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There’s plenty of competition hereabouts, but readers rate this highly idiosyncratic pub as one of the best gastronomic destinations in the area. The Crown is a quirky little place, with an infectious atmosphere in the tiny bar, a pleasing conservatory and a plainly decorated, cream-walled dining room. As one of the restaurant scene’s more eccentric characters, chef/proprietor Simon Bonwick runs the kitchen single-handedly and leaves front-of-house to members of his (very large) family – especially his eldest son. That said, the results on the plate are hugely impressive, marrying British seasonal ingredients to the big-boned richness of French provincial cuisine: rillettes of wild boar with beer pickles; croustade of sorrel and spinach; slow-cooked veal cheek with ‘rather nice veal sauce’; roast cod with watercress and horseradish. To conclude, expect French-inspired ideas such as tarte Tatin, pistachio charlotte and Black Forest ‘cadeau’ as well as hot treacle sponge (‘like when you were little’). Unbeatable prices and a passionate, personable approach to hospitality also do much to enhance the persona of this Michelin-starred rural rendezvous.
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