The Anchor in Jericho
A stylish locals' pub in a trendy Oxford 'hood and a stone's throw from Port Meadow for walking. What's not to like?
Even back in, er, the Dark Ages when I was a student at Oxford, Jericho was the place to hang out. Check out Hero over at Muddy Bucks/Oxon’s take on this trusty pub in the area and then put on your hipster gear, throw the dog and some wellies in the boot of the car and head off for the perfect pub walk outing.
The Anchor is on the edges of Jericho, one of Oxford’s trendiest indie areas, but unless you know where to look you may miss it. A 10 minute walk up the Woodstock Road (just near Gee’s and down a side road), it’s also very close to the wonderful countryside expanse of Port Meadow. I’d describe it as very much a locals pub, though the locals in this neck of the woods are whip-smart, and know good food when it hits them in the lamb chops.
The exterior of The Anchor with its plain red brick and basic courtyard doesn’t suggest any brilliance within, but once inside the vibe is very different. You walk into The Anchor and feel like you’re going to have a good time and you do – the atmosphere is relaxed and confident but also rather cosy. There are several separate areas to choose from – the large main eating area (above), plus the attractive snug/bar area with a gorgeous fireplace at the end.
There’s also a small conservatory room with one large table, plus two rooms upstairs (a blue room holding 14 and a green room for 16) for private dining.
In summer I’m sure the outdoor seating area gets jam-packed, though the lack of pretty views probably makes the courtyard a convenience rather than a destination in itself.
The food is very much pub classics done well – think fish pie, burgers, steaks. Service is friendly and smart, and everything ticks along exactly like a pub in the trendiest part of Oxford should. I started with crispy squid with chilli jam that judged the high end of average but then my cheese burger blew the stack off the building. Maybe I was just really in the mood for one (it’s been a while), but my god it tasted good.
My mum opted for the steak and she was so intent on eating it that she didn’t make a noise for 10 minutes, which is a first.
We didn’t have dessert because we ran out of time, but left to my own devices I’d have gone for sticky toffee pudding (of course) or apple and cinnamon crumble. Or, let’s be honest, both.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Foodies looking for unpretentious, superior pub fare; walkers near Port Meadow (you’re minutes away); city visitors in search of a classy local. Great place for a group of friends over a leisurely Sunday lunch or evening meal. Families – there’s a kids’ menu and the whole vibe is family-friendly.
Not for: Those who like easy parking – you could be unlucky and have to walk quite a way to the pub. The outdoor patio area looks onto the road, so is not ‘tourist’ perfect.
££: Reasonable. Most starters £6-8; fish pie £12, cheeseburger and fries £14, steak is a bit more expensive from £14-30. Most desserts are around the £6-8 mark.