The Royal Oak
Sited in the attractive village of Long Whatton, The Royal Oak’s reputation as a dining pub has spread beyond well beyond Loughborough. Indeed, with good trade from nearby Donington racetrack and East Midlands Airport, it’s gaining an international following.
Chris and Alex Astwood, two brothers with extensive hospitality experience, took over The Royal Oak in 2010 after looking for a venue to implement their version of a village pub serving great food and with stylish bedrooms.
Together with young chef James Upton they have gained an AA rosette and Michelin Guide listing with food that has a strong focus on the local and seasonal. The kitchen garden supplies micro-herbs, and village locals bring in vegetables, while the menu lists many great suppliers from across the East Midlands.
There are superbly done pub classics but also a range of distinctively seasonal dishes. In late spring 2016 for example, Great Food Club enjoyed a terrific starter of charred asparagus, poached duck egg, crisp parma ham and wild garlic mayonnaise
Front of house is run smoothly by an alumni of Gordon Ramsay, and there’s also a huge garden with superb views.
By Tim Burke, Leicestershire editor