horseshoes was absolutely heaving but that only added to the fun, Tommy helping out in the kitchen alongside head chef Matt Laughton (the esteemed former head chef at The Swan at Swinbrook).
THE THREE HORSESHOES IS EXACTLY WHAT A PUB SHOULD BE; A PLACE FOR LOCALS OF ALL AGES TO RELAX, HAVE FUN, DRINK AND EAT SOME HEART-WARMING FOOD
Sat in the bar area soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the guest ales and a great wine list, the enticing menu offers comfort food, pub classics (burgers, steaks, fish and chips, pies) and some more ambitious dishes.
Which meant that we could dive in to the salt and pepper squid with garlic aioli (£8.50), the smoked mackerel pate with pickles, sourdough toast and fresh horseradish (£8.50), and the spiced aubergine fritters with lime pickle and curry sauce (£7.25).
THE SMOKED MACKEREL PATE WAS A REAL FAVOURITE – NO ONE ELSE GOT A LOOK IN
The tasty squid was cooked perfectly and served with an unctuous, pungent, yellow, garlic aioli, the smoked mackerel pate a real favourite; slippery with pickle, piquant without overshadowing the fish, I ate all of it. No one else got a look in.
The aubergine fritters were so lip-smackingly good that we ordered more, the tamarind sauce poured over the soft, smokey, tempura’d aubergine.
The mains were a bit more traditional so we went steak and risotto, not the most imaginative offerings, but more importantly would they deliver?
The ribeye (£28 with all the trimmings) was tender and succulent, the stilton butter melting pleasingly, the tomatoes and mushrooms suitably juicy, although the chips could have enjoyed a bit longer in the fryer.
The seasonal pumpkin risotto was given a modern twist with the addition of feta, pomegranate seeds and gremolata
The seasonal pumpkin risotto (£14) was given a modern twist with the addition of feta, pomegranate seeds and gremolata, the pumpkin ensuring a rich yellow colour, the pomegranate seeds lending it a more middle-eastern twist, the feta extra depth of flavour, and the gremolata (chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic) an exotic piquancy.
More al dente than usual, it needed a few more stirs in the pan, but delivered in terms of taste and visuals.
apparently we ordered a tiramisu, but as it disappeared within seconds of arriving I was none-the-wiser
As for the desserts, apparently we ordered a tiramisu (£7.50), but as it disappeared within seconds of arriving I was none-the-wiser.
But it was the crispy banana fritters with cinnamon sugar, butterscotch sauce and clotted cream (£6) that won hands down, – as naughty, decadent and moreish as we’d hoped.
NO AIRS AND GRACES HERE JUST GOOD HONEST FOOD. AND IT’S WORKING. WE LOVED IT”
As usual we were the last to leave, except for the carousing crowds in the garden, and as we bid a last farewell, we reflected that the best thing about The Three Horseshoes is not only its evident enjoyment in having Witney back en masse, but it’s lack of pretension in doing so.
No airs and graces here just good honest food. And it’s working – we loved it.
The Three Horseshoes is exactly what a pub should be, a place for locals of all ages to relax, have fun, drink and eat some heart-warming food. Mission accomplished then. Well done Tommy!
The Three Horseshoes, 78 Corn Street, Witney https://www.threehorseshoeswitney.co.uk