We had tried to get a table at the Royal Oak, Riley Green, one Sunday evening when an impromptu meal out was required after a tiring day of DIY.
Unfortunately, there was no room at the inn. But taking that as a good sign we told the disappointed Little One we would do it properly next time and reserve a table.
This pretty little pub in the shadow of the magnificent Hoghton Tower is the epitome a traditional inn – log fires, beamed ceilings, cask ales and horse brasses – so cyber booking doesn’t exactly spring to mind. However a quick search for their phone number online revealed I could book via their website. Very modern!
Arriving just after noon on a sunny spring Sunday there was a quiet welcome and we were shown straight to our table in a cosy corner. The interior is as you would expect of a country pub with exposed stone walls and wood panelled bars, but just that little bit less chintzy.
There was a lovely, peaceful atmosphere with no music to distract us from the perfectly formed menu which offers plenty of options without being overwhelming. There is also a specials board offering a good choice but we all opted to stick to the main menu with Significant Other choosing the Classic Cheeseburger, the Little One sausage and mash and a Pork Loin Steak for me.
The service was impeccable and we expected our food to be on the table within minutes as it seemed other diners were already on to their desserts! However, a little time passed before our meals arrived but it was obvious any ‘wait’ we had experienced was fresh food being properly prepared. Hot and beautifully presented, my pork loin was a plate full of textures and tastes. The steak was thick and tender with a lovely barbeque flavour. It was accompanied by well seasoned bubble and squeak, sweet and soft yet crunchy redcabbage, al dente baby carrots, a lovely splash of rich gravy and a black pudding bonbon – a new one on me but, altogether, really delicious.
The Royal Oak| Riley Green, Hoghton|
Meanwhile, the cheeseburger hit all the right spots and was simply described as the best burger he’d had in ages! And the sausages and mash didn’t hang around either. Soft potatoes and a good dollop of ketchup and even my fussy eater was happy.
Having supplanted a starter for a dessert, I was on the lookout for something synonymous with Sunday lunch. And what could be better than a crumble? Taken from the specials board it was tradition with a twist – rhubard and orange. The filling was soft, sharp and tangy – a lovely contrast with the crunchy topping and sweet home-made custard flecked with vanilla. Significant Other meanwhile had opted for poached pears with rum and orange syrup. Elegantly presented, they hadn’t been over poached and had a delicately spiced orange sauce complimented nicely by top quality vanilla ice cream.
The final treat for our table was a sticky toffee pudding. Warm and soft with a thick toffee sauce it was a perfect pud, if slightly rich for a Little One.
The bill came to £54 exactly which included three soft drinks and just the one, very nice, glass of shiraz. Good value for great service and lovely food.
Sunday lunch at the Royal Oak could very easily become a tradition!