Co-owned (but placed up for sale in late 2019) by broadcaster and national treasure Michael Parkinson – and his son Nick – the Royal Oak in Paley Street has built a reputation for top-notch British cooking using the finest seasonal ingredients.
Located in leafy and prosperous Littlefield Green, near Maidenhead, ‘Parky’s pub’ has picked up numerous accolades since it opened in 2001, including a Michelin star, three AA Rosettes and a Good Food Guide rating of 5/10.
Officially, the pub is owned by Nick Parkinson, but rumour has it Sir Michael regularly frequents the gastropub and is still very much interested in the business.
The menu is a tour of unpretentious favourites cooked to perfection, including 6oz Aberdeen Angus fillet steak with spinach, mushrooms, chips and sauce Béarnaise; and roast rump of lamb with braised shallots, Brussels sprouts and garlic purée.
The gastropub made headlines when former chef at the pub Craig Johnston won this Masterchef: The Professionals, making the then 21-year-old the youngest to do so.
Of his win, Royal Oak Paley Street owner Nick Parkinson said: “From the moment Craig first worked for me, he has always stood out as an exceptional chef and testament to that has been his rapid rise through the ranks in the kitchen.
“We are all so very proud of him, winning the title is totally deserved and it couldn’t happen to a nicer lad.”
Starters you may expect to see on the menu include: Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle cream and roasted chestnuts; heritage beetroot with goats’ cheese and hazelnut dressing; and chicken liver parfait with plum chutney and toasted brioche.
Mains have included: butternut squash and mushroom Wellington with parsnip and chestnuts; braised beef shin with glazed carrot, bone marrow crust and boulangère potatoes; and Creedy Carver duck breast with red onion, beetroot purée and Savoy cabbage.
To finish, expect the likes of roast chestnut bavarois with spiced pear and white chocolate; sticky toffee pudding with popcorn ice cream; and maple and pecan pie with stem ginger ice cream and lime.