It’s been more than 12 months since we last visited our most local pub, The Royal Oak in Kinnersley, situated near Severn Stoke and just a few miles from Upton-upon-Severn. We had a good meal there when it was managed by its previous Italian owners at Da Tony Restaurant, but there was something about the vibe of the place that meant we didn’t rush to go back. Since then The Royal Oak has also hosted an Indian restaurant for a short time, and then in March 2018 we noticed when driving past that the pub was again under new management.
I’d spotted the new menu on Facebook and thought it sounded really good. There seemed to be a great choice of main dishes as well as offering some of the pub classics. After telling my Mum about it she very kindly offered to treat the two of us to dinner and we went along early on a Saturday evening after work. On arrival we went straight to the bar where we were greeted by a familiar friendly face. Peter Fryar recently retired as landlord from the Rose and Crown in Severn Stoke and is now putting in a few shifts at The Royal Oak to keep his hand in, and to stay in touch with some of his old customers. We went straight to our table in the restaurant, the tables covered in the same yellow linen as our last visit when it had been an Italian.
Mum and I also recognised our waitress Misha as she used to work at the Masons Arms in Wadborough before it closed in August 2016. Misha bought out a specials board, and although the scallops and hake sounded amazing we were a little nervous about ordering fish when we hadn’t eaten from the menu previously. We decided to start with a baked Camembert (£12.50) to share which came out hot and gooey, and had been infused with sprigs of rosemary. Homemade crostinis for dipping in the cheese were nicely toasted and covered with pieces of garlic. A side of onion marmalade had a hint of chilli and was a lovely accompaniment to add texture and sweetness – it was delicious.
I’d been to the Worcester Food Festival earlier that day and had a burger for lunch, otherwise that might have been my choice for dinner. Instead I opted for the small fish and chips from the bar menu (£7.95), a larger version was also available at £10.95. Also from the bar menu Mum went with a small Royal Oak curry (£8.95) as she knew she wouldn’t be able to eat one of the larger main meals after the Camembert starter. I clearly didn’t inherit my eating habits from her! The curry was made with chicken, peppers, onions and flavoured with spices. It was a proper homemade curry and super tasty. The small sized portion was ample, but as with all of the bar menu options a larger size was also available at £11.95. The curry was served with basmati rice, poppadums and mango chutney. My mother is a very good cook and not always the easiest to please when eating out, but she was very impressed with her food and managed to finish most of the curry.
Following a recent trip to Padstow and Dartmouth, the fish & chips was a brave choice for me since we’d been eating fish straight out of the sea cooked by the people who know how to do it best. The chef would have totally been forgiven if they weren’t up to scratch, but they were. No, they weren’t only up to scratch, they were as good as the ones on our coastal trip. I’ll just say it – they were the best fish & chips I’ve eaten in Worcestershire so far. The presentation had been given care and attention, the mushy peas were vibrant yet a more refined version of the chippy peas we so love in this country, and the thick cut chips were perfectly crispy. We were satisfied, stuffed and this time were unable to squeeze in a dessert, although I wished that we could.
Throughout our dinner, Misha and the young gentleman who had been serving us were immensely attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. The food and service were faultless. We also didn’t feel that strange vibe that had put us off from returning in the past. Quite the opposite as the restaurant was filled with people having a great time and enjoying their food. We sat outside for a while whilst finishing our drinks in the sunshine. As the pub is only 2 miles from home I couldn’t wait to get back and tell Mr R all about it so we can walk there in the evenings with the dog for a bite to eat and a few drinks. There’s so much I want to go back and try, as not only do they have an extremely talented young chef in the kitchen (Lee), but I’ve since learnt that the current Landlady, Samia Pitt, also cooks up her specials on a Monday night, with many of her dishes being influenced by her Tunisian heritage. Samia had previously been running The Old Chestnut Tree in Lower Moor, Pershore – a pub that had an extremely good reputation for its food and one that landlady Samia and landlord Richard are already building for the Royal Oak from the offset.
Cost: £29.40 (food only)
1 sharing starter, 2 mains
Kinnersley, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in June 2018
Food hygiene rating – 4/5 good – date of last inspection 10th April 2018