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’).
The drink offering is honed and well-researched with a small but fantastic wine list on offer, alongside a few different beers that you might not have tried before.
Expect a convivial and curious atmosphere created by the team, who help to make you feel like you’re in someone’s home, rather than one of the UK’s top restaurants. The space itself is tiny, with room for only 20 guests, so you’ll have to book well ahead if you want to nab a table. And it’s worth noting that there is no children’s menu, so more of a spot for a grown up get-together. They do allow children over 12, if they’re happy to eat from the main menu, but there are no high chairs and no space for prams, so tiddlers will have to be left at home.
Unbeatable prices and a passionate, personable approach to hospitality also do much to enhance the persona of this Michelin-starred rural rendezvous.