The Royal Oak has transitioned well through its recent chef change. It has stuck to the formula that has served it well: appealing dishes based on good ingredients and friendly service. This may not sound like rocket science, but how many restaurants actually succeed in achieving this? There are no artfully tweezed foraged weeds here, no shrubbery in the desserts, just attractive British dishes.
At this meal, Wye valley green and white asparagus with a crispy quail egg was excellent, the quality of the asparagus impressive for so late in the season, paired with a nicely made Hollandaise sauce (16/20).
The pie tonight was guinea fowl rather than the long-standing rabbit and bacon one, but it was equally lovely: excellent pastry, plenty of tender meat and topped with gravy (15/20). Triple cooked chips here are properly made and lovely, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
A dessert of raspberry arctic roll with honeycomb and cherries worked well, the textures nicely combining (15/20). This was a little better than the lemon curd. Lime meringue, ruby grapefruit and citrus sorbet, which was pleasant and refreshing but not thrilling (14/20).
The service was excellent throughout, and the bill came to £51 per head with just water and coffee to drink. This seems to me very good value for high quality, enjoyable food in a relaxed setting.