Steak night at the Fleece

Friday night is steak night at The Fleece in Witney. Placed on the pretty church green, The Fleece has a lot going for it; cosy in the winter with occasional live jazz and cool in the summer when you can enjoy the picturesque view from the outside tables.

It was only upon arrival that we realised we’d stumbled across Steak Night. I love a good steak and previous eating occasions at The Fleece had always been a hit, so the meal promised to be a good one.

Our seemingly attentive waiter took us to our table and promptly vanished after taking our drinks order – never to be seen again (we also asked for a few olives to graze on). Abandoned at a table in a pub we twiddled our thumbs waiting for our drinks order to arrive.

Eventually our drinks turned up (no olives) and we were able to place our order. We opted to skip starters and instead dive straight into mains as the dessert menu had seduced our sweet teeth.

In comparison to the drinks the mains did come out in pretty good time and were inviting in smell and look. I was particularly impressed with the look of the thick cut cube of rump on my plate. Cooked, as requested medium rare, it was juicy and tender, a hunk of meat the chef should be proud to serve. The Bernaise sauce, chips and green salad stuff on the plate were also all good.

Around the table the sirloin with pepper corn sauce went down well as did the free range chicken breast. Mrs Richinflavour had the duck and she noted it was a “perfectly edible Donald”.

Moving on to dessert the now pretty stressed waitress took our sweet order. As she was ordering she highlighted how busy she was that evening. Apparently a member of staff had disappeared that afternoon. Now, I don't mind busy waiters, though I do sometimes feel them telling me how stressed and busy they are makes me feel – (a) sorry for them and (b) slightly unloved; it definitely doesn’t enhance my dining experience.

The treacle pudding could have done with a little more treacle sauce, but in general had good flavour and the Vanilla panna cotta and fresh raspberries also went down well with a good amount of wibbly wobbliness.

The art to great service is the ability to make all things seem effortless and deliver orders in a timely fashion. Neither of these two criteria were met on this day. However, I like the Fleece and will not let this particular evening’s service put me off, as in general good food and friendly bar staff is the norm.