Birthday meals – The Mole Inn

We celebrated my wife’s birthday recently. Now one of the things she enjoys, is a good meal. Hence I had made plans to take her our for lunch to the Mole Inn which is not far from where we live. For dinner, I had planned to cook her favourite meal – tomato and basil soup, Wagyu rib-eye steak served with fresh leafy salad, mash potato with peppercorn sauce.

The first time we went to the Mole Inn was the last time we experienced the solar eclipse in UK 2 years ago. We both enjoyed the experience and the food, and hence I knew this would be the logical choice for lunch to celebrate my wife’s birthday. The benefit of choosing this place is that it is only about 5-10 minutes away from where we live and has ample free parking.

The Mole Inn entrance
The Mole Inn entrance
The Mole Inn, in Toot Baldon, Oxford
The Mole Inn, in Toot Baldon, Oxford

It has a lovely garden with outdoor dining, which was occupied by the majority of diners as the weather was warm and sunny. We decided to dine inside.

Compass in front of the Mole Inn
Compass in front of the Mole Inn
Flower Garden at the Mole Inn
Flower Garden at the Mole Inn

As my wife loves to eat olives (which are good for your health), so we ordered this appetiser which we snacked on while looking through the menu.

Appetiser - olives
Appetiser – olives

My wife settled for a starter on the A la carte menu – the delicious baby squid calamari served with black garlic mayonnaise sauce.

A la Carte Starter - baby squid calamari, lemon, black garlic mayo
A la Carte Starter – baby squid calamari, lemon, black garlic mayo

I decided to order the set menu. Starter – hummus with roasted red peppers, feta and ciabatta croutons. Mains – grilled North Atlantic Haddock, pea & herb mash, seafood vinaigrette.

Starter from set menu - Hummus with roasted red peppers, feta, ciabatta croutons
Starter from set menu – Hummus with roasted red peppers, feta, ciabatta croutons
Grilled North Atlantic haddock, pea & herb mash, seafood vinaigrette
Grilled North Atlantic haddock, pea & herb mash, seafood vinaigrette

My wife ordered her main from the a la carte menu as well – grilled fillet of sea bream, linguine in a fish cream sauce with mussels, tomatoes & samphire.

Grilled fillet of sea bream, linguine in a fish cream sauce with mussels, tomatoes & samphire
Grilled fillet of sea bream, linguine in a fish cream sauce with mussels, tomatoes & samphire

Suffice to say the food was excellent, and wife enjoyed the meal immensely. But that was just the start to the celebration, as there was more I had prepared for dinner.

I had bought two trays of living leafy salad from Asda in the beginning of the week. The idea is that if you pick the leaves just before serving, it will be much fresher than the salad which are already prepacked in bags. So after I had fried the Wagyu rib-eye steak, I cut the leafy salad, washed and dried them and served it so it is as fresh as salad can get.

Leafy salad in a tray
Leafy salad in a tray

This is my wife’s favourite dinner, which is why I cooked it for her.

Wagyu rib-eye steak, fresh leafy salad, mash potatoes, peppercorn sauce
Wagyu rib-eye steak, fresh leafy salad, mash potatoes, peppercorn sauce

To go with the meal, I had to choose a very nice wine. I decided to open a bottle of Vieux Chateau Certan (2nd growth from Pomerol, Bordeaux). This 1999 wine was bought over 9-10 years ago from the Wine Society. I am a wine collector and actually prefer to collect than drink wine, but it was a perfect wine to go with the food as it is now nice and mature at 17 years age.

Vieux Chateau Certan 1999
Vieux Chateau Certan 1999

As you can see, the cork is pristine even after 15 years in bottle which means that it was kept optimally during all that time. The wine was absolutely lovely, with aromas of plums, chocolate and cedar – in fact, it was very perfumery like the wine from the Margaux region. My wife definitely enjoyed it, and in fact felt that it continued to improve in glass during the evening which is an indication of how good a wine it is; in fact I had decanted it 1 1/2 hours before serving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My wife chose the Sainsbury’s Taste the difference Lemon Drizzle cake, and I included chocolate eclair for my daughters. The tangy cake was a great ending to the meal, and was not too rich.

Lemon Drizzle cake with chocolate eclair
Lemon Drizzle cake with chocolate eclair

My wife was beaming the day after her birthday, which tells me that the birthday celebration was a success. As she has been a great wife and mother, it was my wife of thanking her for all the love and effort she has put in for this family. I’m really chuffed that she enjoyed it!

Boon