What a lovely little village Gillamoor is. I don’t recall ever visiting it, I would certainly have remembered, it’s so picturesque and peaceful.
We parked in the small residents’ car park at the rear of The Royal Oak. As we walked round the side of the building towards the front, we were greeted by a lush, manicured lawn. The exterior of the inn has been lovingly maintained, and the inside was no different - lots of period features in-keeping with this mid-17th century grade II listed building and very welcoming.
Our table had been reserved in the main bar area right by the open fire, a grand place to sit and very comfortable. A polite member of staff handed us two menus to browse while we sipped our drinks.
It all sounded delicious, and there was ample to choose from for each course, including vegetarian options.
I ordered the inn’s award-winning pan-fried black pudding with sticky red onion marmalade to start. I expected a couple of slithers of black pudding and a little garnish, but I was presented with three thick wedges cooked with a nice crisp edge to each one, and the pot of tangy marmalade was a nice accompaniment. Instead of a starter my partner ordered a small bread basket which came with two warm fresh bread rolls and butter - something for him to graze on until his main course arrived.
As I was eating a heavier starter, I ordered a light fish course for my main meal, pan-fried Scottish Salmon Supreme which came with a classic hollandaise sauce. It was beautifully presented. The salmon was cooked to perfection, flakes of salmon melted in the mouth, and the sauce, drizzled over the top (plus extra in a little jug) had a punch to it which enhanced the delicate flavour of the fish.
My partner ordered the griddled local bacon chop with glazed North Yorkshire honey and wholegrain mustard, accompanied by a creamy cider and sage sauce. It was an impressive pork chop, as thick as a doorstep. Obviously I had to try some, it was so tender. A really lovely piece of meat. The sauce, he said, was the best he had tasted.
Although seasonal vegetables accompanied both meals, we also plumped for a bowl of home-made chunky chips as an extra.
Feeling so full we could hardly move we opted to share a dessert, which took some deciding as there was a good selection, of which neither of us could agree on. We settled for the caramelised white chocolate and raspberry crème brulee with an iced raspberry sorbet.
Arriving with two spoons, we tucked in. The tartness of the cool raspberry sorbet cut through the rich white chocolate dessert, and also acted as a bit of a palate cleanser. Smashing our way through the top of the crème brulee we discovered the raspberry layer which, again, broke up the richness of the white chocolate. Needless to say, this was polished off in minutes and rounded of an excellent meal.
The Royal Oak prides themselves on their excellent cuisine and I can honestly say the food speaks for itself.