It all starts so brilliantly, strangely, positively. We parked at the Royal Oak at Freith road, Marlow. I saw one of the chef team in the window. I waved, for no real reason. And he waved back. And said “hope you have a nice meal’. It bodes well, and we were not disappointed. In fact, I kept telling the new serving person, Georgia, who was on day seven of her career, “don’t keep saying is it OK…it isn’t. It is far better than that”. (I also said to her I couldn’t believe she was at the end of week one. She knew the place. She knew the style. She knew the need. Excellent!)
We’d been to the Royal Oak many times over the years. For my 50th. For Janies leaving do from work. And for lots of other celebratory level to simple lunch type meals. And forgotten for a year. You can’t fix the past. But it does mean we will go back soon, after this amazing meal.
I’d told them it was our 31st wedding anniversary but yto provide gratis bubbles was a lovely surprise. It does make you feel good.
Then Jay helped us with some recommendations. Douro Portuguese red. To go with our meaty small plates. I had local pigeon, seared small pieces, tasty and earthy. And looking Michelin. (They don’t want or need that…there’s enough in Marlow already but gee-whiz, it does make everyone try harder.) Jane’s shredded and finely fried off duck breast was described by Jane to Maitre D Jay as ‘very ducky’. There was no better description. Wild and gorgeous. It was tasty moist and crisp – quite a delightful conflagration. There were more…
Jane went for a second small plate. Prawns with linguine. And a tiny amount of late added chilli flakes. A bit of heat, without taking the fishiness away from the quite special prawns.
I did a big plate. Ooooh. Astonishing English koftkas. With the usual minty yoghurt. OK – herbs from their garden. But to add the homemade hummus under the koftkas. And the field mushroom stuffed with too many things for me to count – just makes you silent and reverential in the eating.
Why did we have the triple cooked chips too? Because we did, and didn’t really need them. But the few we managed were a fine addition.
And then. Sweets. Sorry. Mad mad mad. Madly lovely. Chocolate brûlée. This was just out of this world – slippy, shiny, a full on chocolate hit, with no compromise. And second pud? Carrot cake. But with just a clinically good amalgam of goats milk ice cream with Greek honey. Sweet and sour. Happens in every world cuisine and it suits.
Lovely crema on the coffee. Stunning mid level Armagnac. What a splendid celebration. Thanks team. We will be back.