Nick’s Monthly Round-Up
Winter is most definitely here. The fireworks started last week and will no doubt carry on until the end of the month. We’ve lit the wood burner and Christmas present lists are in circulation.
Talking of which the Royal Oak gift vouchers make ideal Christmas presents and could be the answer for those who are difficult to buy for.
The restaurant extension is going well and is on target to complete at the end of the month. We are closed on Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th November when the wall separating the existing restaurant from the new room will be knocked through. The main restaurant will re-open on Wednesday 14th November and the New Room will open on Saturday 1st December.
The New Room enables us to offer private dinning for both personal and company use. We are also offering meeting facilities; ideal for customer, prospect or internal company meetings when you want to combine work with a little luxury dining in a non-corporate but professional environment. Call Kelly on 01628 620541 or email for more information.
Outfront by General Manager, Richard Martinez and Restaurant Manager, Mo Gherras
First we would like to thank everyone who attended the Mas de Daumas Gassac wine dinner on the 24th October, and a special thanks to so many of you for your positive feedback and kind words.
We are delighted to announce that the next wine dinner is scheduled for Wednesday 16th January 2013, when we will introduce you to Jean-Marie Pratt from the multi award winning Terravin winery in New Zealand. The evening will include a four course meal and matching wines. Places are available at £120 each. This might be something that you’d like to add to your Christmas list or give as a present to someone special.
We’re serving a christmas-2012-set-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’ve only a few tables remaining for Christmas Day lunch, when we are serving a 5 course menu, plus coffee/tea and mince pies for £140 per head. Please click christmas-day-lunch-2012 to take a look at the menu.
On New Years Eve we’re offering our usual style of à la carte menu and taking bookings for tables of up to a maximum of 16. No party poppers, whistles or disco – we promise. Tables are limited and going fast, so if you haven’t yet made your booking please do so soon to avoid disappointment.
Please note, we are closed on Christmas Day night, New Years Day and Boxing Day and open for business as usual throughout the rest of the festive season.
During November you might notice a few changes on the faces of the male team at the Oak. Mo, Simon, Michael, Ian and the team are embracing UK Movember to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. If you’d like to support them please visit their Movember webpage.
MO’S CHEESE BOARD
Every Cheese Board needs a Cheddar!
In my last 9 years at the Royal Oak we have tried so many cheddar cheeses, but I have to say Montgomery cheddar is king!!
James Montgomery is ever attentive to the nuances of flavour as this is the fruit of his planning. He thoroughly researches the herd’s feed in order to get the right levels of fat and protein in the milk. It’s a careful balance between grass, solid food like silage or hay and starches or sugars (potatoes grown by his brother Archie for instance).
Fat and protein levels in the milk are carefully monitored because it has a huge effect on the texture of the cheese. Too much fat and you get a moist cheese, which tends to have tangier sharper flavours rather than the sweet, nutty meatiness that is characteristic of a Montgomery.
At the Royal Oak we serve Montgomery’s Extra Mature Cheddar. The fuller flavour that the 18 month maturation process brings to the palate is nuttier, the spiciness rises which gives it a more peppery taste. As you’d expect the texture is a little drier than the mature cheddar due to the length of the maturation process.
Mo Gherras and Richard Martinez – November 2012
What’s Up in the Kitchen by Head Chef, Dominic Chapman
The Turkeys gobble as the pot begins to bubble
At the beginning of November there is always a lull before the storm. Christmas is now around the corner and the craziest time in any restaurant is heading our way.
I love winter in the kitchen; the mornings are cold and it’s always nice opening up the kitchen and lighting the ovens. Gone are those boiling hot days of summer, it’s now the heat of the ovens that warms our souls.
Freshly baked bread is the first job of the day and next…..checking in deliveries and then preparing winter specials like braised Ox Cheeks, Mallard “en Croute” or Lamb Hot Pot.
Blackberries and plums have finished and we now have apples, quince and shortly Yorkshire rhubarb. Yorkshire rhubarb is a favourite winter fruit, beautiful in flavour and vibrant in colour. Great in crumbles, trifles or stewed with custard; an absolute winner on any menu.
Cornish sardines and mackerel are brilliant at the moment, served with apple puree and a little chilli vinaigrette. These fish are delicious and while they’re in such good condition they’re a joy to have on the menu. Sprats are another brilliant winter fish, deep fried and served with mayonnaise, as they appear on our current set menu. Sprats make a tasty dish and I believe they should be seen on more menus in Britain.
As we move into winter proper my game will begin to change; grouse will soon be replaced with woodcock, teal or snipe – all delicious and all so different in flavour.
The ever changing seasons continue to bring excitement to our kitchen. The start of winter means new delicious ingredients and new dishes on the menu. Dishes like braised pork with lentils, lamb stews with cabbage or chicken and ham pies with creamed potatoes – all warming plates of food to keep the winter cold at bay.
Let’s look forward to December and that crazy time of year.
Dominic Chapman – November 2012
All About Wine by Sommelier,
This month I would like to talk to you about another new comer to our selection of wine by the glass. It’s a Merlot from a great winery called Bogle in California, the Sacramento region. Created in 1965, by father and sons from a long legacy of farmers. This winery has been producing superb white and red wines for decades! Starting with only 8 hectares they are now producing wines from 14 different vine sites, totalling 15 hectares.
Merlot is a must have on any good restaurant selection by the glass; made from the mass produced to the most elegant of the wines… Petrus to name but one!
This thin skinned, dark blue colour grape takes its name from the translation of the blackbird from France, “Merle”. It is a large berry and a early ripening grape variety. Unlike its Bordeaux companion, Cabernet Sauvignon, it pretty much always releases a soft, plummy, berry, currant freshness, making it really accessible but complex too.
I love the 12 month aged in an American oak barrel taste of this 2010 vintage. It is bright cherry and dry herbs on the nose and silky black currant, summer fig, with intense pepper notes on the palate. This could be a perfect match to our very local blue cheese, Barkham Blue…
Simon Beneteau – November 2012
Back to Nick…………..
That’s all from us. I hope you’ve enjoyed this months newsletter. As always I would like 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.
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