The Royal Oak – Staveley, Yorkshire

“They keep pulling them out these Yorkshire folk. Another great country pub with food”

Whilst attending our annual, anniversary, celebration weekend in the fare town of Harrogate, we agreed to meet up with some chums from Leeds. After a very pleasant walk round Knaresborough (highly recommended) we were then wisked off to the hamlet of Staveley. There in lay the quaint frontage of The Royal Oak. Surrouded by trees and other foliage, even shrouded in cloud, it cut a heady dash.


We bounced in for our two thirty appointment. Low beams accompanied the standard trappings of an old, country pub. The gentlemen part of the binge headed for a Sweetheart IPA, the ladies kept down the soft drink track. We settled into a well set table for four. The place was half full. A merry ambiance was in play. A simple, single sided Sunday menu was presented by our young waitress. £21.50 for three courses. A fine offer. The waitress announced that the soup of the day was ‘Pea, watercress and mint’, though I did enquire whether she meant Pea water, cress and mint’, a subtle difference, I think you’ll agree? My little jokette appreciated by all. I was on a roll (get on with it – Ed).

Fine simple menu
Fine simple menu

Time to chose. Two went for the pea water soup. Considered fine by the imbibers. The Flame would have liked hers hotter but otherwise all was well. The good Yorkshire lady and myself went for the intriguing ‘Whitby Crab Pot Noodle’. Forgive me if I wax on a bit here. A giant ‘humbug’ jar filled with grass along with a jug of hot brown stock duly arrived. We peered in, sniffing and viewing as we went. Gingerly we poured in the broth. The contents came alive and we tucked in. After the initial disappointment of not getting a big chunk of crab to knaw on, we both agreed that it was all rather tasty. The crab broth melted the noodles, greenery and the rest to create a fragrant and very tasty soup.

Sweetheart and pea water soup
Sweetheart and pea water soup
The Whitby crab pot noodle
The Whitby crab pot noodle

For mains we mainly went for the ox cheek and mushroom pie. A proper pie too, sides and a bottom. It came with a wodge of hot, buttery mash, a beef dripping carrot and a slew of deep, rich jus. We all agreed this was seriously good. Plenty of shredded cheek in a super rich gravy. It was a delight. It was accompanied by a big dish of greens, heritage carrots and a big dish of chips. All hot and ready. Great feed.

Ox cheek and mushroom pie
Ox cheek and mushroom pie

As ever, not to let you down The Cooktwit plumbed for a dessert. The ‘nearly famous’ lemon posset. Once again the giant humbug jar came into play. The advantage here is that it is a deceptibly large vessel and so the portion was generous to say the least. And given the quality was up there too, lemony, meringue and fruity I can safely say the afters was a minor triumph. The Flame ventured into the fray with a standard but nonetheless highly creditable bramley apple crumble. Our Yorkshire contingent settled on a chocolate truffle, banana, honeycomb and chocolate sorbet. Well presented on a huge glass plate, the good lady loved it. Sadly I didn’t much of a look in!

Lemon posset, chocolate dessert, apple crumble
Lemon posset, chocolate dessert, apple crumble

In conclusion we all enjoyed a thoroughly splendid Sunday luncheon. The Royal Oak Staveley goes on to the list as somewhere to go to again if ever we’re in the area. Recommended.
The Royal Oak,
Main Street,
North Yorkshire HG5 9LD.
01423 340267

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