Lunch for a fiver - The Royal Oak

Have you ever had lunch envy? Bet you have. It’s when you order a different thing from the other people at your table, then when the food arrives you want theirs. Sometimes people have it as a condition. I used to have a business partner who had food envy so badly that he started getting an inferiority complex about his menu technique. He always wanted my food when it arrived, not his. To him, the meal always looked greener on the other side of the table.

The Royal Oak has just changed chefs and we were wondering if the new one came up to the exacting standards of his predecessor. I ordered a bagel with pork and mange-touts and salad (£5.25, bit over budget), Chloe ordered the nachos (£4, well within). Then Nick sauntered in and asked for Chorizo stew (£4). The nachos and the bagel arrived at the same time, and I had no problems. They looked OK, but mine looked great. Then Nick’s arrived. A rich red sauce, with that golden shimmer you get when you’re liberal with the olive oil. As I bit into my bagel, crunching through the mange-touts, sinking my teeth into the pork, I imagined the strong, oily Spanish sausage-tomato-and-pepper taste. Damn! Damn, damn, damn! I had lunch envy. After that I couldn’t appreciate my own meal. My ex business partner, by the way, found a solution to his chronic case. He’d just order after me, and say ‘I’ll have the same.’ Simple really.

Lunch envy: would you swap this bagel for a chorizo stew?
The Royal Oak, 3 Station St, Lewes
When? Daily 12noon - 10pm
How Much? 95 Mexican Pesos
The Royal Oak
(t) 01273 474803