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The Muddy Duck, Hethe - pub details

Previously called: The Whitmore Arms

Address: Main St, Hethe, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX27 8ES [map] [gmap]

Tel: 0871 951 1000 (ref 27508) - calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras

Nearest train stations Bicester North (4.2 miles), Bicester Town (5 miles)

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> Current user rating: 6.0/10 (rated by 4 users)
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other pubs nearby:

Butchers Arms, Fringford (0.9 miles), Peyton Arms, Stoke Lyne (1.8 miles)

user reviews of the Muddy Duck, Hethe

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

My first visit to a pub since the easing of lockdown and only my second visit here, the first being probably about 40 years ago when still a village local. The layout is as previously described although having entered from the carpark I was unaware of the Smog. However I did notice signs for Bog and Grog. The restaurant is currently closed due to Coronavirus but food consisting primarily of pizzas served either in Grog or in a yurt erected in the garden, this being fully occupied at around 6pm yesterday (Saturday). The piźzas were prepared in a wood-fired oven adjacent to the yurt and looked very tasty confirmed by a couple on the next table. Three ales were on offer being Hook Norton Hooky bitter and two from localish Blackpit Brewery near Silverstone Daytripper and Cut and Run all priced at £4.25. I tried the latter two of which the Daytripper was very refreshing but maybe a touch too hoppy whereas the Cut and Run was a good allround bitter. It was too sunny to leave our dogs in the car and being tired from a longish walk they were delighted to crash out on the cold flagstone floor after being made welcome by the staff. Table service only at present but this was carried out efficiently and amicably. All in all my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will happily call in again when next in the area.
yellowfever - 19 Jul 2020 15:55
Now known as The Muddy Duck, from the outside this looks to be an unremarkable village pub, blending in seamlessly with the surrounding buildings and probably unchanged for a hundred years. As soon as you drive in the car park though, you notice that something may be a little different. There is expensive, freshly laid gravel covering the floor and recessed uplighters illuminate the stone walling. You pass by a patio with smart wicker furniture and a number of decorative wood carvings. By the time you reach the end of the car park you notice that it’s filled almost entirely with Beamers and Mercs, with the odd Range Rover or Porsche thrown in for good measure.

You can enter the pub either from the car park which takes you in to a sort of lobby area between the bar and restaurant or use what is presumably the original door at the front. I went for the latter option and found myself in a small vestibule with two doors off of it marked Smog and Grog. Smog leads to a small inner courtyard and Grog to the main bar area of the pub. This is a pleasant enough spot, although somehow feels a little artificial. It’s clearly been renovated recently and consists of a bar counter on the right, wood strip on the floor, some very neat stone walling, a few oak beams around and various duck related pictures on the walls. Seating was a mixture of chunky wooden tables and high chairs at the bar and in the bay window. A stone large fire-place was at the far end and a fire was blazing away. A tiled passageway leads passed the semi-open kitchen to the restaurant although I did not investigate this.

As might be expected, the menu is a step or two up from your regular “pub grub” and there is both a bar menu and a separate restaurant menu. Options on the bar menu included Fish & Chips, Burger and a Provençale Fish Stew, many of which were available in both larger and smaller sizes. Price wise, the smaller options tended to be just under a tenner with the larger version about 50% more. The restaurant menu added a few more choices, with prices stretching up to almost £30 for the beef fillet. My Butternut Squash Risotto came in at £14 and was a tasty and pleasant dish, with creamy rice and a generous portion. The subtle marzipan flavour was an unusual twist, but not unpleasant. Somewhat frustratingly though, I would like to have chosen a meal from the restaurant menu, but apparently it was not possible to eat this in the bar. I don’t know why this should be since many of the dishes overlap, including the risotto that I ended up with. The guy behind the bar said it was something to do with the kitchen being able to cope with the orders, but when I queried what difference it made to the kitchen where I was sat, he just said that it was the pub policy. To be honest this annoyed me somewhat. It’s the sort of thing I might expect in a large chain pub where head office dictates every detail of the operation, but for a small village gastro-pub clearly trying to sell themselves on the customer experience, I found it rather baffling.

Beers on tap were Tribute, Hooky, Timothy Taylor Landlord and Side Pocket for a Toad. The solitary cider was Stowford Press. Overall, I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. On one hand it offers a decent, if slightly pricey, food choice, they’ve made a real effort to renovate it, there’s a reasonable range of beers on tap and the front bar is not food dominated by any means. But there’s something about it that didn’t quite gel with me, although it’s difficult to put my finger on. Possibly the Hooray Henry clientele that it seems to attract, including a very large party of what I assume were public school kids on a belated Christmas party.

Blackthorn - 22 Jan 2014 09:07

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