Address: Riley Green, Hoghton

Phone number: 01254 201445

Lancashire Telegraph review by John Anson from December 27, 2008.

EVERYONE who dines out on a semi-regular basis probably has a couple of establishments which they know they can always rely on and enjoy revisiting.

I have to say that for me, the Royal Oak is one I keep on my list, and to celebrate the festive season decided to pay it a visit.

On a cold winter’s night, there’s nothing better than a roaring log fire to welcome you. The Royal Oak has the feel of a traditional inn with its foot thick walls and dark beams.

There’s a printed menu which is full of good pub staples but look out for the specials boards where some real treats await. There are more dishes on the boards than the ‘normal’ menu and I guarantee you’ll be spoilt for choice.

I went for the beef casserole and dumplings at £9.95 while the better half had a sirloin steak with new potatoes.

When it arrived, the casserole was one of the best meals I’ve had in quite some time — tender pieces of beef in a wonderful, thick gravy with a couple of flavour-packed dumplings. There was also a portion of chips and a selection of veg to share so it was a real hungry person’s platter.

The steak too was described as delicious and cooked to perfection. Clearly there is a chef at work who has a real pride in their work.

It’s such a shame therefore that I can’t say the same about the service. Maybe we picked a bad night but we sat at our table for a good 15 minutes without being even acknowledged. In the end I went to the bar and got some menus.

Then when the food arrived it was plonked on the table but no-one ever came back to check it was OK or whether we needed refills.

I make this point because the food is so good that the contrast was so great.

If the service does match the fare, the Royal Oak really will be some place.

The verdict

Magnificent food, not quite matched by the service.

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