I hope you had a good Easter; it was great to see so many of our regular clients and new faces too – many thanks for your support.
This week marked Mo’s 9th year with the Oak! Mo is our Restaurant Manager; he has been with us from virtually the start and seen us through thick and thin. Momentous effort – Congratulations Mo! Thank you just doesn’t cut it; we couldn’t have done it without you.
Last month I introduced some new faces at the Oak and this month I’m going to let some of them take the floor. So without further ado, over to Richard……….
OUTFRONT by General Manager, Richard Martinez
First and foremost I would like to take this opportunity to say it’s great to be back at The Royal Oak and a big THANK YOU to everyone for making me feel so welcome. It goes without saying that all the staff are doing a fantastic job, therefore making my return even more pleasurable. As for the guests, especially those of you who spend nearly as much time at The Royal Oak as I do, it’s been a joy to see you all again – so thank you for the call Nick!
There are a few things to mention. Firstly as most of you already know, Simon our Sommelier is working hard to revise our wine list. Please note that while the update is taking place the present online wine list provides an example but is not an accurate representation of the list available in the pub and restaurant. There is a note on the website alerting you to this fact. In the interim should you need any information about changes of vintages and prices do not hesitate to give us a call.
I would also like to remind you that we now take bookings for tables of up to 18 guests, so if you have a special occasion coming up please keep us in mind.
Finally, even though the weather has been hit and miss of late, we have been able to serve in the garden on the brighter days, sometimes with the help of the umbrellas and heaters. So if you fancy a table outside, and weather permits, to avoid disappointment please mention it when booking.
Once again, thank you all for your support and I hope to welcome you to The Royal Oak very soon.
Richard Martinez – April 2012
WHAT’S UP IN THE KITCHEN by Head Chef Dominic Chapman
ASPARAGUS SEASON HAS ARRIVED!
Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable and one that in my opinion should only be seen on a menu when grown naturally outside and in Britain. The English asparagus season has now begun; the first crops of outdoor grown asparagus have just arrived in my kitchen and we can now enjoy this stick of joy for around 8 weeks.
English Asparagus is on my menu with soft boiled eggs. I love a runny yolk with asparagus, and it acts as a delicious sauce with the beautiful, vibrantly green, crunchy spears. I am currently using Quail and Pheasant eggs. Next month the Gull eggs will arrive and for me they will add an extra rich and special touch to the asparagus.
Asparagus is also delicious with fish. John Dory is a particular favourite of mine and always very good around Easter. It’s a very versatile fish that eats very well steamed with a simple butter sauce or pan fried, perhaps in a light broth with leeks and the juices of cockles and mussels.
Diver caught scallops have been a great success recently. The diver scallop is a far superior product to any that have been pulled up with machinery. They are selected carefully so as not to upset the sea bed and they’re clean of any sand which is always present with other methods of fishing for these beautiful molluscs.
Spring Lamb has also begun; always a highlight in my kitchen calendar. I’ll buy whole lambs and use all the different cuts of meat for Navarin, Hot Pot or chops. If you can buy Spring Lamb sweetbreads then I highly recommend you try them. We are serving them with braised lettuce, onions, bacon and mint. The plump sweetbreads fried in butter just melt in your mouth and are a very special product.
Spring is the time of year when lighter dishes start to appear on our menu and with the warmer weather I look forward to cooking all the produce that is on offer. In particular all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that Suzy of Hurst Farm will start to bring to the kitchen door.
Dominic Chapman – April 2012
ALL ABOUT WINE by Sommelier, Simon Beneteau
I am Simon Beneteau, and I’m very pleased to have joined The Royal Oak Paley Street and Nick’s team as Sommelier.
Coming from the Muscadet region, in France, I have always had an interest in the vast and endless world of wine, and have been seriously studying it for the last 3 years… I have enjoyed travelling to France, England, Italy and Portugal to visit wineries and meet loads of people in the wine industry. Believe me it is a small world!
If we have not yet met, please come in to say ‘Hi’, even if it is to discuss something else other than wine…
Keep posted as each month I will share with you the best wines I have tried… Here are 2 wines I’ve tasted recently that excited my palate:-
‘Ngeringa J.E. Syrah 2009 (I am a big fan of Syrah..)’
Although this wine comes from the Adelaide Hills in Australia, it is called Syrah (and not Shiraz). Put your nose in a glass and you will understand. It does not smell Australia, but North Rhone Valley in France, Hermitage more Cote Rotie, what a beauty…
Spicy, mineral (Syrah on granite), red berries on the nose, take a sip, and the minerality hits you first then comes the spicy cherries and dry round tannins. The low alcohol content (13.5%) keeps the wine in balance and elegance. The clean acidity on the finish makes you want to have another sip… Oh well, go on then!
‘St. Julien Chateau Talbot 1990 (fourth Cru Classé)’
This famous Chateau in Bordeaux makes wines to suit all palates, and gosh this vintage did not disappoint… Open it, decant it, taste it, and retaste it. This blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot, is what a good Bordeaux should be – ageless. On the nose the light pencil sharpener flavours hit you first, followed by some stewed blackberries. Leave it to rest and you’ll find a new palette of flavours opening up. Mo correctly smells some smoky notes from the barrels. My main one was mushroomy aromas, followed closely by some noble cigar box flavours. The great fresh acidity reminds me of some excellent balsamic notes. This still young wine can age for longer as it is such a superb vintage… Only 4 bottles left!
Simon Beneteau – April 2012
Back to Nick…………..
The Harden’s Guide 2013 London & UK survey. After saying last month that Harden’s don’t give you long to complete their survey, they have now extended the deadline until 25th April 2012. If you would like to nominate us please follow this link http://www.hardens.com/survey/welcome.php.
The Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year survey continues. Entries close on 23rd of this month. There are voting postcards in the pub or you can vote online by visiting http://www.thegoodfoodguide.co.uk/feedback. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you think we deserve it, we would really appreciate your vote.
So that brings us to the end of our April newsletter! As always all that remains is for me to thank you, on behalf of everyone at The Royal Oak, for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you soon.
To make a reservation and/or for further information please:
Telephone: 01628 620541