13 Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AB www.theroyaloaktwickenham.co.uk
The Royal Oak in Twickenham is the latest pub from Hippo Inns, boasting a big open dining space, a large outside area and a central bar adorned with two large copper tanks set to dispense specially brewed Truman’s beer, RAW.
The food is what I would describe as elevated pub food, which focuses on championing seasonal British ingredients in simple, no fuss dishes.
As well as a varied menu, with everything from Hendricks gin cured salmon to chicken livers on toast (it is sourdough) to start, The Royal Oak also serves daily specials. If, when you go, they have their garlic king prawns I would recommend tucking in.
A mound of king prawns arriveds soaked in pungent garlic butter that invites you to dive in, with thick slices of bread to absorb it afterwards. The finger bowl is certainly necessary as this isn’t a dish for those wanting to stay clean.
If you’re after something a bit more traditional, the chicken livers with smoked lardons on sourdough is a hearty, warming dish. Potentially not one for a summer’s day but as those seem to be few and far between this year, it is a tasty option indeed.
The chargrilled lamb gigot makes a great alternative to the traditional pub steak Ã¢â‚¬â€œ although they do have what looks like a very tempting bone in sirloin steak on the menu too. It’s served with sautÃƒÂ© potatoes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a nice change to chips Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and a well-seasoned salsa verde dripping in olive oil. No complaints from me.
For something a touch lighter, the dressed Dorset crab is a fantastic dish. The crabmeat was smooth but still maintained texture, as in you could see each individual piece of meat. When you took a bite, it tasted sweet and creamy, with a slight hint of salt from the sea. The fries were well cooked Ã¢â‚¬â€œ crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, just as they should be. The only slight disappointment was the saffron aioli, which had turned slightly bitter.
Something we didn’t try but which looked fantastic when it came out of the kitchen, was The Royal Oak’s foot long pizza planks. With a variety of different, interesting toppings, including pulled lamb with fennel and pomegranate, these seem like a great choice for those looking for a sharing dish.
If after all that you still have room, the warm chocolate and hazelnut brownie is delightful. This is definitely a dish for chocolate lovers Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it is a thick slab of rich, indulgent decadence. Just in case that wasn’t enough, they also drizzle it with chocolate sauce and add a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Another dish that looked fantastic and a bit of a quirky alternative to the standard cheese board on the dessert menu was the baked Camembert with garlic and truffle honey. I imagine this would be a rich, gloopy dish that would be great shared amongst three or four people.
I had a great time at the Royal Oak. Friendly service, a great setting and very moreish food. There are so many things I would like to try on the menu, that I can definitely see myself heading back soon.