Richard and Solanche Craven takeover Cotswolds pub The Royal Oak

Husband and wife team Richard and Solanche Craven have taken over the running of this 800-year-old country pub in the picturesque Cotswolds village of Whatcote. The recently refurbished Royal Oak will serve produce sourced from within 10 miles of the restaurant and game on the menu is ‘shot to order’.

Built in 1168, The Royal Oak has a rich history (Oliver Cromwell was apparently a regular). It was an Ale House for workers building churches in the area and has been a pub for more than 800 years.

Richard and Solanche Craven met a decade ago and have worked together in the hospitality industry, most recently in the UK but also in South Africa. Their previous venture was Chipping Campden’s The Chef’s Dozen (RIP).

The dining room, which seats 40, serves a menu focused on locally sourced British wild food. Richard, who grew up and started his career in nearby Chipping Campden, has preserved close relationships with local farms, producers and gamekeepers. On the menu: Pigs head and black pudding lasagna with cider reduction and hazelnut, Fallow buck, salt baked turnip, buttered chard, smoked potato and wild horseradish and Preserved pear, hogweed and cobnut bits and bobs are indicative of this pedigree.

Small plates will be available at the bar, such as: Rabbit scotched quail egg, and pickled pheasants eggs, pigeon biltong, for relaxed dining in the bar and garden.

The wine and drinks list, curated by Solanche features no more than 20 bottles at one time – many from her native South Africa. Local cask ales are available on tap sourced from local companies like Deya, Clouded Minds, Purity and many more.

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