Paley Street's Royal Oak retains Michelin star
PUBLISHED: 10:39 30 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:39 30 September 2014
It's not just about getting the prestigious award - you have to work to keep it.
When Michael Chapman was announced as the new Head Chef at the Royal Oak the task for the team went beyond producing new menus.
“You can never become complacent about a star, or any other recognised accolade for that matter”, says Nick Parkinson, owner of The Royal Oak. “Michael, Mo and the team have done a great job and in the last few months they have retained 3 AA Rosettes, The Good Food Guide 6/10 rating, won 4th place in The Good Food Guide 2015 Top 50 Pubs and now, retained the coveted Michelin star. Praise indeed!”
“To develop The Royal Oak into the pub/restaurant it is today has taken a great deal of hard work. The awards are testament to the success of our efforts; however it really isn’t just about winning awards, it’s about the continued investment involved in retaining them. As Michelin has articulated, maintaining consistency and standards is paramount, which one person cannot do alone; it truly is a team effort.”
Nick and his father Sir Michael Parkinson first set eyes on The Royal Oak in 2001. At the time the pub was very ‘pink’ and showed little sign of any tender loving care. Sir Michael wasn’t as convinced as Nick but trusted his son’s judgment. In July 2001 after a lick of paint and a dose of Lady Mary Parkinson’s magic touch the Royal Oak reopened.
Mo Gherras, now Restaurant Manager, joined the Oak in 2003 and remembers only too well when it was just Nick and himself running front of house. A very different operation to The Royal Oak we know today.
In 2008 the team gained a Bib Gourmand. Going from strength to strength in 2010 The Royal Oak attained the acclaimed Michelin star. Today The Royal Oak holds a Michelin Star, three AA Rosettes and a Good Food Guide rating of 6/10.
The menu can be described simply as ‘British food cooked to perfection’. Head Chef, Michael Chapman, selects the best seasonal produce, sourced locally whenever possible but is not afraid to go further afield to assure the quality. Michael’s food is designed not to be pretentious, but rather to embrace the flavours of the produce and not disguise them with unfamiliar ingredients and complicated cooking methods. The result - deliciously tasty food; we defy you not to scrape the plate.
The interior of The Royal Oak is elegant, stylish and nostalgic - in keeping with her antiquity. In 2012 the pub was extended, doubling the size of the restaurant, which now seats 80. Horticultural Expert, Richard Vines, designed the modern garden, which features large planters, white pebbles and a contemporary waterfall. An eclectic mix of beautiful art adorns the walls and adds to the charm and magnetism of the pub.
Under Mo’s steady guidance the service is friendly, courteous and non-intrusive. Even at the busiest of times there is a calm about the place that just makes you want to stay.