For our growing community of writers, growers, eaters and influencers, the Royal Oak pub at Marlow hosted an evening of fun, food and fizz to celebrate their new garden teepee. Spacious yet intimate, chic and casual, the luxe and laid-back tent is decked out with plenty of seating, suede and bark upholstered banquettes, log seats, sheepskin throws and cowhides with a generous sprinkling of succulents and candles. Parked in the old boules section of the pub’s outdoor space, the teepee is now available to hire for team-building, parties, christening, birthdays and anniversaries. With a fire-pit in the centre and adjustable flaps, this teepee is built to accommodate even the most inclement weather which I can personally attest to. As twilight crept in on this balmy, ‘summer’ launch and the vintage Edison bulbs filled the night with a burnished glow, the heavens opened up in typical British style with an unceremonious downpour of torrential rain and we all stayed warm and dry. Until we had to get to our cars…
So let’s talk about the most important part; the food. Becky and David Salisbury have been running pubs 18 years, reducing their stable from five to a select group of two including The Royal Oak at Marlow and The Alford Arms, near Berkhamsted. The couple have learned the value of quality over quantity, and a long-term collaboration with head chef Eddie Frost and General Manager James Molier has resulted in a pub that is beloved by locals for their consistent high standards, with a reputation for supportive commitment to local produce and suppliers including Marlow Cheese Co, Bucksum greens, Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits, Laceys’ Dairy and Puddingstone Distillery’s Campfire Gin.
I particularly enjoyed the corn fritter brioche sliders, glazed chipolatas and the beetroot and goat’s cheese croutes. I somehow missed the chicken satay skewers but I managed to pop two of the mushroom and taragon arancini which were, for the record, possibly the best arancini I’ve ever tasted. Tiny slices of carrot cake and brownie were also handed around towards the end of the night and I will admit that while both were excellent, the triple-chocolate brownie was out of this world. I’m hoping they’ll give me their recipe.
For £100 midweek/£250 at weekends and about £15 per head, you’ll get your own dedicated staff and a finger-food menu with about 12 items ranging from sliders to falafel, but as owner Becky urges, “this is just a starting point. We don’t want to be prescriptive and we’re happy to design a menu to your specifications. You can keep things simple and stick to bubbles and beer or we could create a gin-bar from our selection of over 40 gins.”