Michelin starred pub owned by Michael Parkinson serving homely favourites
This was a pleasant return to The Royal Oak, owned by TV presenter Michael Parkinson, Lady Parkinson and their son Nick. Some excellent nibbles consisted of smoked haddock hash browns with curried mayonnaise and a very well done scotch egg. The starters of mackerel (with watermelon and gazpacho) and chicken thighs (with horseradish relish and roasted salsify) were both perfectly agreeable. The mains were even better consisting of fillet steak (mushrooms, spinach and good bearnaise) and partridge with a superb foie gras bonbon with celeriac puree and cabbage. Desserts of baked chocolate ganache with honey ice cream and an apple cake with whipped custard and calvados ice cream were simple and cracking. The only hiccup of this meal was the fact that one of the plates could not rest flat, being raised on the underside centre and continuously wobbled but this was a minor, cosmetic inconvenience.
With wine, petit four and coffee, the whole dinner bill came to £161 for two which is very good value considering it is 5 courses each, but moreover, is uncomplicated food that people enjoy having and done well. A very effective combination and this second visit proving it to be a very safe and enjoyable option.
Food Grade: 79%
This was a very pleasant pub to visit and Sir Michael Parkinson, Lady Parkinson and their son Nick have turned the interior of this pub into a highly elegant and comfortable dining venue. Conveniently positioned next to the B3204, a short distance from the M4, it’s well worth a value lunch if you are driving along the M4 and you can make it fit in with the journey.
The large whitebait with garlic mayonnaise was nice to have as an opener; the parfait that was shared was done well but the points rose with a very delicately and stylishly delivered steak with beautifully sweet and viscous red wine jus and the steak and kidney pie was just about as good as you can get technically, and as this is a place where care is taken to detail, the petits fours were a welcome alternative to dessert as we were actually quite full.
It was a very pleasing lunch here, showing sound technical skill and a good return on flavours. The only negatives really are that it is so nice inside, it feels like a full-blown restaurant and not a pub, which therefore makes the exterior a bit of a let down aesthetically and a surprise to not be more like a pub inside. The fact that one really does need a car for a meal here also reduces drink possibilities for one at least. However, if it works with the journey, one will be pleased with the drop in.
Food Grade: 75%
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