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The Three Oaks, Gerrard’s Cross

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There are pubs that you clock every day as you drive by, and then there are pubs that you’d never find in a million trillion years without a bit of assistance from the likes of your intrepid superscoffer.

The Three Oaks falls into the second category, a fabulous country dining pub in Chalfont St Peter, just outside Gerrard’s Cross in the winding countryside that I’d certainly never seen before, despite regular zipping around that area. The Three Oaks has a Michelin Bib Gourmand to its name from 2014 with its chef Mikey Seferynski’s past CV including the Hand & Flowers, The Grove and The Fat duck so that gives you a fair idea of its standing in the gastronomic stakes. It’s definitely more of a restaurant than a pub in terms of its dining offering, though there are some casual seats at the bar for drinkers and it maintains a very approachable vibe – in the conservatory, for example, there was a 70th table setting complete with balloons and ribbons, and the pub was really buzzy with a mix of customers from businessy drop-ins to girls lunches and a smattering of older folk.

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The Three Oaks is attractive in that familiar ‘country inn’ way, by which I mean that it feels well-heeled, well cared for and tastefully furnished with the now ubiquitous banquette seating, tactile tartans and painted woods. More extraordinary is the food, with a set lunch menu of quite stupendous value at £12 for 2 courses or £15 for 3 courses. The food was excellent, starting with a soused beetroot salad, with raspberry, walnut, goat’s curd dressing – crunchy in the right places, the raspberry complementing the goat’s curd.

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Then it was onto grilled brixham hake, with lemon crumb, pickled cucumber, couscous and horseradish yoghurt and a side of broccoli with anchovy butter and crispy onions. The hake was gently flavoured with the lemon (maybe slightly too gently that day) but the horseradish yoghurt was sublime, as was the crunchy broccoli in that delicious anchovy butter.

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I had little palette cleanser with a lemon verbena ice with coconut and coconut powder – enough sweetness for even the Muddy tooth but not overwhelming or stodgy…

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… before going in for the kill with elderflower marinated strawberries with vanilla and white chocolate cream and strawberry and lime granita. Oh my flipping G, it was beautiful.

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All that for £15. I mean, that’s amazing, don’t you think? If you’re thinking of coming for dinner by the way, it’s £15 for 2 courses and £19 for 3 courses, and goes through till Saturday night though of course you can order a la carte too.

The pub is on a busy main road, though there’s plenty of parking, a large garden out the back and once inside you do feel pleasantly cocooned. I mention the road because on the opposite side of it is Austenwood Common or about a five minute walk away is Gerrard’s Cross Wood, so you can easily take an hour’s stroll to work up an appetite before lunch. Dogs are welcome in the garden but not inside the restaurant, in case you’re imagining your four legged friend joining you at table!

What else to tell you? Well, they have Steak Night every Monday with all beef steaks at 33% off and BYO with £5 corkage. Sunday lunch menus are clearly big news with that walk across the road – you’ll need to book –  and kids are welcome enough to to have their own menu. Plus there’s that neat well-maintained garden out the back and lots of patio seating should you or yours be toasty enough to sit outside. Admittedly you may want to say hi to your thermals at this point.

Alright, let’s move to the voting – is it a yes or no? (sorry, just channelling my inner Cowell there).

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THE MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for: Large parties, Sunday lunchers, in-laws, gastropubbers, stroll-and-scoffers, families, the go-to foodie local. Useful for a mooch into Gerrard’s Cross (hello Winser London and Heidi & Hudson) or to see Milton’s Cottage in nearby Chalfont St Peter.

Not for: People clearly do hold their significant birthdays here but I’d use The Three Oaks more casually than that. Design-mavens might find the interiors a bit predictable. Anyone who think they’ll rock up at the bar and order some pork scratchings or a packet of cheese and onion – it’s more restaurant than pub at heart.

£££: I’d say good value given the quality of the offering and the set menus are a total steal. A la carte starters go from £5.50 for soup to £8.90 for cornish crab on toast. Mains start at £10.90 for a pulled pork burger up to a ribeye steak for £24.50.

The Three Oaks, Austenwood Ln, Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross SL9 8NL. Tel: 01753 899016. thethreeoaksgx.co.uk

 

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon