Originally known as the "Brittania", the Boot Inn was bought, converted and extended by a well known local publican George Dailey in the early 90s. It was sold in 1998 to a PLC and run under management until November 2003 when it was purchased by Craig Foster, who ironically had cut his teeth working under George's brother Paul at the Blue Boar in Longworth.
The Boot is a charming traditional pub just off the A40 between Witney and Eynsham. It is very well known for its extensive collection of boots and shoes worn by famous people. Amongst the collection you can find the footwear of Sir Stanley Matthews, George Best, David Gower, Gary Lineker, Sir Roger Banister, Lord Coe and Henry Cooper. These are just some of the sportsmen who have eaten here and have left their mark. Among non-sportsmen can be found David Jason, the Bee Gees, Paddy Ashdown, Michael Heseltine, Ranulph Fiennes, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon, Ronnie Barker and Jeremy Irons.
I ate here to celebrate a birthday with seven other guests and we had a splendid evening in a most enjoyable vibrant atmosphere. The menu reflects the passion of Craig's chef of two years, Fabrice Lamonnier, with a mixture of classic French and English dishes. I personally started with crayfish and mushroom risotto, followed by tournedos Rossini (the foie gras is flown in directly from France) which was cooked to perfection and tasted wonderful. Despite being well satisfied I was persuaded by Craig to try the white chocolate cheesecake which was a decision I didn't regret until I climbed on the scales the next day! My friends enjoyed a selection of varied dishes from the specials board and menu.
Being an Australian, Craig is fascinated by wine and is always keen to shop around for new deals as well as having a sharp eye for unusual wines. He is especially fond of the Gneis 2001 from the Costa Brava, which he ships directly from Spain. This went perfectly with my beef, being a Cabernet/ Merlot/ Grenache blend with subtle oak and big rich winter fruit characteristics. Some of the girls drank a lovely Kim Crawford Pinot Gris and we finished with the outstanding Margan Botrytis Semillon.
All in all we had a very special evening. We were well looked after by Craig, despite having to put up with constant ribbing about the Ashes performance. There are times when Australians really get to you!!!
The Boot Inn, Barnard Gate, Nr Eynsham, Oxfordshire OX29 6XE Tel: 01865 881231