When the gastropub concept was first thrust upon us, many of us where confused as to what to make of them. It was a case of trousers or jeans? A fancy glass of vino or a good pint? Best behaviour or boisterous fun? And then there was the food. Pubs up and down the country were eschewing traditional British fare for Continental dishes, usually with disastrous results. Fortunately, things seem to have gone full circle and pubs have realised that all they need to do is provide top quality, simple British food. The Crown is such a pub.
Set in a grand Victorian building next to Victoria Park, the interior is a warm, inviting place to meet for a drink or a meal. There are loads of cosy couches and large tables to congregate around, whilst those after a more formal affair can choose to dine in the smarter dining room upstairs. There’s also a balcony to enjoy the views of the park during sunnier weather. The wide range of drinks includes everything from Adnam’s and Doom Bar on the pumps to a respectable wine list.
Punters have a choice of a light bar menu and a proper dinner menu based on top quality ingredients cooked simply and well. Starters were a generous serving of pleasantly salty Ham hock and a conversely tiny and dry Mushroom tart; I knew I should have gone for the Pork rillettes which I spied a neighbouring table enjoying! For mains, my Lamb was superbly cooked and served with delicious potato boulangere, whilst Mr Kooper’s Sea Bass was a gorgeous piece of fish which again had been well cooked but was served with a somewhat bland risotto. For desserts the Apple & pear crumble was actually half a poached pear and half a poached apple, served with a generous mound of perfectly crumbly crumble and a side of custard; looked contrived, but was actually totally scrumptious.
Overall, with its friendly and comfortable venue and some good grub The Crown sets a good standard for what the modern gastropub should be providing.
Cuisine type: British
Dinner for 2: £50
223 Grove Road
London, E3 5SN