The smoky scent of embers swirls around you as you enter the restaurant, which is further decorated with natural timber with hints of industrial metallics. Seating is cosy and communal but really well spaced out, with an inviting central table lit up with quirky bulbs and hanging candles.
The homemade sausages ranged from delicious Pork, Pancetta and Paprika to Chicken, Asparagus, Ricotta, Lemon and Sage and scrumptious Beef, Gruyere Red Onion and Red Wine to Lamb, Aubergine, Tahini, Rosemary and Confit Garlic, costing from £5.95 to £7.95. Ahead of my visit, I'd spotted that the menu had the likes of beef quail scotch egg and pork scratchings. For this reason I brought along the best man for the job - my Dad. With many years of scotch egg experience (see the chorizo scotch eggs I made for him) he was on form for sharing his South Derbyshire opinions.
After perusing the cocktail and wine menu, we went for a bottle of French Carignan red to share. It was a shame we couldn't choose a few of the other wines by the glass, and opted for this one with a screw top since my Dad was driving. We both agreed for the £22 price tag it was a beautifully fruity medium bodied wine which proved to be the perfect accompaniment.
To begin, we shared the promised nibbles of scotch eggs and pork scratchings. For those who love their scratchings, for want of better words, fatty, salty and hairy (sorry!), you would have been disappointed. Instead these were lightly puffed and melt-in-the-mouth with a subtle and smoky bite to them. The scotch eggs were gleefully gooey (I had to grab one back out of my Dad's hand to take a picture) and well seasoned. A passing waiter advised we try one with their homemade horseradish mustard - boy was he right!
To accompany, we opted for naked slaw, skin on chips and simple salad. We were both instant fans of the chips, which were as crunchy as you'd hope with scatterings of black pepper and sea salt. The slaw was another great addition which didn't need mayo at all - it was lovely and crunchy as it was.
The salad was great, but not alluring enough to keep us interested - I personally think maybe some other quirky salad combinations would be really popular. Think avocado, courgette ribbons or Asian inspired with mooli, pak choi and coriander.
We did think that side plates would have been really helpful here, and I'm sure if we'd have asked then our super friendly waitress Jade would have grabbed some. As you get the seabass on a wooden board, there isn't much room to grab a bit of slaw or salad to eat on the side. Overall though, a really fantastic main course which has made me want to go home and try my hand at homemade sausages myself.
So to finish I just need to say four words. Bakewell tart ice cream. If you've been reading my little place on the Internet for a while, you'll know I'm a little Bakewell tart obsessed. They also had carrot cake flavour, so you'll be pleased to know the awesome dessert options continue.
I'd also heard good things about the doughnuts with Marsala cream so it made sense to try those too. Unsurprisingly, they were both as good as they look. The boozy cream oozed out of the sugary doughnuts in a sickly sweet but ultimately moreish combination.
Have you been to OAKS yet? What dish would you go for?
2 Bromley Place
Parking? We parked along Park Row just across the road, which was only a couple of quid after 6pm.
Note: We dined as guests of OAKS. All opinions are honest and my own.