UPDATE: MAY 15, 2020 — The Oaks' new garden bar and eatery, Alala's, is reopening for dine-in service from Friday, May 15, with limits of up to ten people at a time. To book, call (02) 9953 5515.
Named after Alala Thomas — matriarch of the pub's third-generation family owners — bar and eatery Alala's takes its cues from a French country cottage. Taking pride of place in the venue is a cast iron oven is turning out roasted meats, vegetables and hot breads. The space is a surprisingly elegant addition to the well-worn watering hole, featuring natural light aplenty, walls of art and a bar pouring cocktails such as the white negroni with gin, Suze (a French liqueur made from gentian root) and Lillet.
A nod to contemporary picnic fare, the food lineup features a range of tartines — a fancy way of saying open sandwiches — starring toppings like blue mackerel with chermoula and fresh figs with honey and goat's cheese. Fresh scallops are served on the shell with finger lime, chorizo spice and lobster oil, while rotisserie cauliflower comes sided with pumpkin hummus, mojo verde and ras el hanout.
Seats spill out onto a new back terrace, where you can pull up a leafy spot under the famed 80-year-old oak tree. This has more of a cafe feel — you can kick back with coffee and fresh pastries from 10am each morning — and has its own entrance from Ben Boyd Road.
Images: Madeleine Ryan, Papaya.