Liv and I were delighted to be invited to the preview bloggers’ dinner at The Royal Oak in Twickenham. I’d been to the pub before in its original guise as The Royal Oak where I ate a meat platter with some colleagues from Thames Valley Housing back when I worked in Twickenham. The pub is short walk from Twickenham Station but living in Richmond we got on a bus and headed down.
It showed how long I hadn’t been to Twickenham as The Royal Oak had also been the Stokes & Moncreiff pub, with more of a rugby vibe before returning to its previous name and getting a gastroupub makeover.
I wasn’t sure what to expect aside from the main courses we pre-ordered but walked in to see the pub nicely done up with lots of seating areas and a plush wooden bar with polished copper beer tanks. It’s now part of a pub group called Hippo Inns with around ten pubs across London (with plans to expand this over the next few years).
We’d arrived a little early and were greeted by the staff who were friendly and showed us to a table downstairs for a welcome drink where we were seated on benches made of gymnastic pommel horses.
We ordered up a classic G&T for Liv and the manager encouraged me to try the Truman’s Brewery RAW Lager as it was something I’d never tasted. It went down as smooth as anything and was really refreshing. Unfiltered beer seems to be quite a cool concept and it is stored on-site here in the giant 500-litre copper tanks!
We were then shown upstairs to one of the two private dining rooms and were treated to four other Truman’s beers and ales including Zephyr, Lazarus, Goldfinger (honey and elderflower ale) and Scorcher (a grapefruit pale ale).
Truman’s brewing dates back to around 1666 when they had a brewery off Brick Lane – the Old Truman Brewery that now stands there. They are now back brewing in east London again in a return to their roots.
One of the dining rooms has a “Push for beer” button based on the champagne buttons at Bob Bob Ricard and Searcys St Pancras Champagne Bar in London.
Some quiet background music played while we spoke with the Training Manager Will about our Hawaii trip, Hawaiian Poké and mahi mahi (a local type of fish in Hawaii). He is the one responsible for staff training across the Hippo Inns pub chain and was really friendly so you could see why. We also got to meet the pub manager Charlie who was really passionate about everyone having an enjoyable experience at the pub.
Some other food bloggers and local Twickenham bloggers that were there on the night included MsFoodBlogger, Milly Molly Does, The Fabulous Foodie and Tea with Rachael. It was nice to see other blogging couples and people with their friends and we took our places at a long candlelit table. The meal was a British menu prepared by Head Chef Stan Perry (previously of Soho House).
Starters came out and we could choose from a selection including gazpacho soup, chicken livers on crusty bread, watercress risotto, vegetable quinoa and Hendrick’s gin cured salmon.
There were also wines to select from the pub’s ‘master of wine’ from Ellis Wines and they were wonderfully paired with our food selections.
For my main I ordered a sirloin steak with chips and Liv went for the potted crab with chips.
We weren’t able to choose pizzas but the restaurant also serves special foot-long pizzas prepared in a special pizza oven.
The dessert was quite a spread with us all tucking into a selection including Amalfi lemon posset, warm chocolate brownie, a banoffee pot and my personal favourite, Eton Mess. There was also gooey melting Camembert with some crusty bread.
All in all, a great night with a nice atmosphere and delicious food. The pub is also dog friendly!
We will be back…