The Royal Oak Press Dinner

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People often think that as a blogger I get hundreds of exciting opportunities, and really nothing could be further from the truth. However on the odd occasion, there’s a little gem that brightens up my email inbox and when I got my invite to visit the Royal Oak that was definitely one of them.

As much as I love working in central London and trying out all the amazing bars and restaurants there, there is something very comforting about friendly neighbourhood pubs. You could live in London all your life (like I have) and not find a place that people will know you in, just because it’s not practical.

The Royal Oak in Twickenham is a newly refurbished gastropub and I was very kindly invited to review a three course meal alongside a selection of beers, ales and wines that would suit the food.

To say I was excited was a complete understatement – loads of food and accompanying wines?! Who wouldn’t be excited?!

The starters and desserts were small dishes so we didn’t have individual dishes, instead there were 4/5 different starters for everyone to share. At first I thought it might be a bit awkward to share food with strangers but actually it was a great idea to get everyone talking and taste 4/5 dishes instead of just one starter.

Well played guys…

The starters were:

– Watercress Risotto, Pea Shoots (V) £7

– Chicken Livers, Smoked Lardon, Sourdough £7

– Charred Cauliflower, Romesco, Quinoa (VG) £7

– Gazpacho, Heritage Tomatoes, Tapenade (V) £6.5

– Hendricks Gin Cured Salmon, Dill, Mustard, Toast £7.8

My favourite dish was definitely the salmon on toast, it was gorgeous and I really liked the hint of mustard running through it as well. My sister really enjoyed the watercress risotto as well, it was very fresh and flavourful.

For the main course, we had already pre-picked our dishes. I chose the roast sea bream with chorizo hash and asparagus and my sister chose the chargrilled lamb that was served with salsa verde and sautéed potatoes. My sister thought the lamb was a tad tough but I couldn’t have loved my fish more. It was just the perfect dish, everything complemented everything and it was the perfect portion size.

The choice of main courses were:

–  Chargrilled Lamb Gigot, Salsa Verde, Sautè Potatoes £15.8

– Dressed Dorset Crab, Saffron Aioli, Fries £17.5

–  10OZ Bone In Sirloin, Peppercorn Sauce, Watercress £25

–  Roast Sea Bream, Chorizo Hash, Asparagus £14.5

– Aubergine, Falafel, Charred Gem, Grilled Pepper £10

– Pork Schnitzel, Fried Duck Egg, Fine Bean, Shallot & Butter Lettuce Salad £13.50

Like I mentioned before, they gave us small plates of desserts and they were insane. All (bar one) priced at £5.50, so you can definitely indulge without feeling guilty – well about the price anyways!

The desserts were:

– Banoffee Pot

– Warm Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownie, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce

– Amalfi Lemon and Raspberry Posset

– Eton Mess

– Baked Camembert, Garlic, Truffled Honey £9.8

My favourite had to be Banoffee Pot, it was just the most perfect mixture of toffee and bananas and caramel. YUM!

I thought it was so great that they invited the wine merchants and ale and beer suppliers that they use in the pub, because they gave great advice on what wines/beers to have with what food. I asked about a million questions to the wine guy about wine etiquette and now I feel very much prepared to go wine-tasting/drinking – yay!

More than anything I was so happy that I’ve found a nice family gastropub that is not too far from where I live, but also nice enough to chill at during the breezy summer evenings by the river, or on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon. If you are ever in the area of Twickenham/Richmond, you should definitely pop in!

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