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Feb 28

Wales on Sunday Feature: From curries with a kick to first class Sunday roasts, the Oak stands mighty

Eating out: The Royal Oak, Newport, Pembrokeshire
Tel: 01239 820632

From the outside, it looks like a typical British pub, but inside the Royal Oak in the seaside town of Newport, Pembrokeshire you can sample some fine Indian style cuisine. For the pub specialises in home-cooked curries. However those who aren’t so keen on spicy food, can choose from a wide selection of pub grub – from scampi to faggots in gravy

We visited on a busy Saturday so luckily we had reserved a table. Having sampled the curries in the past, we decided to plump for what we knew best. Not being one who deviates from my favourite dish too often I ordered the chicken korma, while my friend’s chose the vegetable curry and the Thai green curry. The meals, priced at £10.99 are each served with rice, a poppadum and a serving of mango chutney.

We chose a bottle of sparkling rose (£14.95) to accompany the meal. While we had to wait a little while – it was a busy Saturday evening after all it was well worth it.

My chicken korma was packed with tender chunks of meat and the sauce had a little kick to it. It was more like a homemade casserole than a curry you would find at a traditional Indian restaurant but it was delicious. The rice was perfectly cooked and the poppadum and the mango chutney were a nice accompaniment. The vegetable curry contained a wide selection of veg which wasn’t overdone and the sauce was quite spicy.

The Thai green curry was less delicate in texture than you’d expect in a specialist Thai restaurant but my friend really liked its “meatiness”. There was just enough heat without it being too eye-watering. The portions were certainly generous, which meant we were too full to sample the desserts – so we went back the following day. As it was a Sunday, my friend couldn’t resist ordering the traditional roast dinner, which is priced at £11.95 for two courses.

I opted for one of my traditional pub favourites – scampi, peas and chips (£8.99). The thickly-sliced beef was tender and the roasties and gravy were just like my mum would make. A side dish was crammed with pureed swede and carrot and a tasty cauliflower cheese. The scampi was succulent and plentiful.

After much deliberation my friends ordered the ‘deconstructed’ apple crumble –which had a lovely cinnamon flavour and was served with a crème Anglais – and Eton mess – packed with delicious berries – for their second course as part of the Sunday deal.

We’ll certainly be returning.

Karen Price

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