The Oxford Guide - Differences between Version 24 and Version 23 of Royal Oak
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Something must have happened over the last few months, as I have recently only been impressed with both the service and the quality of the food. Judging by the number of people packed in there on a weekday evening, it seems I'm not the only one who thinks this. Although the food is slightly pricey, it's excellent quality and the portions aren't mean.
The service was unbelievably poor and the food not much better. The staff were uniformly surly (I don't believe I saw a single smile, but I did see eyes rolled to Heaven when a 'customer' had the cheek to approach the bar) and no, I am not the barman's 'pal', 'buddy', or 'mate'. The food was lukewarm and had to be returned; the replacement was still lukewarm (and the chips were either pappy or raw) but by then I'd given up caring. If you want to experience British attitudes to customer service this is the perfect place to start - at least you won't be surprised when you go elsewhere. All in all a grubby experience, much like the country as a whole. (And I'm English!)
They've recently had a 'makeover' from an interior designer. This seems to have involved putting up some really quite impressively ghastly wallpaper (but, hey, at least it's furry) and some nearly equally awful lampshades. And changing the design of the candle-holders they put on the tables in the evenings. The range of bottled beers also seems to have shrunk slightly: they gave up selling Herold Bohemian Black Lager months ago, and more recently have ditched Schneider Aventinus too.
Tends to have decent selection of beer (including a substantial range of continental bottled beers — try the Schneider Weisse) and serves rather good (if commensurately priced) 'gourmet pub' food until 10pm; be warned, though, that they tend to run out of popular items and sometimes close the kitchen early.
Bar staff were very pretty, November 2003
—they're now pretty much all new since then, but no doubt are at least as attractive. December 2005
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