What a lovely looking pub and restaurant the Honor Oak has become. Obviously a lot of money has been spent to renew this local to a standard far above that of its previous existance. The pub is spacious and comfortable, with a great choice of beers, wines, spirits with cocktails on the menu. there is a new, attractive walled garden space at the front and a good garden at the rear.
Such a pity the restaurant has proved to be such a disappointment.
It looks lovely in its newly built Conservatory setting, with an open kitchen along the side of the room and well spaced, mismatched polished tables and chairs.
However, I'd be interested to know who thinks that oriental lilies are a suitable flower for the large bouquets which dress the window ledges next to the tables and at the entrance. The overpowering perfume fills the room and makes the act of tasting food impossible.
My first visit was in the first week, when the service was confused and all over the place.The main course we chose was steak, Nicely cooked but served without the sauce we had ordered. In spite of asking the waiter 3 times and being told it would be brought immediately it didn't arrive. when we finally decided to eat without the sauce the steak was cold.
At the end of the meal we were asked how we enjoyed the meal and told the hostess of the absence of the sauce. She said she would offer us a drinkin compensation, so we ordered 2 glasses of wine. 15 minutes later she returned to say she could only offer us soft drinks, so having already waited 15 minutes we refused her kind offer and left, paying the full bill.
The second visit was a few weeks later.
We ordered an apple, celery and blue cheese croquette which was crunchy, hot and tasty with a decent hollandaise sauce.
The other starter was a total disappointment. A Ballottine of chicken and wild mushrooms. Unusually, it was served cold - six discs the size of 50p pieces sliced the thickness of a pound coin. The centre of the discs showed tiny slivers of brown and biege which presumably were the wild mushrooms. There was no taste whatever of mushrooms and the chicken had no salt or noticable seasoning at all.They were served with a puree of butternut squash which was smooth and well seasoned and a small Fig and watercress salad which was acceptable.
When asked what we thought of the food, I explained the croquette was lovely but the partially eaten ballotine was totally tastless. The hostess said she would tell the chef.
The next course consisted of:
1. a beautifully made Real Ale Braised short rib of beef with horseradish mash, roast carrot and bone marrow gravy. all of which was well cooked and tasty. However it was rather foolishly served in a deep high sided bowl so that the rib bones, once stripped of meat slid down to cover all the rest of the meal. A large shallow bowl or a plate would have been a much better presentation. When I asked for a small side plate for the bones I got that look....
2. a Dry cured Pork Rib Eye with celaric puree, spring greens and a cider sauce.
The pork was beautifully cooked, grilled and looking most inviting, Sadly it was brined to the point where the entire piece was chokingly salted and impossible to eat, even though my companion tried. the other items on the plate were excellent.
Of course I complained, but gave compliments where they were due.
I was presented with the full bill for £47.05 which I am keeping as a memory of a restaurant which needs to get its act together to match up to the standard of the rest of the pub.