New licensees have the basics spot on already
It's work in progress at the Royal Oak in Painswick where parts of our visit were very good.
After trouble parking in the village's picturesque but tiny streets late-ish on a Sunday morning, we finally made it to inside the Oak.
Initially, it was quite quiet. But custom soon busied up with a friendly crowd of locals and what seemed like thirsty walkers packing the small lounge bar where we dined.
Hosts Mike and Gill Brickell have only been at the Royal Oak for a few short months but already they have got the basics spot on.
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My friend declared his pint, from an unusual selection of real ales, was well kept and good.His wife and I shared an excellent bottle of house white wine during our meal.
The Royal Oak interior is being refreshed too, with a nice newly-painted and clean ceiling.
But there is still a way to go decor wise and we presumed the updating is gradually to continue.
We'd set out with Sunday lunch in mind and two of us stuck to our guns and ordered roast beef.
We did take care to ask if the meat could be served rare and were assured it could. Which made it disappointing when our meals arrived cooked through to medium verging on well done.
Plus everything was on black plates which I somehow felt didn't feel show off the chef's talents to their best advantage.
The roast beef (£9.95) was accompanied by a lone Yorkshire and some standard roasties but also by nice fresh dishes of veg including crisp cauli, Chantenay carrots, home-mashed swede and peas.
A bonus was the generous jug of gravy which appeared without us asking.
My friend's steak and kidney pudding (£9.95) was by far the best bet. Meltingly cooked chunks of beef beneath a proper wafer pastry crust. Very good indeed Royal Oak said my friend, who's herself a mean home cook.
Then for afters we shared a lovely light, sticky toffee pudding (£3.95) in piping hot custard.