We hear nightmare stories for pub owners that 27 close a week in the UK, but thankfully when they are run well and supported by the local community, they are an absolute joy for the neighbourhood. Case in point is The Crown Tavern. Visiting on what would have been a tranquil Tuesday in most pubs, there was a notable buzz and vitality as soon as you enter and it was a struggle to find available seating. They must be the pub of choice for the many SMEs in Clerkenwell.
Perhaps there is a yearning for traditional, classic pubs in the age of new-fangled, faddish restaurant openings. The decor is supremely traditional; in fact, much enjoyment can be derived from studying archive photos of old London on their walls. Seating is nevertheless cosy and comfortable (if you are lucky enough to find some).
The menu of gastropub modern British cuisine using fine seasonal ingredients is standard in almost every pub in London, however, the execution here is faultless and ultra efficient. Food arrived within a few short minutes of ordering; you do wonder if most people in the establishment were just enjoying the fine craft beer instead of dining.
Grilled asparagus with rocket salad and baby tomatoes with pumpkin seeds were fresher than versions offered by most top London restaurants. Although I do suspect it might be imported asparagus, as it was over a month before the official asparagus season starts in the UK.
There was no doubt about the origins of their pork sausages for the main course, as they proudly added that they were from Orchard farm in the forest of Dean. The sausages were plump, meaty and importantly extremely flavoursome especially when matched with their red wine jus. Even the mash had extra flavours as it was infused with spring onions.
The dessert menu was quite limited and only had the choice of chocolate brownies, sticky toffee pudding or a cheese platter. Opting for the safe option of sticky toffee pudding: it was suitably spongy and decadent without being drenched in a pool of toffee sauce. I did suspect due to the lightening speed and the piping hot nature of the dish to the point of burning your mouth, the main part of the preparation was the use of the microwave.
Overall, the Crown Tavern offers an assured menu with a fine selection of beers and is an ideal venue for post-work colleagues to meet up and wind down.