Oakman Inns carries on wood-fired pizza and grilled meat tradition at new site

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

The King's Head: has reopened following a £1m investment
The King's Head: has reopened following a £1m investment

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Oakman Inns has opened its 13th pub with a menu that focuses on homemade pizzas and grilled meats.

Continuing the pubco’s ethos across its other sites, the King’s Head in Chipping Ongar, Essex, is offering fresh handmade pizzas baked to order in a wood-fired brick pizza oven, along with flavoured meats and fish grilled on a charcoal Josper grill. A variety of sharing platters and lighter bites are also available.

The opening follows a £1m investment in the Grade II listed building, which has been closed for five years.

Refurbishment includes a new dining terrace that seats 30 with seating for a further 30 in a walled garden. The dining terrace has been created with its original brickwork and timber-framed roof.

Elsewhere, hidden Inglenook fireplaces have been restored and old tattered brickwork has been rendered in a traditional lime plaster. New panelled wainscoting, meanwhile, has been installed in the style of the late 18th century.

Open kitchen

The pub’s café dining area includes a full length open kitchen that allows guests to watch the pizzas and meats being cooked.

Starters and sharers on the menu include: calamari fritti, with garlic and lemon mayonnaise (£5.95); saltimbocca Scotch egg – free-range egg wrapped in sage, prosciutto and Lincolnshire sausage meat with hollandaise (£6.95); and gambas pil pil – King prawns sautéed in garlic and chilli butter, finished with a splash of white wine, and sourdough to mop up with (£5.75).

Pizza options feature the likes of: parmigiana forte, with aubergine, tomato sauce, mozzarella and chilli (£8.95); and neptuno, which includes squid, prawns, crab, chilli, tomato sauce, rocket and garlic oil (£10.75).

Beef dry-aged for a minimum of 21 days is sourced from butcher Aubrey Allen. Steaks are cooked to order, and served with vine-roasted Marzanino tomatoes, house fries and dressed rocket.

In addition, there is a selection of home-comfort food, Sunday roasts and desserts.

Charity donation

Oakman Inns is known for its charitable work, and with every belly of pork dish sold, the King’s Head will raise 25p for the Chelmsford-based Helen Rollason Heal Cancer Charity.

General manager at the pub is Rachel Wyatt, while Neil Papley has been named head chef.

Oakman Inns chief executive Peter Borg-Neal said: “The King's Head is a wonderful old coaching Inn and Chipping Ongar is a fantastic town.

“Clearly, the building needed a lot of TLC as well as some serious financial investment to restore it to its former glory. It now looks amazing and I am very confident that Rachel and her team will ensure it, once again, becomes the centre of the community.”

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