30 Lower High Street, Thame, OX9 2AA
- Recommended for:
- Backpackers / Students, Families with younger children, Foodies, Travellers with pets, Chilling out, Great views / scenery, Live entertainment, No fuss, Relaxation
Expert review of The Thatch
The Thatch is a remarkably cosy High Street pub in the quiet Oxfordshire town of Thame. The original building dates back to at least 1570 so here is a taste of genuine Elizabethan England. Over the years a number of low-ceilinged rooms were put together to create this inn which until recently also offered rooms for the night. In 2007, Raymond Blanc of the famous Manoir aux Quat’Saisons bought the property in conjunction with a TV series he was sponsoring to find the best new pub landlord and landlady. Running the quintessentially English Thatch was going to be the prize. You can understand why.
Head chef Ross Whitmill places great emphasis on free-range suppliers. All the pork, bacon, chicken and eggs are sourced from ethical suppliers and the beef and lamb are raised on farms that the Thatch team have inspected themselves. Freshness is paramount. This can lead to problems. The night I visited the poor waitress had to recite a litany of alternatives that were being offered because fresh supplies could not be got in over a bank holiday!
One of the great ideas that Ross has had is the Pudding Board. Five sample desserts - chocolate delice, strawberries and cream, rhubarb and custard, lemon sorbet and chocolate torte - all for just £10. The idea is that you share them with your dinner companion. This is excellent value and it is a shame The Thatch only pulls out Pudding Boards on its jazz nights. My advice would be to check up on when the jazz nights are on and book a table!
There is a good selection of wines by the glass and bottle - 16 whites and 16 reds. There is only one dessert wine, Monbazillac, but that is no hardship.
There are two very different Thatches. At the front a sequence of four small, low rooms have been linked together to create a long narrow dining room. It feels like eating in one of a number of half-timbered cottages. There is even a working fireplace in one of the rooms which is lit during the colder half of the year. Meanwhile at the back a substantial extension provides a new, well-lit, spacious bar area and more tables for eating. Out here is where the jazz is performed.
The walled garden (which doubles the number of available tables in summer) offers another kind of ambience and is popular with families.
Staff are friendly and self confident but not intrusive. The waitstaff dress in black and wear jokey (hospitality-related) slogans on the back of their polo shirts.
Thame is an attractive, linear town south of Oxford, not far from the A40 and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The Thatch is located on the Oxford end of High Street with its own car park at the rear. The location is urban but it doesn't feel like that inside, particularly as a bypass system has drastically reduced the amount of traffic on High Street.
Allow £12-£18 for a main course, £5 for starters and £5.50 for a selection of Jude's Free-Range Ice Creams and Sorbets (again locally sourced). So that's up to £30 per person without wine.
Personally I prefer the old section of the pub even if the seats and tables may wobble. In winter ask to be placed near the fire (although that does mean being nearer the bar as well).
More information on The Thatch:
- Price guide:
- Pub, Restaurant, Wine bar
- British, Fusion, Steak, Traditional
- 30 Lower High Street, Thame, OX9 2AA
- +44 1844 214 340
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Sat noon-9.45pm, Sun noon-8.45pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Not necessary
- Free tags / Keywords: