The Royal Oak, Borough - pub details
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- Food served, Real ale
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|It was a grey and mildly damp London evening. I attended the WheatSheaf in Borough for "Youngs Day" and to sample a free pint of Youngs ale to see if I could convince myself the stuff was palatable…I left half way through it was that disappointing.|
Following this inevitability we sauntered down to a guaranteed winner, The Boot and Flogger, which many of you will have ventured into and remember as a delightfully idiosyncratic wine bar and free vintners with a class and clientele that would make the Master of the Rolls happy whiling away an evening in this fine establishment. Sadly, this is no longer the case, the staff were no longer the charming English family that used to own it but the usual motley crew of temporary staff to be found in any venue in London, the clientele seemed now to be mostly media types and tourists and the bloody place now served BEER, and only bottled stuff to add insult to injury!!! Half way through our first bottle (a reasonably priced Pinot Noir so won't quibble on the wine) my estimable comrade, good chap that he is, noticed the look of despair on my face and suggested a change of venue for a light repast and a few ales…I readily agreed.
We meandered, with the weather - a dull grey overcast evening with the menace of rain in the air - matching my mood, down to the Royal Oak in Tabbard Street just by Borough tube station. I jest not when I say it felt like we stepped into a little bit of Sussex in the very heart of our great capital. The décor is very old London with plenty of tiling, wood panelling and glass, bare wood tables, a rabbled collection of chairs and benches and a variation on a horseshoe bar as usually found in the heart of our good county. The staff were a motley crew as you would expect in any one of Sussex's pubs; Please don't think Forest Row style young lads and lasses about to head off to university but more local village rustic people found in the depths of Sussex, more Hatch style but younger and less proprietor/barman more employed barman.
The clientele, what can one say about this fine bunch of individuals, I will proffer a couple of examples here: we shared a table with a mother daughter combination (calm down Belcher, they were also akin to rural Sussex people) who complained at length about the parlour state of society whilst polishing off a few pints of cloudy cider and a meat pie, I believe the daughter was a teacher and the mother had been. To our other side a couple of chaps who looked like they had encountered a hard days toil tucked into one of the largest sides of Grouse I have seen in a while and made good work of it too, sadly I could not hear their conversation muffled as it was by game. two more characters will suffice and I venture that they will be in residence whenever you attend this charming venue, one a skinny chap wearing a warm tweed jacket sat with one leg draped over the other on the edge of a table, not engaging in conversation but most happy to sit and sup at a pint of Best and while away the evening. The other gentleman, maybe they are arch enemies crossed by a lady decades ago and resigned never to reconcile their differences, was a most portly chap who inhabited the other side of the bar. None of the ruddy cheekness of a wine and port consumer but the confortable shape of a chap who consumes plenty of ale and aspires to look like the vessel in which this majestic liquid is transported from the brewery, a jovial sight with braces and a smile perched on a stool also consuming a pint of Best. If these aren't sights enough to warm ones heart then this is proof that man has no soul and God does not exist.
Now, the ales…they had a reasonable selection of Harveys on tap and a couple of others, I have no idea which ones as I only had eyes for the amber nectar that is Harveys Best. It did not disappoint, on the hoppier side of the Harveys range it was refreshing and immediately lifted my mood, so much so that we felt able to raise our heads and contemplate the rather extensive menu. Very reasonably priced and big portions but more to the point good hearty fare. Between us we ordered Deep Fried Camembert and Whitebait followed by Ham, Egg and Chips and a Rump Steak Sandwich. All was exactly as you would hope for and condiments abounded, we washed this down with another pint of Harveys and left sated and in far finer fettle than I had previously considered possible given the start to the evening.
This was until my leather soled shoes slipped on my bicycle peddle and my shin caught a nasty edge. However, that cannot be blamed on the Harveys but on the damp conditions of the evening.
Chinery - 14 Oct 2013 17:02
|Great pub, great beer and friendly staff. Pleasant atmosphere and great that there's no loud music. They even allow customers to take jugs of beer out to the excellent Indain restaurant across the road|
seanieg - 21 Jul 2013 00:54
|A Harvey's pub just a few minutes walk from Borough station.|
4 beers on plus George Gales Spring Sprinter I had a pint of Harvey's Pale, which was decent.
Nice old style pub with a through bar area and the whole pub is open plan.
Pleasant enough but nothing too exciting.
lezford - 9 Jun 2013 19:22
|Decent pint of Harvey's Sussex Pale on my visit. Pub suffers at bit from the 'loadsamoney, have I boasted about my salary/car/presentation/sportsmanship? Can I use my card to pay for a pint?' fraternity. Otherwise it is sound.|
wobblybob - 19 Apr 2013 21:48
|Had not visited the RO for at least 18 months and was pleased to see nothing had changed. Two visits in three weeks, so they are combined. The first was with a large group of mates and the pub kindly reserved us the big table in the bar on the Tabard Street side. The staff were friendly and helpful and both times the beer needing changing they did so quickly and without a quibble. The quality of the beer was superb, I stuck to the Pale and finished with an Old. The second visit was with a smaller group and two of us sampled the food menu and it was pretty good, though quite pricey. The beer this time wasn’t as good, it seemed a bit lifeless, both the Pale and Best, but that’s the beauty of real ale! 8/10|
Monkdawallydahonk - 15 Apr 2013 13:29
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