Al fresco - Royal Oak

The nachos in the Royal Oak (£4.95) are legendary and rightly so. Real bits of chopped steak, a decent dollop of sour cream, a healthy sprinkling of good cheese and fresh-chopped veg on the top. Double crunchy and smooth at the same time. A taste sensation, though high on the carbs, of course. I know I can safely try something else as the guy I’m with always goes for nachos and can never finish them off, so I always get a taste.

You could be forgiven for never having noticed the fact that the Royal Oak had a small garden at the back. Though it might be better described as a large gazebo. There’s a wooden platform, some large overhead beams which look like they should have ivy or vines on them but don’t, and enough room for five or six small round wooden tables. It’s an overcast day, but the sun keeps making a brief appearance: long enough to realise that this extra sheltered spot is quite a suntrap. I get the fishcakes in caper sauce (£6.25); there are three of them, covered in salad leaves. All very Atkins, apart from the breadcrumbs. There’s an interesting battle of taste – the capers and anchovies win out, the haddock gives everything a bit of substance, the salmon gets a bit lost. Lovely, but over too soon. Then again I’ve been accounting for half a plate of nachos, and my friend’s appetite is as reliably small as ever. AG

Oak-conditioned nachos – the best in town
The Royal Oak, 3 Station St, Lewes
When? Open 10am-10pm
How Much? Very reasonable
Royal Oak
(t) 01273 474803
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