The Oaks | Highcliffe, Dorset

Living in a reletavly small town it's pretty big news when a new pub opens. Although were I live we aren't blessed with an range of places to eat, unless you drive into Bournemouth, the places we do have are pretty stunning and the majority have sea views which you just can't beat. When it was announced that a Raymond Blanc Brasserie was opening in Highcliffe, it was pretty big news and I was excited for its arrival.

3 months since it opened and I've finally stop driving by and drove on in meeting my friends by the entrance, all excited to have our first try of, The Oaks.

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The pub feels homely from the moment you walk in with cosy chairs and warm tones throughout but whilst the evenings were still light we took the most of sitting outside in… wait for it… a beach hut!

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This was fab and I'm glad we got a chance to do it before the weather changes as they don't have any heating. The huts make the perfect space for an intimate setting, or a girly catch up like we were having, and although you're not inside taking in all the design you're not forgotten either with blankets being brought out and the pontoon lighting turned on.

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Now, onto the main event… the food! The menu was huge, there really is something for everyone but that almost made choosing difficult. Laura and I went for the salmon & smoked haddock fishcake whilst Krissie went for the free range Cornish beef burger and we were all pretty envious of each others plate. The photos can speak for themselves, the food was lush!

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After our main we new we all wanted desert and again we all went for something different, me and pistachio soufflé, Krissie the, chocolate feuillantine and Laura a gooseberry crumble. Now I have a real sweet tooth and I love a good dessert but this is the one area I did feel a little let down. Yes they sounded and looked amazing but they just weren’t…lush! For me I felt like all the extra ingredients where unnecessary and there just added to justify the price (the cheapest of the 3 being £7.50) which is a shame as we couldn’t fault the mains.

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This being said we sat in our little hut well after our plates had been cleared and enjoyed our wine (which was SOOOOO nice) and before we knew it the time had flown and it was time to go and none of us wanted to leave.