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REVIEW: Gin, Jazz and food at The Royal Oak

Tuesday nights are The Royal Oak’s ‘Jazz on the Corner’ nights and we had the pleasure of being invited to check out this great weekly event, along with some of the finest food and gin that The Royal Oak has to offer. Spoiler alert: we had a blast!

The Royal Oak is Swindon’s premier establishment for champagnes, a wide range of gins, and freshly-sourced oysters. You will also find a great menu with a selection of mediterranean inspired food that’s sure to tickle your tastebuds. Anyway, more of that in a minute, let’s start from the beginning!

Taking the short walk from our place to The Royal Oak was a delight in the early evening sun. Having only been there once before, I hold my hands up I didn’t take full advantage of the wealth of selection on expertise on offer behind the bar. We rocked up and, to be honest, had no idea where to start!

As huge gin fans the selection is incredible, so matter where your tastes lie there are plenty of options for you. Having already tried a few different gins ourselves we asked for recommendations based on our tastes and previous ones we had tried. I was recommended Whitley Neil Rhubarb and Ginger Gin, and my partner had a Manchester Raspberry infused Gin and a Rose Lemonade.

I can honestly say I have never received a recommendation that has been so spot on. The bitter-sweet edge of of the gin worked perfectly with the Elderflower Tonic and my partner’s drink was perfectly sweet and went down a treat!

After taking some time to enjoy our drinks in the relaxed, comfortable bar area we picked up a menu and proceeded to pick our dinner - and my were we spoilt for choice. As a huge mediterranean and seafood fan it was almost as if the menu was built for me!

With everything from large plate mains to small plate, tapas-style dishes, you can easily tailor your evening around you. It may have taken us a while to choose (I wanted to try it all!) but we ended up going for two of the small plates which were: Patatas Bravas and the Salt Cod Fritters. We also ordered one of the mains to try too, which was the Prawn, Scallop and Chorizo Skewers and Chips.

Our food swiftly arrived whilst the band arrived and started setting up. We were treated to the sweet sounds of jazz instruments warming up alongside the gorgeous food. With generous portion sizes perfectly cooked we set about filling our boots with some of the finest seafood I have had in Swindon.

With massive, perfectly cooked prawns, chunky scallops and tender chorizo, all the ingredients married together perfectly. The smaller plates truly brought a taste of the Med to the Swindon, with my partner exclaiming a couple of times that she felt like she was on holiday (I’m almost certain the beautiful weather played a part in this too).

As we finished our second drinks, (another perfect recommendation of Ophir Gin with Black pepper and Orange Tonic for me and JJ Whitley Elderflower Gin with Lemonade for my partner) our plates were cleared the evenings music began.

We settled down to enjoy the perfect sounds of The Latin Edition whilst being served some impressive Pornstar Martini’s. As a huge music fan, but incredibly uneducated on the jazz front, I was blown away by the band’s musicianship and I can safely say I am newly converted to the worl of Jazz! I’m certain I will return regularly to further expand my gin and Jazz knowledge!

The Royal Oak truly is an experience worth exploring in the heart of Old Town. Even if you don’t attend on the Jazz on the Corner evenings, they have plenty to offer. From an outstanding selection of gins, all the way to an impressive cocktail list.

The word “experience” is exactly what I’d use to describe The Royal Oak as their expertise, relaxed atmosphere and variety on offer is what truly makes it unique and you most certainly won’t find anything quite like it in Swindon. I will most definitely be back, now to return to browsing Spotify for more jazz to listen to!


The Royal Oak Swindon

24 Devizes Road, Swindon , SN1 4BQ

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