The weather has been so good of late you wouldn’t think it was Autumn.
We talked about Christmas last month and interestingly since the schools have gone back and people have returned from holidays we’ve seen a big increase in Christmas bookings.
The restaurant extension is set to start on 25th September and finish by mid November in time for the Christmas festivities. I am so pleased with the plans for the extension and the garden that if I tried to explain them I would only ramble. I will keep you posted on progress and you can follow us on Twitter if you’d like to see photos.
Whilst the extension is being built the main restaurant will continue to operate as usual, closing for just a couple of days during the final stages. We will let you know the exact dates as soon as they have been clarified.
In the meantime the renovation of The Belgian Arms is well underway and looking good. We’ve had a couple of minor set backs which has pushed the opening date back to Wednesday 19th September. We’ve just set up a Twitter account for The Belgian Arms so you can follow us if you’d like to know how things are going.
Now without further ado I shall hand you over to the team.
Outfront by General Manager, Richard Martinez and Restaurant Manager, Mo Gherras
Over the last few weeks we’ve still been able to make the most of alfresco dining and will continue to do so for as long as we can, with the help of the umbrellas and heaters.
Kelly is busy booking Christmas reservations for both the new room and the main restaurant. We’re serving a Christmas Party Menu in the new room at £45 per head. The menu offers a choice of three starters, mains and desserts plus coffee and mince pies. Tables are available from the 1st December for parties of a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 40. Private dining is also available for up to a maximum of 20 people.
Throughout the festive season we will be serving our à la carte menu in the main restaurant for tables of up to a maximum of 8.
We are open as usual for Christmas Day lunch, which is always a jolly affair at The Oak. We’re serving a 5 course menu, plus coffee/tea and mince pies for £145 per head. The menu will be available on the website shortly.
New Years Eve has gone so well over the past few years we’re planning to do the same again this year. We promise no party poppers, whistles or disco. We’re offering our usual style of à la carte menu and taking bookings for tables of up to a maximum of 16.
Mo Gherras and Richard Martinez – September 2012
What’s Up in the Kitchen by Head Chef, Dominic Chapman
The Autumnal change of produce always brings a smile to our kitchen The changing seasons always brings something new and exciting to the kitchen. Autumn is a very exciting time of year for a chef as produce is beginning to get a little more wholesome. Blackberries, Apples, Quince, Root Vegetables and Game are all now available. A simple walk in the lanes or fields can inspire some classic dishes; creative juices are now on overdrive.
Picking blackberries is great fun for kids and definitely one of my fondest childhood memories. Blackberries and apples are everywhere now and making a crumble is a favourite pastime of mine.
Crab apple jelly making is another kitchen ritual that I very much look forward to in the autumn – it’s a satisfying job. These little red apples are not for eating but make the most wonderful jelly that also works brilliantly with game. The colour of the jelly cannot be replicated and always impresses anyone who eats it and it’s so much better than buying red currant jelly from a shop.
Another Autumnal Classic is sweet corn, grilled on the BBQ with lots of butter or turned into a beautiful silky soup with cockles and bacon – a dish about to appear on our menu.
Scottish Girolles, Scottish Raspberries, Cepes, Sprats, Razor Clams, Cob Nuts, Puff Balls and Damsons are also at their best at this time of year.
There is so much great produce around, the list just goes on and on.
Dominic Chapman – September 2012
All About Wine by Sommelier, Simon Beneteau
This month I would like to share with you a rather special Petit Chablis and a delightful dessert wine.
Petit Chablis Durup 2010
This wine is from the Burgundy region and has been on our selection by the glass for a month now. It is exactly what I like about a good chablis; pure, crisp, clean and refreshing…
This 30 year old family run domaine has been producing some great Chablis from the beginning. Jean Durup is not a proponent of oak and all of his wines are both vinified and matured in temperature controlled lined cement vats and stainless steel. Petit Chablis has long been considered the “underdog” of Chablis, but in my opinion it now deserves a place on every wine list.
Sauternes-Barsac Chateau Coutet 1998 – Dessert Wine
This Sauternes Barsac shows some really subtle and refreshing flavours such as jasmine, citrus, vanilla, pineapple, nuts… Let’s not forget the typical Botrytis Cinerea known also as “noble rot” (a little fungus, spreading in the vineyard and allowing the grape to lose its water and retain the sugar), which creates that honeysuckle flavour typical of the Sauternes wines…
It goes perfectly with Dom’s greengage tart which is on the menu at the moment. The grape blend is over 80% Semillon, 15% Sauvignon Blanc and almost 5% Muscadelle. The wine is light, elegant and fresh. This particular first growth classed chateau is one of my all time favourite sweet wines. It’s available by the bottle and will soon be available by the glass too…
Simon Beneteau – September 2012
Back to Nick…………..
That’s all from us, all that remains is for me to thank you on behalf of everyone at The Royal Oak for your continued support, which we really appreciate. We look forward to seeing you soon.