No 1 Folly Bridge, Oxford
French delights by the riverside
We had heard good things about No 1 Folly Bridge and it didn’t disappoint. With a menu that appears to change from day to day depending on seasonal produce and availability, we were spoilt for choice. Fish lovers will have a ball, as the menu seems to be 50% seafood alongside a few meat and veggie dishes.
Itchy opted for some Fritos of brie with cranberry sauce, and a pot of mussels, to share as a starter. Brie is always delightful, but this was especially yummy as the cranberry sauce seemed fresh and was the perfect tart accompaniment to the rich cheese. The mussels were lovely – clearly fresh and drowning in a rich, tasty sauce. (We actually could have done with a bit of bread to mop up the extra sauce left at the end – take note, carb lovers!) We’re not sure what to learn from the fact that the fingerbowl arrived after we’d finished the mussels… either we eat very fast (possible) or it was forgotten (also possible as there seemed to be only one waitress for the entire pontoon of diners). Perhaps it was a mix of both. It didn't really matter, as we were too busy filling out faces to think about hand washing, to be honest.
For mains we went for the special of the day - Salmon salad with asparagus, parmesan, baby tomatoes and rocket - which was ideal for the hot climate. Itchy felt a bit healthy and refreshed nibbling on tasty greens... but we also got a pizza. We didn't regret it. The Azzuro was a perfect blend of parma ham, caramelised red onion, stilton and mozzarella with a gorgeously puffy base. There was a good amount of ham, instead of just a token tiny piece of parma in the middle, which made Itchy rather happy.
At this point the pontoon was filling up with hundreds of midweek drinkers in summer gear, some of whom ordered starters that we were a bit jealous of (we began to regret ordering slightly ugly looking deep fried cheese... the grilled flat mushrooms looked really pretty!) So, we decided to order an aesthetically pleasing desert - pavlova. And we weren't let down. It looked and tasted pretty damn good, with chewy meringue and passion fruit chantilly. The only problem was that the meringue was a bit too chewy in places, meaning that Itchy made a bit of a mess trying to break it up to eat it... Can't take us anywhere, eh?
The cocktails we sipped throughout the meal were sweet, strong and prepared in minutes - Itchy particularly enjoyed the Mojito, but if you're not in the mood for alcohol, the Lime and Lemongrass presse seems to push all the same buttons, complete with ice and fresh mint.
Itchy really enjoyed our visit to Folly Bridge, and we don't think that was just thanks to the perfect weather. The food was tasty and fresh, as well as being affordable (3 courses for £20 seems a bit too good to be true!) and the cocktails were moreish. We also noted that had the weather decided to change, there was a quaint indoor dining space, with paintings, mirrors and quirky decor. So, if you fancy some French charm and excellent food at a reasonable price, head down to Folly Bridge. (Just keep an eye on your menu if it's windy. Don't say we didn't warn you.)