THERE’S something intriguing about the interior design of The Royal Oak at Hornby.
The pub-restaurant is named after a landmark tree that once grew close by – yet inside it is a shrine not to the arboreal but the nautical.
After talking to the friendly proprietor, however, the mystery was soon solved.
The pub used to be owned by the TV comic Jim Bowen, star of the popular game show Bullseye, and it was he who adopted an oceanic theme.
Apparently, he made regular appearances on liners and over the years he collected some fascinating ships’ memorabilia which adorns The Royal Oak today, including some fascinating stuff from the QE2.
Anyway, given the nautical but nice nature of the fixtures and fittings I was inspired on my visit there to choose two fish dishes.
The first was a starter (naturally) of whitebait served with a lovely crisp salad and one of the most tangy tartare sauces I have tasted.
My second course, battered haddock with superb chips and perfectly cooked vegetables, was also a delight.
Meanwhile, t’other half chose a vegetarian Kiev – again with great chips and salad – followed up by a spot-on dessert of white chocolate and blackcurrent florette on a bed of meringue with ice cream.
I had a taste and would have dearly loved to order one for exclusively personal consumption had it not been for the fullness of the old tum due to the aforementioned starter and main.
So, to conclude – The Royal Oak might not be a ship, but it hits the culinary bullseye.