Having worked up an appetite on our GoBoat in Paddington, we made the short trip over to Marylebone to check out the first Sunday roasts coming out of Dan Doherty’s new pub, The Royal Oak.
When you’ve been executive chef at the Heron Tower’s 24-hour restaurant, Duck & Waffle, what do you do next? How do you top that? Well, if you’re anything like Dan you buy a right, proper boozer in the heart of Marylebone. It’s been quietly open for a little while, starting by serving a few small bar snacks (think sausage rolls, Ploughman’s and pickled eggs) but this Sunday they were ready to go with their roasts and we were naturally, first in line.
The Royal Oak is a beautifully grand Victorian Grade II listed building on the corner of York Street and Enford Street in Marylebone, with large windows that wrap around the building facing the adjacent streets. We started with a few nduja scotch eggs for the table which went down a treat with their bright orange yolks, before moving onto our mains.
On the roast front we had a choice of pork belly (with some pretty impressive crackling), 45 day aged shorthorn beef rib with horseradish cream or a whole chicken with crispy golden skin, stuffing and bread sauce for two to share. All of them came with a Yorkshire pud, roast potatoes, creamed celeriac, rainbow carrots and cavolo nero.
The fact we even ummed and ahhed about what to order goes to show the strength of the rest of the menu – roast cod with vine tomatoes and mojo verde, slow cooked spiced lamb shoulder with aubergine stew and smoked yoghurt – but when the waitress told us a roast would be on Dan’s death row meal, we knew what to do. Portions are large, (apart from the gravy jugs, but they were happily refilled) and staff were spot on – super friendly but chilled.
We moved outside to soak up the very last of the summer sun, tucking into crumbles and deconstructed strawberry cheesecake with a final round of drinks for the road.
The Royal Oak is shaping up to be one hell of a local.
To find out more, follow Dan on Instagram: @dandoherty_