The Royal Oak Newsletter – January 2013

Nick’s Monthly Round-Up

Happy New Year from every one at The Royal Oak.  Hope you had a great Christmas and enjoyed your new year celebrations.  Thank you to everyone who supported us over the festive period.  It was great to see so many of you and I am delighted to say we recorded our best Christmas ever.

We had our joint Belgian Arms, Royal Oak Christmas party last Sunday, so the team are in great spirits with many a tale to tell.

Outfront by Restaurant Manager,
Mo Gherras and the Team

The Christmas decorations are down and most people are getting back to work, school and uni.

To brighten up January we have a little bit of New Zealand coming to The Oak.  On Wednesday 16th January Jean-Marie Pratt from the multi award winning TerraVin winery will introduce you to some delicious wines from the Marlborough region in New Zealand.  The evening will include a four course meal and matching wines.  Places are available at £100 each.  To find out more please click here.

It might sound a little early to be talking about Valentine’s, but it will only be a week or so away when we circulate our February newsletter.  Valentine’s falls on a Thursday this year.  We are offering a 5 course menu and a glass of champagne on arrival for £85 per person.  A vegetarian menu is also available.  Valentine’s is always busy, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

The Good Food Guide ‘Pick of the Pubs Chefs Dinner’ that is taking place on 4th February sold out within a week of announcing it in the last newsletter.  However, do not worry we have many other exciting events lined up for 2013.  More about them in due course……

If you are looking for a venue for an off-site company meeting or want to impress your prospective or existing clients don’t forget our Oak room.  We provide meeting facilities combined with high end hospitality in a tranquil and professional environment.  Half and full day delegate rates are available or we can arrange a bespoke event to meet your specific needs.  We also cater for both private and business functions, receptions and parties. For more information see our website and/or call Kelly on 01628 620541 or email.



Epoisses De Bourgogne is one of the most popular strong cheeses in the world.  Napoleon was a particular fan of the cheese.  At the start of the sixteenth century, the village located around halfway between Dijon and Auxerre was home to a Cistercian community at L’Abbaye de Citeaux who, according to oral legend, began production of the cheese. Two hundred years later, when the community moved, they left local farmers the recipe, which they continued to develop over the next century.

Although popular at the start of the 20th century, with over 300 farms manufacturing the cheese, production had all but died out by the end of the Second World War. This was due to the loss of a significant proportion of the male population, leaving the women to work the fields, which in turn led to the neglect of the local dairy businesses and cheese-making.

Epoisses is Camembert shaped, with a juicy rich flavour. Tasting rather strong and wonderfully aromatic with an almost melting quality and slightly flaky consistency, it is a pungent unpasteurized cows-milk cheese. Smear-ripened (washed in marc de Bourgogne, the local  brandy!) best served with a good dark beer or even Sauternes.


Mo Gherras and The Team – January 2013

What’s Up in the Kitchen by Head Chef,
Dominic Chapman

Down but not out

On Friday 7th December I went out to walk the dog as usual, It was a frosty morning but the air was fresh and filled my lungs with excitement for my day off and the on-coming rush of Christmas parties in our new room.

My walk was coming to an end; I was on the road heading home and another dog was coming our way. Gilbert can be excitable with other dogs and the dog heading our way had history with us so I pulled the lead tight.  Gilbert was becoming agitated and I could see he was ready for a scrap.  As I bent down to grab his collar, I lost my footing. Was it an icy road or was I pulled off my feet – I have no idea; all I know is I went down and it hurt. I lay in the road for a second, and then tried to move – I was unable to get up.

I pulled myself to the side of the road.  A lorry drove past covering me with a puddle of water and on its return it did the same again.

The other dog walker went to fetch my wife, Helena, who brought the car and I managed to pull myself to my feet and get in. We called an ambulance and waited; an hour later it arrived. They gave me gas and air, pain killers and examined me.  The crew thought I was badly bruised and that with pain killers and rest I should be ok.  For the rest of the day I hardly moved.

The following morning I still couldn’t walk. I drove myself to hospital where I was given some crutches and instructed to get an x-ray.

Anticipating a long wait for an x-ray and thinking I was badly bruised, I headed for some lunch at the Belgian Arms.  After a very good lunch, armed with a cook book, Nick Parkinson offered to drive me to A&E. I waited a couple of hours for the x-ray which revealed I had broken my hip – what brilliant news!  This was exactly what I needed just before Christmas in the busy restaurant business.

Two days later, after an operation to put three pins in my hip, many pain killers, a few plates of microwaved hospital food and too much time to think about how unpredictable life can be, I was heading home to recover. The prescribed remedy – six weeks of being very careful not to place any weight on my damaged hip.

I’m now almost 5 weeks into my recovery; everyone at the Royal Oak has been very kind.  A huge thanks to Nick for all his support and my team in the kitchen who have all been amazing. They pulled together and worked so hard over the busy Christmas period. They have all impressed me and proved how capable they all are at maintaining our high standards and high spirits whilst under pressure in the kitchen. Once again it has made me realise how incredibly proud I am of them all.  I look forward to thanking them properly, with a good night at the pub when I’m back on my feet.

Look forward to seeing you all in 2013.

Dominic Chapman – January 2013

All About Wine by Sommelier, Simon Beneteau

Which bottles of wine did you open over the festive period?

As promised, this month I would like to introduce you to one of our special wines by the glass selected to lift you during the cold and gloomy month of January : Stanton and Killeen Rutherglen Muscat.

This wine has been available since the beginning of December to complement the end of the year desserts.

Coming from the Rutherglen wine region in North East Victoria in Australia, it is uniquely made from Muscat a Petit Grain Rouge grape, which has been fortified and then aged in an oak barrel and blended with previous vintages.

The young fresh and pleasant nose reminds me of raisins, cocoa, coffee, toffee, rose petals, orange blossom and a slight tone of lavender. This is my first choice for some of our current desserts: butterscotch pudding, bread and butter pudding, Cambridge burnt cream.  Have a little glass, whilst stocks last!

Don’t forget to book your table for the TerraVin wine dinner, on Wednesday 16th January, there are only a few tables left…

As the Mayan got it wrong, thank you for this year, and have a great year and prosperous 2013!

Simon Beneteau – January 2013

Back to Nick…………..

That’s all from us.  As always I would like to thank you on behalf of everyone at The Royal Oak for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Warm regards,

Set Menu
Choose 2 courses for £25.00 or 3 for £30.00 from our table d’hôte winter-2013-set-menu plus petit fours, coffee or tea. Available:-
Lunch:  Monday – Saturday
Dinner: Monday – Thursday

Royal Oak Gift Vouchers
Our gilt edged gift vouchers make the ideal gift for any occasion. Ask at reception or call or email for more information.

The Royal Oak Wine Club
Is for those who enjoy wine and are keen to learn more about it.  Wine club members have the opportunity to attend wine tastings and purchase wine and special events at discounted prices.  For more information contact Roz

To make a reservation and/or for further information please:

Email: Reservations
Email: Info
Book Online
Telephone:   01628 620541

About The Royal Oak Paley Street

Welcome to The Royal Oak. Behind the smart black and white frontage lies a warm and stylish 17th century pub. Once inside the beamed ceilings, wooden floors and friendly welcome soon confirm you’re in the right place. The Royal Oak is a restaurant styled pub serving great British food cooked to perfection. Our extensive wine list boasts some impressive titles and offers something to suit all palates and purses – and rest assured; we haven’t forgotten how to pull a good pint!
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