Review on Beetle and Wedge Boathouse

A magical riverside location worthy of 'The Wind in the Willows' has always been one of the unique attractions of the Beetle and Wedge over the years. Sadly, the hotel is no more, but the original rôtisserie has been transformed into an informal brasserie with a beamed conservatory and a delightful terrace just a few feet from the water.

Many dishes are grilled on the open charcoal fire – everything from kidneys and black pudding (with grain mustard sauce) to veal cutlets, rump steak and fillet of sea bass (accompanied by spinach and béarnaise sauce). There are also salads in abundance (warm goats' cheese with roast beetroot, pine nuts and lardons), plus home-cured gravlax, suprême of Gressingham duck with apple and blackcurrant sauce, and roast cod, tiger prawn and potato chowder.

Alternatively, opt for the 'Basic Beetle' – a fixed-price menu (Mon-Thu) that could take in puff pastry tartlets filled with snails, garlic and parsley, pork chop and buttered cabbage, plus desserts from the main menu. The wine list is small, but almost perfectly formed, with plenty of decent drinking at knockdown prices. The Beetle and Wedge also has one elegantly furnished, double bedroom overlooking the river.

Beetle and Wedge Boathouse is also featured in: Good Food Guide, Hardens

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Anglo French

Restaurant Opening Times

Lunch: 12.00 - 1.45pm Tue-Sun
Dinner: 7.00 - 8.45pm

Accepted credit cards

Visa, Master Card, American Express

Online Booking Availability for Beetle and Wedge Boathouse

Facilities at Beetle and Wedge Boathouse

  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access
  • Private parties


Accomodation is available


Beetle and Wedge Boathouse
Ferry Lane
OX10 9JF

Customer Ratings on Beetle and Wedge Boathouse

2.4  / 5

Based on 1 review

Guest reviews are written by our customers.

Value for money

Customer reviews

  • avatar
    May 2016

    5 people found this review helpful
    Such a shame!

    Myself, my wife and my mother in law decided to go for dinner after receiving some good news about our pregnancy today and we wanted to celebrate. We'd read some good reviews about the beetle and wedge so booked a table for 7pm for the three of us.

    On our arrival, the chef was sat outside in the car park on his phone and didn't look very prepared for a service which was due to begin in 5 minutes' time. We walked into the restaurant along with a couple who were looking to get some dinner, but had to search for a member of staff as there was nobody to be seen. We were then greeted with 'oh you're early birds' despite only arriving a few minutes prior to the 7pm reservation.

    We ordered from the set menu, expecting some really fresh, well-executed dishes. Between us we ordered one of each starter. The smoked mackerel fishcake had the skin left on the fish and was incredibly salty. We mentioned to the waitress when she collected the plates and she said 'I'll tell chef', but we heard nothing further.

    Our mains arrived shortly afterwards, two beetroot risottos and the fish ragout dish. The risotto was lukewarm, incredibly sweet, rice undercooked (couldn't pass as al dente, definitely undercooked) and it had no flavour. The grains of rice looked like they'd been cooked really quickly in a hurry instead of absorbing any stock (or flavour) as a risotto should.

    The fish dish arrived with two dead, closed mussels on the plate. I mentioned this to the waitress and asked for them to be replaced, for the plate to come straight back out with one mussel less and all of them opened. We can only assume that they'd prised open the one with a marginal gap in the shell and binned the other closed one and returned the plate to him. It still had the potato rosti that the waitress dolloped into the sauce (an attempt at silver service but a failed one at that) so it was definitely the same plate and the time taken to 'remedy' the closed mussel problem meant that the plate was still warmish. The fish that accompanied the mussels had scales on and the sauce was a thin, bland, tasteless and watery excuse for a sauce.

    We hardly touched the mains and waited for over 10 minutes for a member of staff to approach the table. The manageress (I assume as she wasn't wearing a uniform and was taking orders and dealing with the wine complaint from the next table), the waiter for the bar and the food waitress all walked past several times, avoiding eye contact and failing to approach us despite obviously not touching any more food.

    When the young waitress finally approached us (the same one who had failed to give any feedback after speaking to the chef about the mackerel) we told her about the food and she once again said 'I'll tell the chef'. She yet again came back with no comments, but tried to hand us dessert menus which we declined.

    The manageress then came over and said 'I hear you weren't happy with the food'. We explained to her all we had previously explained to the waitress and her response about the mackerel fishcake was 'mackerel is naturally very salty and we add no seasoning'. Smoked mackerel, which we've all eaten numerous times before has never been that salty and her instant response to get on the defensive was an indication of the poor service to follow. When we told her about the issues with the mains she apologised. She said that the mussels definitely were cooked again as she saw two left on the side in the kitchen. Firstly, I have no idea why food that should be discarded would be left on the counter in a kitchen mid-service and secondly the time between removing the plate and reissuing the plate would be massively insufficient to cook off more mussels. She then quickly proceeded to offer us dessert menus once again. Again, we declined the dessert menus. There was no offer of any remedy to the problem, offer any alternative dishes to be prepared or any level of concern other than a brief apology which proceeded the dessert menus being offered.

    She then walked away once it was clear we didn't want dessert, and we waited for another 10 minutes before we had to call the waiter over to ask for the bill. When it arrived, only the drinks were on it. A nice gesture, but surely it's the done thing to apologise properly, offer an alternative and then inform the customer that there would be no charge for the dishes that they had problems with.

    Bad cooking is one thing but serving potentially poisonous food in the form of closed mussels is ridiculous. The rest of the fish was fresh and had great potential, the food was just extremely poorly executed by what I assume is an inexperienced or unenthusiastic chef.

    We paid the bill (needless to say we didn't tip), and left. No staff members were seen to say bye, or apologise for the shoddy food or service, and we left even more unhappy than if we'd had a poor meal but excellent endeavour from the management to have us leave as happy as possible given the situation. We left to see the chef once again sat outside in the car park (possibly smoking) on the step by the kitchen in his whites. This poses a hygiene risk which I'm sure would not go down too well with environmental health as clothing worn when preparing food should not be work outside to sit on a dirty step in a car park.

    There was a table of 4 and a table of 2 while we were in, so hardly a busy service. Even if the restaurant were packed, there is no excuse for such poorly executed food and lack of attention from staff.

    This place has the potential to do the same if the quality produce were in the hands of a passionate and skilled chef. Perhaps if you ordered off the a la carte you may be given a better quality meal as others seemed to enjoy theirs, or if you went on a night other than a Tuesday a different chef may be working to cover the busier shifts as I doubt the one on duty tonight would satisfy a restaurant full of diners.

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Beetle and Wedge Boathouse Christmas Menu

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