Monday evenings are always tricky when looking for somewhere to eat out, especially when you live in the countryside. We hadn’t actually planned to eat out at all until I saw a tweet from The Oak in Defford promoting their new takeaway / collection service that would be coming soon! As one of our closest pubs this seemed like great news as there are so few takeaway options in the Pershore / Upton area. The tweet prompted me to head over to their website and peruse the menu as it had been two or three years at least since I’d last visited The Oak, and I could be wrong, but I think that the pub may be under new management since my last visit.
At the bar there were just a couple of tables filled with locals drinking after work, although there appeared to be a large party occupying the restaurant around the back. We had the dog with us so found a quiet spot in the seated area of the bar. The Oak looked exactly as I had remembered it – still a cosy country pub with charming olde worlde vibe. We ordered our drinks at the bar and after waiting for a while Mr R went back up to the bar to ask for some menus. Although it was very quiet in the bar area, the large party had clearly been keeping the staff very busy. We asked for some nachos (£3.95) to get started whilst we read through the menu. They were very simply put together with melted cheese, jalepenos and a side of salsa, but a great snack to start us off.
Listed were many of the pub classics you’d expect and hope to see such as faggots, drunken bull, bbq chicken and homemade curry. Also on offer from the grill was a selection of steaks, gammon and a burger. To start we shared the Severn & Wye smoked salmon and prawn cocktail (£6.95). The fish had all been served very fresh and the portion was extremely generous – there was nothing at all to complain about from either of us. Likewise with our other sharing starter of king prawns sauteed in chilli, ginger & garlic butter (£6.95), which were also very tasty and the prawns were juicy and cooked through, retaining their translucent colour.
Again Mr R had to go to the bar to order another round of drinks. The small glass of wine that I had asked for arrived as a large glass and when we went to pay at the end an extra glass of white that we hadn’t ordered or received had been added to the bill. We needed to ask for vinegar for the scampi and chips (£10.95) as well; the impression we got that evening was that they possibly hadn’t been expecting any additional diners in the bar with it being a Monday. It was no big deal though as the food was great and we really enjoyed rediscovering somewhere based locally where we could take the dog. Mr R’s scampi was precisely what it said on the tin. Scampi and chips is scampi and chips.
The pan fried fish and shrimp risotto (£14.95) that I’d chosen was fantastic. As before the fish was cooked to the exact point of being heated all of the way through and the chef had been careful not to spoil it in any way. The risotto was filled with a lot of baby shrimp and the sauce was rich with a burst of citrus and just the right amount of bite on the rice. Especially considering the large party that the kitchen had been catering for on that busy Monday evening, we were absolutely thrilled with our pub dinner and will almost certainly be returning for more – especially if there’s a new fish dish on offer! We’ll also be keeping an eye out for news on the freshly made stone baked pizza, Butty Bach fish & chips and curry that the Oak has been promising to add to the new takeaway / collection service.
Cost: £43.75 (food only)
1 pre starter, 2 starters, 2 mains
Defford, Worcestershire, United Kingdom – last visited in August 2018
Food hygiene rating – 4/5 good – date of last inspection 2nd March 2016