IT’S BACK and it’s better than ever — The Spade Oak in Bourne End has finally re-opened after a month away.
How do I know this? Well, I was lucky enough to experience the revamped restaurant in all its glory last week.
My guest and I were invited to see inside the updated eatery in a special guest event just a few days before it officially re-opened to the public.
We were greeted by very friendly staff who took us on a tour of the Oak, which has been closed since August 23.
First was an overview of the new lounge area, which felt cosy without feeling claustrophobic.
It’s a perfect little spot to enjoy drinks before or after enjoying your dinner.
We were then shown the new bar which looked magnificently modern with a large, sleek marble worktop.
A new private dining area can be hired out for parties and events to the right-hand side of the bar and is large enough for the family or your colleagues with an exclusive outdoor space included.
We returned to the lounge following our tour back to the warm atmosphere created by the dimly lit room, the fire and the brassy tones.
Before being taken to our dinner table, we both chose a drink from a new and extensive drinks menu.
As the designated driver I did not have anything exciting, but my guest had a mojito and said it was the best one she had ever had.
Our waiter arrived to take us to our table. The left-hand side of the restaurant packs a lot of tables into a small space but again does not feel cramped.
With an eclectic and extensive food menu before us we had to try starters as well as mains.
I opted for chipotle sticky chicken, which comes coated in a sticky chilli jam, while my guest had deep-fried brie complemented with apple and rosemary chutney.
Other tempting options include the duck liver and port parfait, lamb koftas and pan-fried scallops.
My chicken was delicious — it was tangy and tasty and salty.
I was left wanting more but not because the portion size was too small — but because it was so good!
I sampled some of my guest’s deep-fried brie and the same can be said for her dish. The cheese was gooey and melty and the breadcrumbs made it crispy on the outside.
Starters scoffed down, we moved onto our mains. I chose the dirty burger, which comes with a patty topped with crispy bacon, cheese, beef dripping sauce and fries.
My guest had the crispy duck pizza, which was definitely a dish I hadn’t come across before.
Honourable mentions should be given to the 10-ounce rib-eye steak, rack of lamb and king prawn, crab and chorizo linguine which almost made the cut as our choices for mains.
My burger arrived and it tasted as great as it looked. The buns were well-toasted, the beef was perfectly cooked with lots of juiciness, and the extras inside made it an overall delicious dish.
My only gripe would be that it did not seem like that much of a ‘dirty’ burger — the fillings were standard and were not hugely exciting.
The chips were nothing to rave about either — they were standard skinny fries that lacked any major punch.
But overall, the burger still tasted great and made up for the disappointing side.
My guest’s crispy duck pizza was fantastic. The bold flavours from the plum sauce base, mooli and spring onions were fabulous and the dough was beautifully put together.
Her only minor criticism was the overwhelming portion size as she was unable to eat it all.
With just about enough room left for desserts after a short break, I chose the intriguingly named lemon meringue flamed Alaska, which narrowly pipped the pornstar martini Eton moss for my pudding of choice.
The final course was the cherry on top — it was superb!
The gooey, sticky lemon top was complemented perfectly by a scoop of smooth, creamy ice cream, strawberries and a moist base.
If I could have taken another one home with me, I would have done! It was that good.
My guest went for the chocolate brownie and enjoyed every last mouthful.
With our dinner done, we left The Spade Oak feeling extremely full and content.
The food was delicious across all three courses, the stunning new interior gave off a warm, cosy vibe and the service was excellent.
I would definitely recommend paying the Oak a visit — it’s perfect for a Sunday pub visit or an evening meal out.
- Mojito – £7.75
- Chipotle chicken – £6.95
- Deep-fried brie – £6.50
- Dirty burger – £15.95
- Crispy duck pizza – £13.95
- Brownie – £6.75
- Flamed Alaska – £7.25
Where is it?
Coldmoorholme Ln, Bourne End SL8 5PS
Visit https://www.thespadeoak.co.uk for further details
About the refurbishment
General Manager, Chris Gowers comments: “We’re thrilled with the transformation at The Spade Oak – the new design retains the pub’s fantastic original features, including two fireplaces for guests to enjoy, but with a fresh, stylish feel with a touch of glamour. The re-opening marks a new chapter, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
As part of the refurbishment, the pub has received a full makeover, creating a stylish and modern feel. The newly opened private dining room, with bifold doors and exclusive outside space adjoining, offers the ideal location for celebrations and special occasions. The Spade Oak has undergone significant structural improvements throughout the pub, including the renovation of the pubs second fireplace, alongside the fabulous new look throughout.