'Pierre Victoire', I was assured by a Parisian colleague currently living in the city 'is the best French restaurant in Oxford'. So the four of us set off on a rainy Friday evening in February to the vibrant Little Clarenden Street. Our table booked for 8.00pm the place was already buzzing and would be guests were being turned away. An English waitress took us through the restaurant to a table snuggled in next to the kitchen area. From here Adie and Tony could keep an eye on the chef in anticipation of our meal to come.
For drinks we went straight into the wine. The house red had been recommended by my French friend as perfectly acceptable - and as we devoured three bottles during the evening it proved to be good advice. Sparkling water supplemented this and came in a most attractive bottle with the restaurant's name inscribed. For a fee of £3.50 this bottle could be taken home!
A basket of very tasty bread was offered while we waited for our starters. Adie and Josey ordered the parma ham and mozzarella, which was declared delicious by both. Tony went for the warm goat's cheese salad, which was also a success. Marie chose the filo parcel with a mushroom filling. The others were encouraged to try this, as it was mouth wateringly wonderful! All who tasted it agreed!
Having enjoyed the first course so much we all looked forward to the main. There were three specials on the board and Adie chose the pork fillet with a honey and mustard sauce served with a few roasted vegetables. He, and Marie supplemented their meals with a basket each of frites. Marie had the chicken served on a bed of 'parsnip and carrot chips'. Tony and Josey who respectively chose duck with roasted vegetables and salmon with prawns ordered sauté potatoes. An additional basket of bread was also devoured. Everyone was amazed by the quality of the food. Although the portions were not huge, they were sufficient for even the hungriest amongst us. In fact the wait for dessert was welcomed.
A selection of sweets ordered, we sat back with our wine and enjoyed the ambiance. Josey enthused over her rum and raisin cheesecake. Tony enjoyed a crème brule, while Adie and Marie had raptures over bonhoffee pie and white and dark chocolate terrine.
It came as no surprise that the voting was high. Out of a possible 20 points for each category the following was scored:
Value for money 16
The total was therefore 71.
So a little phased by the £112.20 bill, we set off home full of admiration for French cuisine, but declared Pierre Victoire a restaurant for special occasions.