Not exactly Royal but pretty darn good
The Royal Oak (Ashbourne)
Member Name: catsholiday
The Royal Oak (Ashbourne)
Advantages: Tasty well cooked food
Disadvantages: The place was a bit empty when we were there
The Royal Oak
Telephone: 01335 300090
We didn't plan to go to this pub for lunch, we had actually booked into another one further into the village of Mayfield but when we got there it was closed. We had only ever previously been to this pub for our daughter's wedding reception which was in the annex building. They had catered for the wedding themselves as our ex son in law was a chef so we had not tried the pub's food.
This pub is on the Ashbourne to Leek road just before Mayfield near Hanging bridge and if you felt energetic you could walk from Ashbourne as it isn't too far along the road.
Anyway we were a bit stuck as my sister and brother in law were with us and we had suggested the other pub which had been recommended and had to find something suitable and not too far away. We passed this and then turned around and thought we'd give it a try.
First impressions were positive, it was open! There was plenty of room in the car park but we knew it had a big car park from previous experience so that wasn't a surprise. We walked into the pub and everything looked fresh and clean and there was none of that stale beer smell you sometimes get in pubs. There was one other customer which usually would have made us question the food quality but as it was a Tuesday lunch time and we were in an awkward situation we chose to go ahead.
The lady serving was very friendly and pleasant and she showed us the menu and then the specials board from which we could order. We ordered fish and chips with mushy peas and a fish cake with salad with a sharing board of chunky home made bread, olive oil and balsamic dip and olives to start with. We also ordered some wine and beer to drink, two of each.
We sat at one of the eight or so tables in the more formal side of the pub as we didn't really want to sit on a pub seat with low tables to eat at. We didn't have to wait too long but long enough to finish our shared starter and also long enough to cook the food we had ordered.
The sharing board came on a board with three or four different breads in chunky slices and a balsamic and olive oil dipping sauce. We were offered butter as well but declined. The olives were in a small bowl and we had about four each so it wasn't going to spoil our appetites. The bread was nice and fresh and smelled really yummy.
My sister in law ordered the fish cakes which were meant to come with vegetables but she asked for a salad. I was a bit sorry I hadn't gone with her choice as it looked really nice and fresh. I ordered the battered fish and chips and the portion was HUGE. I peeled the batter from my fish as I find batter a bit sickly but the fish inside was tender, moist and beautiful. The chips were tasty and I managed a few however both the men who ordered the same meal cleaned their plates.
The food was very well cooked and the service efficient but we never felt that we were being hassled. When we finished our meal the table was cleared and we were asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu or if we wanted any tea or coffee which we declined. We were left to finish our drinks and chat until we asked for the bill.
We asked if we could split the bill and once again the lady was most obliging and we just paid half each on our credit credits then left a tip on the table in cash as I know then the tip goes to the person who waited at the table rather than to the business.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of both the food and the service. There was not really a lot of atmosphere as we were the only people eating in the place.
The pub entry is on level ground and there are no steps to the eating area either so fine for those with any mobility issues as you can park right outside the door temporally for access. I am afraid I didn't use the toilets so I am not sure how clean or accessible they were.
The bill came to just under £60 for the four of us with drinks which we thought was quite good for what we had enjoyed. I think the main courses were all around £10 or just under and I didn't see the sharing board price as my sister in law ordered that. I have tried to look on their website for better, more accurate prices but it seems to have a problem so I can't.
This pub does offer B&B as well so if you wanted to stay in the area it would be worth a look as you are close to the Peak District if driving and also not far from Alton Towers by car either. Ashbourne is a pleasant market town with an interesting history and there are several other local pubs you could eat at as well.
A pleasant pub with good home cooked tasty food. I would be happy to eat here again.
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Summary: A local pub with quality home cooked foos