The exposed brick walls, pressed tin ceilings and art deco style interior design have been the same for so long that the atmosphere of the Royal Oak seems timeless and unpretentious. In addition to the friendly front bar and the cute bistro, the beer garden is bright and full of greenery and makes an excellent space for larger tables and functions. Workers, hipsters and families, young and old all come to enjoy the atmosphere and the food here and it's particularly busy during footy season as fans crowd in for a cheap meal before the game just down the road.
The food is pretty sophisticated for a place that prides itself on pub grub and ranges from the ubiquitous schnitty through to vegan dishes like the burrito bowl with marinated kale. In fact, 'meat-free Mondays' are a regular thing at the Royal Oak where the vegan menu is half price! There's no kids menu so you should consider serving sizes when ordering; hopefully, you can get the kids to share a meal.
We ordered the rump steak with gravy, a burrito bowl, arancini balls and a salmon nicoise salad, along with a couple of desserts and drinks. The rump steak is a big 400 gram serve and arrives cooked perfectly as requested. The accompanying salad is refreshing and sweet, and the chips are crunchy and not at all oily. The Nicoise salad with salmon is served with a perfectly cooked and large piece of salmon laid over a nicoise salad base featuring a range of flavours which never fail to come together to present amazing complexity of flavour. The arancini balls are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside; the truffle mayo is excellent for dredging each bite through before scoffing it down. The burrito bowl is amazing, even committed meat eaters will have to agree that it's a tasty and filling meal. I bet they won't be embarrassed to say that they enjoyed the marinated kale contained within. It's that good!
The Royal Oak has a pretty decent wine list along with a great range of beers on tap and craft beers in the fridges. There's plenty to explore for beer and wine lovers.
The Royal Oak Hotel regularly features live musicians which is a bit of a bonus and adds to the rowdy pub atmosphere, maybe it's not the place for a romantic dinner where you want to be able to talk quietly. That said, the loud and fun pub atmosphere is what's best about the Royal Oak and makes it well worth trying.
The Royal Oak is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11am.