The best bit: giving us the chance to discuss whether beer can really be ironic.
Our venue this week is a little out of town (around a 15 minute walk) but if you are in the region of the city station or Clarence Park as we were then you might be interested to pop into the redeveloped Crown pub on Hatfield Road.
Just as every other new eatery has done of late, the Crown have chosen to be en trend and decorate in grey. It is a large building with several sections and each one has been done up slightly differently but on/en theme i.e. dark grey in one room, light grey in another, middling grey in.. etc. This is complemented with rather nice floor tiles/carpet featuring grey accent tones. We went for the quieter dining room style room but there is a buzzier open plan bit where the trendier people sat and talked (loudly). Some of them were even wearing grey – it must be catching! The young waiting staff were attractive and friendly and wore grey striped shirts. Are you getting bored of the grey talk yet? Mr and Mrs Midweek lunch were wearing blue because we are not cool.
We nearly didn’t go in because the menu on the pub frontage only seemed to feature burgers and we weren’t in the mood for them. However it turned out that this was only the front page. The back had ordinary mains, starters and a kids menu. There was also a specials board. As a vegetarian I was a little disappointed with the main course range. There was a boring old tomato penne option and I think that was it.
However I chose the mini smoked mackerel fish cakes from the starter menu accompanied by (of course) some sweet potato fries, the portion of which was too generous to finish. They were thin rather than fat chips and good enough but not in the same class as the Smokehouse Deli. The fish cakes, interesting dressing and surrounding salad however were extremely tasty and I would heartily recommend them.
Mr Midweek Lunch had a reasonable steak sandwich with a much less generous portion of proper normal potato fries and felt less hungry than when he started, but not an awful lot more than that. The beer menu was exciting to start with but it turned out that most things weren’t in stock. He had a pretend craft beer made by a big brewery (Greene King) that was unable to escape it’s essentially un-craftlike roots.
We were going to give it 6.9 but then the bill arrived in an old book. We love old books and hadn’t come across this gimmick in any of the other grey eateries so we give it 7/10. Perfectly acceptable but the menu needs development. The Crown is one to keep your eye on and we will make a return visit with the children to try out the kids menu.