In Review: Under the Shop

 In Review

Last week Rosie, Rianna and I were invited to try out George Street’s new cocktail bar and updated restaurant – Under the Shop, the new offer from firm indie favourite, Pint Shop. Pint Shop’s street level offer is still going strong with 20+ beers on tap and the famous scotch eggs, but they’ve completely revamped the lower restaurant with an updated food menu, cocktail list and cosy atmosphere.

Since opening just over 18 months ago we’ve visited Pint Shop frequently. Whilst the bar area has worked brilliantly and the food tasty, the downstairs has never fully hit the mark in terms of the whole experience. So, when Izzy and her team got in touch to say they had exciting plans, we were keen to see what they were!

       Under The Shop Oxford    Under The Shop Oxford

To the left of Pint Shop you’ll find the entrance for Under the Shop winding its way down to what used to be the private dining room. Painted a rich dark blue, it’s been opened up so it flows into the restaurant but, rather than finding rows of tables and chairs, you’re presented with cosy sofas, opulent furnishings and softly lit corners for two.

 In this area they now offer table service for drinks saving queuing at a bar and allowing you plenty of time to peruse their new cocktail menu. Controversially for some, a select number of cocktails are on tap – one of which was the Espresso Martini, which Rosie assured us was very good! As a gin drinker I went for the refreshing Elderflower Gin Fizz and Rianna the sophisticated Sloe Gin Royale. They also have a good selection of equally delicious mocktails meaning those who are off the alcohol are not missing out!

After nibbling on some olives, we went through to the newly painted restaurant to try the updated menu. As two out of the three of us are vegetarian, it was great to be presented with a menu that has a good balance of veggie and meat dishes. After salivating over all the options, we settled on trying the wild garlic and cheese croquettes, black pudding scotch egg and gin trout pancakes from the Hot Bites section followed by the Sea Trout Fillet, Spiced Rice Pilaff, Curried Courgettes, Mint Yoghurt dish, Flat Iron Chicken w/ Fennel, Avocado, Watercress & Mint Salad and the Grilled Squash and Corn & Courgette, Mint & Cucumber Salad from the Wood Oven and Grill options. We were then tempted by the Grilled Halloumi, Rose Harissa and Root Chip Kebab and side of House Chips.

Highlights definitely included the delicious smokiness of the squash dish, the warm spiciness of the rose harissa on the kebab balanced out by the cooling yogurt, and the comforting cheesy and almost creamy garlickiness of croquettes. The chicken was also perfectly cooked and the scotch egg, as always, didn’t disappoint!

Under The Shop Oxford

What was lovely about the whole experience was that the food, although comforting and indulgent, wasn’t heavy and portions the right size. Previous they’d been a little on the small side, but they seem more balanced now and matched the price being charged. It was also nice to see seasonal items on the menu such as the Wild Garlic and Cheese Croquettes that once the season for wild garlic is over, will be replaced by another seasonal bite.

To round off the night we sampled their desserts which included a Banana Sundae, Chocolate Pot and Cheesecake and chatted to the team who were really excited about the revised menu and fresh look. The service was brilliant all evening and really added to the friendly atmosphere of Under The Shop.

It is definitely worth trying out Under the Shop next time you’re in town whether that’s for just cocktails and a putting-the-world-to-rights chat with friends, or date night for two with lashings of good food.

Let us know what you think if you’ve tried it out and don’t forget to tag your indie adventures with #indieoxford. Enjoy!

Anna

X x x

Under The Shop Oxford

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