Muddy eats: The Royal Oak, Bovingdon Green
I’ve meant to tell you about this pub for about two years (oops), so I’m excited to finally get around to it. Like many of the best pubs I come across, the Royal Oak in Bovingdon Green is a little off the beaten track – in this case a mile or two outside Marlow and up a steep hill, so not a place you’re going to stumble over. It has some serious credentials – winner of Buckinghamshire Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide for five years running (2011 – 2015) which isn’t too shabby, plus one of The Sunday Times 25 Best Places for Sunday Lunch in 2014. No Muddy Stilettos Award yet, but let’s see how they get on in in May this year…!
The first thing to tell you really is how ‘pubby’ this place is. Despite its serious food credentials, The Royal Oak has a very laid back local feel to it – the kind of place you’d feel very comfortable taking your kids to for an early dinner, or nibbling on some bar snacks with a glass of wine. The bar snacks are actually rather seriously – check these bad boys out, I’m totally sold on chips and gravy.
The interior is tastefully appointed but not overly styled, giving it a relaxed local vibe that I really liked – even on a weekday lunchtime when I visited it was really busy, both at the bar and the tables.
Certainly it has all the prerequisite fires and settels and wooden rustic tables you’d expect from a British pub that’s used to seeing its fair share of bitter winters, but it’s also perfectly set up for summer, with a bright, tiled, conservatory area, and a whopper, largely enclosed garden complete with petanque and plenty of room to roam for little people.
On the plate, I couldn’t fault it really. Plate after plate of beautifully presented, locally sourced food – salad, burger and a rhubarb creme brulée as a final elasticated band flourish!
There’s a real mix of pub favourites and fine dining options, so you’ll be able to please fussy eaters and more refined palates, plus there are specific menus for those who need to eat Dairy Free or Gluten Free menus. They also have an Allergen menu, so they really have their bases truly covered.
Being around 40 minutes away from the pub I’d probably use it most as a Sunday lunch option but if I was more local I’d definitely use it for a relaxed dinner too. Now that Spring has sprung, it’s worth keeping in mind for early evening drinkies too.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: relaxed foodies, family meals out, parents with young kids, casual drinkers looking for a chilled out pint in the garden. It’s all on one level with parking outside so good for those less able to navigate stairs.
Not for: The casual, local vibe might not suit those looking for a more starchy fine dining experience.
££: Reasonable. £4.50-7.75 for entrees, £11.75 – 17.50 for most mains. A chargrilled 21 day aged Scottish 10oz rib-eye steak is £23.75, desserts £5-8.50.
Frieth Road, Bovingdon Green, Nr. Marlow, Bucks SL7 2JF. Tel: 01628 488611. royaloakmarlow.co.uk