Twickenham’s New Community Pub – the Royal Oak:
A couple of months ago I reviewed The Eagle pub in Ladbroke Grove, part of the burgeoning Hippo Inns group, who are creating community pubs with good nosh and freshly brewed Truman beer straight from glorious copper tanks above the bar. I enjoyed my night at The Eagle which was buzzing with locals having a good time eating, drinking and enjoying the pub quiz.The next addition to their portfolio is The Royal Oak in Twickenham which opened on July 6th. So when the opportunity came to review and to catch up with my sister who lives locally it was a no-brainer. Just like The Eagle, The Royal Oak serves Truman RAW beer but it is the only pub in the Hippo group with a pizza oven allowing them to offer enticing sounding ‘foot-long pizza planks.’The interiors are stylish and idiosyncratic and with a quiz night, pilates, yoga and salsa classes you can see it becoming a popular destination for locals. The Royal Oak has the additional bonus of an outside terrace, with long sofas perfect for an evening’s lounging at the end of a summer’s day.To celebrate the sun my sister and I started with a perfectly blended Aperol Spritz that set us off on a good foot.Starters of juicy crevettes in lashings of garlic butter came with toasted sourdough. I also enjoyed delicately spiced chickpea falafel with an authentic tasting txaziki and pita bread fresh from the pizza oven.Chargrilled lamb gigot came with a salsa verde and sauté potatoes. The meat was tender with a real depth of flavour. A classic jammy glass of Pinot Noir, Domaine de Valmoissine, Var, Louis Latour 2013/14 was bursting with blackberry flavours and a hint of spice. It was a great match with the lamb. A melony, peachy glass of Chardonnay De Wetshof Estate, South Africa 2016 worked well with my Dressed Dorset Crab. The crustacean was fresh and came with a lovely saffron aioli and perfectly crisp fries. It’s fab to find a ‘simple’ plate of food like this so well executed in a suburban pub.The Banoffee pot was like a really good version of the pie in a pot. Unctuous caramel, cream and banana and a biscuit base combined to create a delicious dessert. And Eton Mess was a decadent collision of crunchy meringue with lashings of cream and strawberries…With starters around the £7 mark and mains in the mid-teens The Royal Oak is an affordable place for an evening out with friends or family. They do a Sunday roast and a Saturday bottomless brunch as well as the regular restaurant menu and the pizzas can be taken away. I really like the Hippo Inns philosophy of a community pub with food that is better than it need be. If you’re in the area you should try it out.
13 Richmond Road,