Marylebone Village – The Royal Oak Gastropub:
Marylebone is one of those London ‘villages’ that many visitors miss, or if they do see some of it, it’s only because they visited Madame Tussauds’ and ventured to the other side of the road. Despite being so central, a mere stone’s throw from Baker Street and Oxford Street, it retains a quirky charm. Where else would you find a shop called ‘Button Queen’ and ‘V V Rouleaux’ selling ribbons? There are wonderful food shops too; the Ginger Pig has stunning meat, and La Fromagerie with its amazing walk-in cheese room are both worth checking out. And an eclectic mixture of restaurants, including Michelin starred Indian restaurant Trishna and the classic French 110 de Taillevent. This all helps to make the Royal Oak feel like a proper ‘local’ rather than a West End tourist pub.
We visited for a leisurely lunch on a Saturday. We were warmly greeted and looked after really well throughout our visit. We even got to see men flower arranging!
Whilst we pondered the menu I enjoyed a glass of Pignolette Spumante Extra Dry, which was indeed a lovely dry sparkling glass of fizz. Such a nice change from the ubiquitous slightly sweet Prosecco. Meanwhile, Alex was rather thrilled to be offered a beer menu with a good eclectic choice of ales. He chose the Siren Soundwave as his first beer.
To start we shared a Nduja Scotch egg with roasted garlic aioli from the bar snack part of the food menu. It had a lovely crispy shell, with a nice spicy filling and a just oozing egg.
For my starter, I chose the Jerusalem artichokes, Tunworth cheese, endive and hazelnuts. The artichokes came cooked two ways, one soft and melting, and the other like vegetable crisps. These were beautifully offset by the soft cheese and the slight bitterness of the endive.
Alex opted for the Shorthorn beef tartare, marmite, grape mustard and toast. The tartare was declared to be nicely seasoned with a decent amount of the mustard coming through. This dish is also available as a main course.
Having decided on the fish of the day, I chose a glass of The Oddity Dry Tokaji to accompany it. My hake came with plump cockles, courgette, crispy shallots and Monk’s Beard. Monk’s Beard was a first for me; initially, I thought that it might be a type of seaweed or a relative of samphire, but it is a vegetable grown in Tuscany. Less salty than samphire, it complemented the hake rather than over-powering it.
Alex was clearly having a ‘meat day’ and ordered the Jerked pork pie which came on a bed of mash, served with gravy. This was a hearty, meaty dish, full of flavour with the warmth of the jerk seasoning coming through subtly. He chose a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord on cask to go with this dish.
I was too full for dessert, but Alex couldn’t resist the apple and pear crumble served with vanilla ice-cream. He had an Orval to accompany this. I had a spoonful of the pudding, and I can honestly say that the crumble was one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
The Royal Oak is also building a reputation for it’s Sunday lunches, traditional roasts with Yorkshire pudding are just £14. Which seems like a great reason to let someone else do the cooking!
The Royal Oak
74-76 York Street,
London, W1 1QN