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The Oxley

Posted by Libby Roach / Reviewed on June 1, 2012 / review policy

The Oxley TorontoThe Oxley only recently opened its doors to the commoners living in the Yorkville area, but they are off to a great start. Sandwiched by their two quaint patios, they're all charm and sophistication. The Oxley exudes what every good and proper pub aspires to be. Owned by the Queen and Beaver pub team and expats Jamieson Kerr and Chef Andrew Carter, The Oxley is less sporty than its sister pub, likely a nod to the less sporty clientele.

Previously occupied by a Hungarian restaurant, the Oxley swung a hammer thru the galley style interior and brought in well thought-out and comfortable pub d├ęcor, with nary a fox, toad or firkin in sight. Personal space is well respected here; tables aren't crowded in the narrow dining room, elbow room is kept in high regard, and conversations aren't bounced across every wall in the room. This is an inviting pub you can actually relax in, without the fuzzy red velour that infects most competitors.

The OxleyService is just as pleasant as the tasteful interior. Friendly without being obtrusive, our server didn't hesitate to suggest her fave dishes off the British dominated menu. If you haven't experienced proper pub food (Guinea fowl, organ meat pies) then the Oxley will certainly surprise you.

Offering a wide selection of ales and lagers, the server also suggested the cask ales which are traditionally served at room temperature (gives true meaning to pulling pints). We opted for the darker cask ale ($8.50) and a bottle of Stone Hammer ($6).

The OxleyChanneling our English roots, and caving to our pickled hankerings, we started off with the Aged cheddar and Branston sandwich ($16) with house made salty crisps (chips). For those not inclined, Branston is a popular UK condiment that features pickled rutabaga, onions, carrots, all muddled into a black mushy spread that somewhat resembles jam. Spiced with mustard, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and more, it's definitely an acquired taste.

I tend to avoid the jarred stuff, but was compelled to order it when told it was house-made. Served on white bread with buttery white cheddar, the pickle was salty as well as sweet, and the combination of flavours made it memorable. The crisps were a nice touch, served in a parchment bag ensuring a good crunch, and tucking a few in with the cheddar adds a further dimension to the differing textures.

The OxleyThe Fish Pie with peas ($22) was served Shepherd's pie-style, with a mashed potato topping replacing the puff pastry that's usually a feature of most British pies. This resulted in one giant heavy trough of potato, cream and five types of fish: scallops, salmon, halibut, mussels and lobster. Each fish got the special treatment; cooked individually first to guarantee that the fish retained its natural form rather than turning into a mushy fish mess.

The Oxley YorkvilleThe Rib Eye ($38) served on crisped white bread with a generous slathering of stilton sitting atop green beans was an inventive take on a classic. Steak and blue cheese is always a stellar combo, and the upgrade to proper British stilton propelled the juicy medium rare steak into meat glory.

The Sticky Toffee Pudding ($8) lived up to its name. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the steaming pudding had definite notes of molasses and brown sugar. The portion was ample and the ice cream cascaded into a melting river of vanilla, adding a lovely creamy consistency that balanced the denseness of the pudding.

The OxleyBoth the bar menu and the full dinner menu promise that all manner of appetites will be satisfied, and with the 2012 London Olympic Games coming, I predict the Oxley's tempting commonwealth nibbles will shine a spotlight on modern British cuisine. Just remember, it's still Yorkville, so mind your P's and Q's and bring a few extra quid, it's not your average Toronto pub.

The Oxley takes reservations, although not for the patio.



mike / June 1, 2012 at 10:32 am
through not thru
mayor dodge / June 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm
That sandwich with a stick in it looks very dry and very, very boring. Where is the pickled rutabaga, onions, carrots, all muddled into a black mushy spread that somewhat resembles jam. Spiced with mustard, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and more?
Richard / June 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm
Great spot, if you love the Royal Beav, you will love this place also....

Great job guys.
Tom / June 1, 2012 at 01:41 pm
Haha... 16 bucks for a cheese sandwich and chips!
john / June 1, 2012 at 02:35 pm
looks good, but yeah those prices are completely obscene. i'll stop by for a couple of pints if they've got a decent cask ale list, but on this review, i'll be passing on the food. there's nothing about traditional british cuisine that deserves those prices, unless every single item is personally grown or hand-reared, and that does not appear to be the case.
Geeza / June 1, 2012 at 02:37 pm
In London pubs you can get a cheddar and branston sandwich for 2 or 3 quid.
Sean / June 1, 2012 at 03:11 pm
Welshgrrl / June 1, 2012 at 04:12 pm
This is Yorkville, remember?
Alice / June 1, 2012 at 05:02 pm
I've been there and eaten there - the food is divine. It's a little $$$ but I LOVED IT!
brenda / June 1, 2012 at 07:14 pm
I've had food at the Queen and Beaver and it's pretty good, high quality ingredients etc. Though i feel compelled to point out that unlike most meat-based pies, fish pie is pretty much always with mashed potato on top (and often cheese which strikes me as pretty gross, but they really like cheese).
Ben / July 24, 2012 at 09:06 am
Oh those prices and the ever-changing menu. The service was excellent, but the bangers in bangers and mash were as dry as cinder block and charing $4 for bread was not only in poor taste but the straw that broke the camel's back for me. The reviews have been great but the food/prices leave me with no reason to go back.
Tim Ferguson / October 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm
The GM is an absolute jerk. Never treated so poorly. Great food, but brutal service. Will never go back.
morgan / October 6, 2012 at 09:11 am
the sandwich looks great basic with out the buillshit perfect with a pint of ale, anyway when was the last time you could get a sandwhich in London for £2... the 18 century
urbanist / October 27, 2012 at 02:16 am
Went to the Oxley for the first time tonight. Loved the decor, food and the beer! The food may seem pricy but is very good quality and well worth the price. This would be one of my top choices of places to eat in Toronto.
Ree / January 4, 2013 at 01:54 am
Great atmosphere. Super cozy on a cold night. The food: bloody kidneys, burnt today, gross gravy, cold terrines, inhospitable service. Don't bother.
Nic / January 9, 2013 at 09:48 am
When British chefs are doing so much awesome stuff in the UK, this menu looks embarrassing. The ale choice on the other hand.........probably worth popping in for! Will definitely give it a good go.
DM / January 22, 2013 at 05:45 pm
Branston is the best pickle they could come up with? COME ON! There is so much more to classic British pub food than white bread and messed up sauces. Some of the best pubs in the UK have amazing fish dishes that aren't served in pies or a batter and cost less than $16 for a lunch meal. I hope this menu evolves.
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Phil / June 15, 2014 at 08:52 pm
Cask ales were never served at room temperatures, not to mention "traditionally". Cellar temperatures, and not stillage.

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