We went to the Crown on a Bank Holiday lunch with our two boys (5 and 4) and my octogenarian parents. We chose The Crown as we had been before Christmas and had had a very good lunch. As always, it was very busy and we benefited from a late cancellation. Is this the busiest food pub in this part of Essex? It must be a contender, certainly for turnover, if not for sheer numbers.
The starters were distinctly mediocre. The maple sweetbreads were too sweet and the dish lacked any sort of finesse. The same was true of the scallops which was a meagre portion for the price and apparently lacking flavour. The asparagus was apparently 'ok'. This pub, with its reputation and at these prices, really should do better. The garlic bread was also not to everyone's taste (although I quite liked the brioche-style roll swimming in liquid garlic butter!).
The calamity began with the main courses. The boys were served their fish and chips (very good) and the linguine pomodoro (decent but massively overpriced at £7) with our starters. My starter plate and their plates sat on the table without being cleared for over half a hour. By that stage we had already been in the pub over an hour. When they were cleared we were asked if they should put the ticket through for the main courses..... having sat there waiting for our mains for half an our already we were not impressed. After a lot of behind the scenes commotion we were told that the ticket had in fact dropped from the pass and our mains were being plated up... Phew!
Unfortunately that turned out to be a lie and over 20 minutes later the mains turned up. I was gone 3pm and we had arrived at just after 1.30....
So, given the lacklustre starters and the shambolic service why do I give this place 3 stars? Well, because they totally hit the ball out of the park with the main courses. I, together with octogenarian parent number 1, had the mackerel with chorizo, samphire and baby jersey royals... an absolute triumph! My other half had the rump of lamb with purple sprouting; beautifully cooked and a perfect marriage of flavours. Both dishes were skilfully assembled to boot. At £15+ a dish you would expect really excellent food and that is what we got.Octogenarian parent number 2 had the fish sans chips but with salad. The fish was apparently superb and the batter a thing of light, crispy wonder.
So, I can see why this place is so popular. It needs to seriously up its game on timing and the quality of the starters mind you and I think some of the children's meals are far too expensive.
At the prices being charged, word of mouth keeps a place like this successful. Too many negative comments will have a domino effect which might cripple trade. Given the positives, I hope they do not let that happen.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
May 12, 2013
Many thanks for taking the trouble to give us your in depth feedback analysis. Last Bank Holiday was an exceptionally busy weekend at The Crown which, I hope, goes some way towards explaining – while certainly not excusing – any slow service you experienced.
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I’m particularly pleased that you enjoyed your main courses – we have just launched our new Spring menu, taking advantage of an increasingly plentiful supply of delicious seasonal local produce, and we have been delighted with the response. That said, we are never complacent and we will certainly address the issues you raised and look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.