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Food - The Royal Oak

Friday lunchtime, and a trip to the Royal Oak, the best place for lunch in town if you fancy something new and surprising. Two of my companions, much to Sian the imaginative chef’s disgust, go for scampi with chips. One of them asks for cheesy chips. This, in my opinion, is like drinking a pint of bitter in a champagne festival. We’re sat in the beer garden, a sun- trap. The weather’s good, there’s hardly a cloud in the sky. It feels like summer again. When I’m ordering food at the Royal Oak, I find it hard to look past the nachos, which they make with real chunks of steak and a dollop of cream.

I wander up towards the specials board, and meet Sian on the way. “Go for the cheese and onion pie,” she says. “It’s got three types of cheese in it." I haven’t had cheese and onion pie in years, so I say I will. It arrives ten minutes later, and everyone on the table - even the guy with cheesy chips - has food envy. The pie sits on the top of a bed of mash which is carpeted by bright green mushy peas. The mash has a moat of gravy. It’s a bit of a carb fest, but there you go.

I dig in. What is it about cheese and onion that go so well together? Talk about complementary tastes. The mushy peas are great, too: not tinned, freshly mushed and all the greener for it. Top marks. I wonder what’s on the specials board this Friday? AL

Pie and mash, gastro-style, at the Royal Oak

Royal Oak, Lewes
When? Lunchtimes
How Much? Nachos £4.95, Pie and mash £6.95