Thursday, 3 March 2016

Review: The Rose and Crown, Warwick

I was first introduced to Peach Pubs when The High Field opened in Edgbaston. They have a variety of pubs across the Midlands, all with a slightly different feel. I've had some lovely times at The High Field, including Bonfire Night, a summer BBQ and a lovely date night meal. It feels pleasingly grown up and despite being just out of the city centre, has a sense of being in the countryside.

So how would the Rose and Crown compare?

The Rose and Crown is on the Market Place in Warwick town centre and looks very appealing from the outside, with lots of plants, outdoor seating for the warmer weather and traditional lighting.

Indoors, things get a little more modern- feature lights, amusing retro pictures and bold painted walls.

We settled into a cosy booth which felt very private but also gave us a good view of the restaurant area.

There were plenty of little nooks where you can sit with friends or family. I was loving the music- always like to hear Pulp!

Our friendly waitress brought round the specials board for us. The menu was full of goodies and the specials just made it harder to decide!

Although The Rose and Crown is part of a chain, there are some small differences between the menus and I think this particularly shows in the specials. There is a focus on steak but not at the cost of other mains. There's lots of lovely salads, plenty of fish and seasonal produce. It's classic British gastropub grub with the occasional influence of other cuisines- see that king prawn salad below.

While umming and ahhing, we sipped on Grand Gin and Tonics. I love this style of serving gin- lots of ice, a double measure of a quality gin, decent tonic water and suitable garnishes. I picked Brockman's gin after a recommendation. It was perfect with the grapefruit.

Edd also had a G&T and later moved onto a beautiful, sharp Whiskey Sour.

Food time. I had been torn between scallops or smoked duck but luckily Edd went for the scallops. Perfectly pan-fried scallops were served with earthy black pudding, an apple puree and crackling.

My smoked duck salad was just what I wanted. Peach Pubs do a salad really well. Some may consider a salad to be boring but I find a bowl of nice bits and pieces very appealing. This salad was chocked full of delicious slices of smoked duck, different salad leaves, carrot, nuts and topped with 'quackling'-  super cripsy duck skin. It was tasty and interesting but light enough that I didn't feel stuffed before my main appeared.

We both had mains from the specials board. Edd had the confit lamb belly. The lamb was tender, as you would expect, and perfectly complimented by the mint jus and pomegranate. Parsnip puree was pleasant, but the most interesting part was the heritage carrot terrine. They had cleverly included purple carrots as well as potato slices, with a fantastic crispy top.

I had monkfish from the specials board. Monkfish is an expensive fish so this dish was on the pricey side at £17.50. Two fillets of beautiful fish were served with lovely little crab croquettes, tenderstem broccoli and crispy parma ham. I was initially disappointed the ham wasn't wrapped around the fillets but actually having it separate worked well. It was super crispy and meant I could season the fish with it as I chose- or try the fish on its own.

Wrapping all this together was a fantastic chilli and lemon butter sauce. The brocolli was fantastic- it had barely met the hot water. A light and vibrant meal- I could eat this everyday.

Of course there was room for dessert. Edd had a moist, syrupy ginger sponge cake with a lovely vanilla ice cream. This was nowhere near as heavy as you would imagine.

I went a little left-field with my dessert choice- I had CHEESE. Calm down Helen! I've started to really appreciate a cheeseboard of late. The Rose and Crown have a lovely selection of seasonal cheeses- no standard cheddar and brie here! You can have the whole lot to share, an individual plate with three cheeses of your choice or a single smidgen with just one cheese for a bargain £2.75.

I was worried that I wouldn't get through three so I just went for one. I chose a delicious warm Welsh cheese, topped with honey, served with chutney and crackers. This cheese is an award winner and I can see why. It was so good that I wish I'd picked two more! I have since had a nose at the spring cheeses and they all sound wonderful. I'll be more greedy and go for three next time.

Finally, I insisted on coffee because you get smarties with it. Amazing.

I had a fantastic time at The Rose and Crown. It was interesting to see the similarities between it and The High Field- the food quality, the delicious salads, the cheerful service and the grand gins. However, it definitely is its own place with its own feel. When we left around half eight, the bar area was full and there was a great Saturday night atmosphere.

While some of the specials are heading towards the £20 mark, the main menu prices are more in line with what you'd expect from an up market pub- between £12 and £15. If you're in Warwick, I would definitely recommend a visit to The Rose and Crown. You can even stay over night!

The meal was complimentary in return for an honest review.

Photos by myself and Edd.