The Royal Oak
After a short stroll around Burnham Beeches, we picked the Chef & Brewer Pub, The Royal Oak for a spot of lunch.
One large section at the far end of the pub was closed off, so straight away, space was limited and we had to wait around 10 minutes for some diners to finish their meals and leave before we could even get a seat.
This was obviously an "eating" pub and not a place to just pop in for a pint as everyone was ordering food.
Once we had settled in at a table by the window, it was not long before our food arrived. The starters were fine - light and small portions which didn't risk our main appetite. The main course was quite disappointing. The Beeb's Butterbean & Vegetable Pie and Minty's Traditional Steak & Ale Pie were served in bowls. Now this may make it easier for the pub chain to sling in an oven and dish out as individual portions, but the shape of the dish was nonsense to eat the content with a knife & fork. Especially for Minty's dish, the steak came as a whole chunk of meat and was near on impossible to cut through in a round bowl! A soup spoon would have been a better option for The Beeb's pie.
Also the menu advertised the Steak and Ale pie as served with seasonal vegetables, mashed potato and a jug of gravy. They got only the first part of that description right, the veg was there, but the pie was served with chips, not mash, and the gravy was just poured over (no jug), the veg and (horror of horrors) the chips too! Chips and gravy might be a delicacy in the North, but Minty does't like this combination. (Southern snob!)
Food aside, the staff were fine - very pleasant and attentive. The loos smelled lovely but the taps stick which means they don't shut off automatically like they are supposed to, leaving running water most of the time.
We don't think we'll go back to this particular Chef & Brewer.