Here’s an establishment where you’re just as likely to find dog-walkers and weekend ramblers kicking off muddy wellies as you are smartly dressed groups of revelers arriving for an evening of first-rate food and drink. Yattendon is known for its game shooting and The Royal Oak sports the look and feel of a handsome hunting lodge. Head chef Nick MacGregor’s skill and mastery of the kitchen is evident and no doubt stems from 18 years in the industry. His time with Japanese restaurant family Bone Daddies has been instrumental so you’ll find no shortage of Asian influences on the menu. You might start with chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce before pressing on to mains of banana leaf roasted brill flavoured with turmeric, lime and coconut served with choi sum and basmati rice. Alternatively, plump for buttermilk fried chicken escalope served with a bacon and thyme gravy and fries, or 12 hour slow roast lamb shoulder with rosemary new potatoes, green beans and a lamb jus – these dishes from the autumnal menu showcase Nick’s use of seasonal and local produce and are washed down well with a pint of Ramsbury Gold.
Despite the olde-worlde feel of the place, the team running it keeps an eye firmly focused on the future. They’ve created several gorgeous, award-winning bedrooms and have drawn up plans for a beautiful, light-flooded orangery to open in winter 2018.