This is probably one of the best-kept secrets in Warwickshire (or maybe I just didn’t know about it), but the Royal Oak in Whatcote offers Michelin starred dining just five minutes from my house in Tysoe.
The pub is run by Richard and Solanche Cravens, a husband and wife team, who balance the local pub vibe with really exceptional, seasonally driven food. They are all about high quality, organic and wild ingredients. Nearby Paddock Farm supplies rare breed pork and sustainable fish is sent daily from boats belonging to Flying Fish of Cornwall.
The pub found out that it had been awarded a Michelin star last October after it had only been open two years. Solanche said to the Banbury Guardian:
The original pub was built 1500 but the site of the Royal Oak in Whatcote has had some form of drinking establishment since 1168. Being a rural pub, the Cravens specialise in game and other wild foods. The pair previously owned the The Chef’s Dozen in Chipping Campden before moving to Whatcote.
Whilst we enjoyed the three course lunch menu (£45 per head at lunch / £55 at dinner), the local game keeper who supplies the pub with game popped in for a Saturday afternoon drink. It’s just that kind of place. Inside the pub feels open and airy with smart tables, whilst round the bar has a cosier feel where local neighbours feel welcome.
The pub is open Thursday to Sunday, offering a set menu and Sunday lunch is served with roast venison. Booking ahead is advisable.
What we ate at Royal Oak, Whatcote
When we visited we managed to eat two of the homemade wholemeal loaves, which come with farmhouse butter and Tamworth pork dripping. As Solanche said placing the second load on the table, “Don’t worry we’re those kind of people too – we’re all about the bread!” There’s nothing pretentious here.
Starters included a dainty mackerel, curry, cucumber and dill or the raviolo of Norfolk quail, sweetcorn and pear.
Mains pollock, autumn squash and girolles and my melt-in-the-mouth red stag, heritage beetroot and elderberry.
We both had summer pudding souffle with brioche ice cream followed by Hawaiian Queen Kona coffee with canele – which was icing on the cake.
Have you been and did you love it as much as we did? Let me know in the comments.
Take a look at my other local favourite places to eat guide here.