The Royal Oak
29 June 2019
There I was in June with my party planning hat on, organising a 3rd birthday party for one of my favourite little chaps, who lives in the Cotswolds. Too often I will work somewhere without giving any time or thought to the local area and what delights there may be to seen.
I am an avid fan of Giles Cohen and he appears to be an expert in hunting out the best local eateries, which is when my attention was drawn to the Chef’s Dozen, once in Chipping Campden. Upon further investigation I found that it had sadly closed it doors. But on even further investigation, the same team had decided to set up in a nearby Village, Whatcote, The Royal Oak; a pub with similarly excellent reviews.
So off we went, unsure of what to expect. From the very first moment we walked in we were impressed. Welcomed as if into the owner’s dining room, we were shown to our table in a lovely light, clean and evidently well thought out space.
I am unsure whether to start with the food or the wine; both of equally exquisite quality. A wide selection of South African wines were on offer, a list which had clearly taken some time to curate, based on the owner's own passion. Several much needed glasses of vino were had…
And on to the food. Possibly the best I have eaten in the UK for the last ten years. It falls into my favourite category of food: dishes I would not be able to recreate at home, but still feel as though the same love and attention has gone into them. Proper portions, beautifully presented.
I started with muntjac tartar, horseradish and pear. A spectacular combination; fresh, clean and not as heavy as tartar can sometimes be. I followed with leek and girolle gnocchi, served with a lovely (and perfectly cooked) orange egg yolk. Sublime. Pudding, as advised by the proprietor: strawberry, elderflower and hay custard. I could eat this for days.
The Royal Oak is absolutely worth the trip out from London. The place is a gem. It’s bursting with love. The food is colourful, seasonal and packed with flavour. There are also a plethora of beautiful walks in the area, so it’s the perfect excuse to get out of London. Get yourself in your car and get out there….I can’t wait to go back.
The Royal Oak
Photography: Nanna Dìs