The Duck on the Pond at South Newington is a real gem! Step over its portals and you enter Food Heaven.
Imagine our surprise when we turned up on a mid week evening recently to find the car park almost full and the restaurant booked out. It’s a long time since I’ve seen that on a midweek evening.
Such is the newfound popularity of this venue which has been transformed by the arrival of new owner and Head Chef Hendrik and his wife Julie from the White Horse in Kings Sutton.
Over the past 8 years, they built up an enviable reputation which had put it at the top of the local culinary map.
Now reunited with their dedicated team they are well on the way to doing the same at the Duck on the Pond.
Hendrik strives for perfection, champions sustainability and his enthusiasm is infectious.
They grow as much food as possible in their own Kitchen Garden and Smallholding so as to ensure a seasonal offering and work closely with local farmers and artisan producers to obtain the highest quality produce with low food miles.
Farming partners this season include Newbottle Farm, Purston Manor, Little Hill Farm, Forge Farm, Wykham Farm and Rectory Farm. Freshwater fish such as Hampshire chalk stream trout is farmed in clean streams improving the taste. Flour is from the Cotswold mill and they make butter and cheese fresh every day.
We ordered our drinks and perused the menu, Hendrik brought out a few delights from the taster menu including the Pickled Quail Eggs in Onion Ash, using onion skins turned into a powder. The Bread & Butter with flour milled from grains sourced from regenerative farms & butter made in house and the Beer & Cheddar Soup made with mature cheddar cheese. Which were all fantastic!
Moving on to our starters which included the Salad of Oxford Blue Cheese, Pear, Walnut, Pickled Raisin and Celery. The Crispy Pig’s Head, Black Pudding and Autumn Chutney. Finally the Hampshire Chalk Stream Trout, Dill Pickled Cucumber, Cultured Cream and Watercress. We shared each dish and enjoyed each one.
Our main courses awaited and consisted of Duck, Carrots, Sorrel, Duck Leg Potato, and Plumb Sauce. The Loin of Cotswold Venison, Celeriac, Red Cabbage and Walnut. Our third choice was the Sirloin of Newbottle Farm Beef, Cavolo Nero, Shin and Tongue & Cheek Creamed Potatoes. Each dish was beautifully presented and you could taste the quality, care and attention.
We also enjoyed three side dishes including Kale & Cavolo Nero, Rosemary Roasted New Potatoes and chips.
By now we were fully satisfied but persisted as we were intrigued by what was on offer for dessert. The Poached Pears with Almond & Bay Leaf Ice-Cream was the favourite. The Hay Custard with Plums & Caramelised Milk Crumble and Whipped Chocolate with Chocolate & Dark Rye Crumble & Toasted Rye Ice -Cream, were also superb!
All of the food on the innovative menu here is of the highest quality and superbly prepared and presented.
They also offer a fantastic fixed price menu featuring pub classics and a great bar menu. Together with a superb tasting menu and don’t miss their Sunday Lunch from 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm.
We thoroughly recommend it as a pleasurable, exciting culinary experience but a word of warning please book ahead.
Hendrik has clearly achieved much in a very short period of time and we look forward to returning again soon to see how the restaurant has developed.
The Duck on the Pond
Open Wed to Sun 11.00 am to 11.00 pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays