I have just tried the Cafe Rendezvous in the Station Mill Antiques Centre at Chipping Norton. I have tried the previous cafe, that was there before a serious fire at the premises brought about a change. It have got to the stage that I refused to use the old cafe because the staff were so miserable. The new cafe is set in a corner of the antiques centre and is decked out with shabby chic tables and chairs.
What a change. The Cafe now provides an excellent service. The staff are young, enthusiastic, friendly and very pleasant. Being mid morning I tried a coffee and a Banbury Cake. The cafe provides homemade cakes, sandwiches, toasties, soups, salads, specials such as pancakes and various drinks including herbal teas. The next surprise was to be offered a complimentary coffee refill.
There is free parking in the car just outside, but it can become busy on the weekend.
This is a bit of a sprawling mish-mash of a pub which seems to be trying to be all things to all people. OK I've only had a single brief visit on a Saturday afternoon and the place is smart enough, staff and locals seem friendly but it kinda lacked a proper pub feel.
Beer though was in good form and the little nibble I had for my light lunch was tasty and well-presented.
Favorite Dish: The main menu which I flicked through was a bit uninteresting, offering pretty standard pub fare with its "Steak and Ale Pie", "Fish and Chips" etc but the "Specials" board read much better. Here there are the chef's individual dishes with things like "Confit Belly Pork" and "Pan-fried Duck Breast" with inventive, but sympathetic, accompaniements.
With several pubs yet to be visited I just wanted something light and so opted for a starter portion of "Black Pudding, Bacon and Saute Potatoes". This was exactly what I was after - black pudding with a distinct peppery spice, chunkily-sliced cured pork and crispily-fried baby potatoes. Finished with a rich jus and a little pluck of curly endive this did the job of lightly lining my stomach in preparation for the beers to follow.
I came across a website somewhere which reckoned that one of Chippy's claims to fame was that it had the last "Fish and Chip Shop" for 30 miles in the Cheltenham direction. Not sure about that though as I'm sure there's one at Stow on the Wold.
Pedantry aside though Chippy does indeed have its chippies - two that I know of: The Arctic and Movable Feast.
The latter of these is located at the wonderful address of No1 Horsefair on the main road coming into the town centre from London Rd. Very much a bog standard chippy but priced reasonable enough (not quite as cheap as the proverbial...) and perfectly friendly.
Nice unpretentious place for lunch. Table service, daily specials.
Favorite Dish: Spaghetti with meat sauce, I was at the end of a two week trip and just wanted something familiar, warm and filling.