After a family day out seeing the reenactment of James I knighting a loin of beef (hence, sir-loin) at Hoghton Tower, we were looking forward to a good pub meal. The Royal Oak was a stones through away, so we arrived early and sat in the beer garden for a drink before dinner. Overlooking fields, a herd of cows with their calves provided some entertainment by coming right up to the fence, much to the bemusement of 2 chocolate Labradors who had been relaxing under one of the other tables.
The Royal Oak is definitely a “proper” northern dining pub, with polished rails at the bar, thick carpet and high-back wooden benches forming booths. No gastro-pub frills just honest food and drink. We got the feeling from this that portions wouldn’t be small so we decided to select from the “nibbles” section for starter with Em choosing the spiced lamb fritters and Josh going for the Bury black pudding bonbons. Both were excellent, the lamb fritters were juicy and fragrantly spiced whilst the black pudding was peppery and soft without being dry.
Now the main menu had a really good selection without being excessive and most dishes were what you would expect from a good, British pub. Josh went for the steak and kidney pudding which was served with mushy peas and “proper” chips. It was a bold claim to make however they delivered and were really crispy with a lovely fluffy middle. The steak and Kidney pudding was also exactly as we had hoped and the onion gravy really contrasted well with the richness of the beef and brought out the natural sweetness of the kidneys.
Em had surprisingly gone for a pizza and not just any pizza but the Lancashire fisherman pizza comprising of Morecambe Bay shrimps, smoked haddock, spinach and spring onions. However she really enjoyed it and having also ordered a side of proper chips, wasn’t able to finish either!
With everyone feeling very full, the offer of “having a look at the dessert menu” was taken up and we decided to share the white chocolate cheesecake with mango and passion fruit compote served with coconut and chocolate chip ice cream. On reflection it would have been best to order one each, because this dessert was fantastic. So often pub desserts are really heavy and white chocolate is so difficult to get right as in most cases you just get lots of sweetness without any flavour. The cheesecake itself was light and tasted of good quality white chocolate. This was livened up by the tropical fruits and the ice cream just added that hint of coconut. stunning.
Thanks to the team at The Royal Oak for the great meal and service, sometimes you don’t want waiting staff who want to be the centre of attention No fuss, they just did their jobs whilst letting us get on with chatting with each other. Pubs are becoming in short supply now a days, those that do food seem to feel that they all need to provide something of a gastronomic cutting edge experience and somehow feel an average dish that sounds fancy, is better than a classic done well. There is nothing wrong with a pub just serving good pub food, there is still the demand for it but it has to be done well. The Royal Oak does proper pub food, proper chips and we are proper happy.
telephone number- 01254 201445
Address- Blackburn Old Road, Riley Green, PR5 0SL