A free house, the Crown is the essence of a traditional country pub that has stood the test of time, no bland corporate makeovers and intrusive music, just comforting original features, beamed ceilings, flagstone floors, interesting nooks and crannies housing long-collected china jugs, all aimed at making you feel at home. The pub is run by a charming mother and daughter combo (the daughter presides over the kitchen and when you see the length and breadth of the menu you can tell how much hard work that must be) and they give the Crown it’s unique family atmosphere.
We lost no time in acquiring two pints of draft Birra Moretti and retired to a corner table by the window so we could admire the pretty and well-tended garden whilst looking through the extensive menu. The ‘Specials’ board is always a good place to start, pan-fried scallops, with black pudding, served with pea purée took our fancy as well as the less exotic spaghetti Bolognese served with garlic bread, or maybe slow cooked lamb shank? After much deliberation I decided on duck and port pâté to start, served with toast, mixed salad and spicy tomato and red onion marmalade, followed by good old-fashioned beer battered cod and chips with tartare dip. To her credit, our friendly waitress didn’t flinch when she was asked for a traditional prawn cocktail without lettuce (a deal was struck to add cucumber and peppers instead), and for main course the pan-fried scallops (without any fancy instructions, just as it came).
The pub was humming with regulars filling both bars, chatting and socialising and thankfully routing the idea that everybody sits at home of an evening glued to the internet. Our starters arrived, appetisingly presented and both were excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed the homemade duck pâté, rich and full of flavour and the prawn cocktail piled high in a glass was a fishy delight. The portions are beyond generous and seeing an enormous white bowl of steaming spaghetti Bolognese being delivered to a neighbouring table which I knew would have defeated me, I was glad I had chosen the fish and chips!
For the main courses, the pan-fried scallops were delicate and perfectly cooked, just great with the spicy black pudding, and my cod was first rate, flaky white fish, crisply battered and served on a rather beautiful glass plate shaped like a fish. After this, for ten minutes of so we took a breather but somehow couldn’t resist Oreo cookie cheesecake to share for dessert.
On the way out as well as admiring the collection of John Ireland Guinness cartoons, I saw a man forking into a splendid looking pie, ah food envy – one for next time I think!