Warwick is a grand old place. It’s castle is one of the most iconic places in the county and its character filled streets have been used for numerous tv shows including Doctor Who, Pride and Prejudice and Dangerfield amongst others. At the centre of the town lies the old square, the market square. The Rose and Crown is a 17 c inn with rooms and sits looking out into a market square, and has shaped its own character within the town, blessed with some modern touches it also has rooms and on the Saturday we visited was holding court to a pop up bar and the popular folk festival. Now I’m no Billy Bragg but I like a drop of folk and enjoy the musical notes of real ale.
Warwick lies 11miles from Coventry and a shortish train journey from Birmingham. It’s a place that Ruth and I have enjoyed before, though our castle visit a couple of years ago was scarred by severe rain and a drenching was had. Warwick has a number of small shops, antiques, cafes, restaurants, and a good independent streak. A nice place to visit at any time of the year.
We had been invited on this occasion by Peach Pubs (an independent pub company who also own The Highfield in Birmingham) to try out some of their vegetarian options. Having booked in for a Saturday lunchtime, we realised that our visit coincided with the Warwick Folk Featival which in itself created a nice musical atmosphere, (with live music and Morris dancers) and made Warwick very busy, and yes it was sunny.
I was pleased to find an outside bar near the doorway of the inn from Church Farm Brewery an independent family run craft micro brewery in Budbrooke, Warwickshire. I enjoyed their IPA which is brewed with citra and Crystal hops and was a nice easy drinking beer with a good full flavour, ideal for summer.
Certainly on walking inside you don’t get a feeling that The Rose and Crown is part of a small chain, as internally it differs to The Highfield. The inn has recently been refurbished and presents a light, clean lined, but traditional decor which is instantly inviting and relaxing. The inn does have a bar area and outside tables, though on this occasion with the festival, tables were taken. The restaurant part is to the rear.
So to lunch.
The Rose and Crown prides itself on its seasonal menu, with the freshest ingredients mixing classic, comfort and contemporary dishes. They have a select few vegetarian dishes which look good on the menu but could benefit from having a few more options.
To begin I decided to try their ‘Soup of the day’ off their changing specials board, which was pea, mint, creme fraiche and for my main The Veggie Board, which I’ve been meaning to try for awhile.
The Pea, Mint and Creme Fraiche soup was a thing of beauty. It had a warming, summery gaze, that with the added croutons was balanced and a happy starter. The seasonal flavour of the peas came through. A Faultless soup. It also looked stunning and indulgent.
The Veggie Board consisted of stuffed artichoke hearts, and pesto Mayo, Heritage Tomatoes, salad, goats curd, spicy Hummous, and radishes with toasted pitta, and seeded straws.
It was a simple looking dish, plentiful and packed with good Summery flavours. I liked the seasonal crunchy radishes, and juicy firm heritage tomatoes. As well as the stuffed artichokes which were good to see on the board, (not often found on menus) and the presentation was inviting.
The spicy Hummus and pesto Mayo (I didn’t really enjoy the goats curd too much) added a good dipping element with the crunchy and well made seeded straws and toasted pitta. A good board.
The Veggie Board may not be an exotic or innovative dish but it’s summery and delightful for lunch. Its not too heavy and idle for grazing with a pint, maybe outside. It’s the ingredients that make the board work, I’m not sure it would work so well in the Winter for example when the produce is not so fine, but it all depends on what’s put on the plate and makes up the board.
For desert I was happy to choose the Dip Your Own Strawberries which is a seasonal special I wrote about a few weeks ago.
If any menu has strawberries on it in the summer I have to try it. It’s one of life’s foodie pleasures and reminds me of my childhood and strawberry picking.
See here: http://t.co/A5sCOBVyqR
The locally grown Dip Your Own Strawberries were presented on a board, with details of where they were picked (Staffordshire) and with each of the elements, strawberries, Valrhona melted chocolate sauce and chantilly cream I their own pot. With shortbread biscuits on the side for dipping.
The idea is that the strawberries and biscuits are dipped into the chocolate and cream, much like a clottedcream tea, maybe.
The desert wasn’t too heavy. The strawberries, juicy, red, sweet in flavour. The chocolate velvety, thick and rich. The cream unctuous, sweet and thick. What’s not to like.
The shortbread though we’re disappointing. They were soft, not crumbly and a little wet at the base. Though homemade and looking the part they didn’t deliver the contrast the desert required.
The dish worked in parts. It was fun, the ingredients were good but maybe the dipping could have done with a optional cocktail stick to assist the dipping. Maybe the flag could be used for that purpose.
An intriguing English garden desert.
The food at The Rose and Crown was excellent, the dishes I had were varied and fulfilling. The added bonus is the seasonality of the ingredients and the presentation which is thoughtful and well done. The menu is varied though I would like a few more (maybe one or two) additional Vegetarian dishes on there. The service was excellent throughout. Friendly and attentive and I could tell passionate about the dishes.
For Vegetarians The Rose and Crown is a good place to eat. The inn has good ales, wines and has a nice relaxed decor that feels authentically a country pub in a busy pretty town.
It works on many levels. It was a charming and enjoyable lunch experience and as Billy Bragg sang ‘there is power in a union’ of beer and the freshest food.
Serve the good stuff.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks to Giles and his team for a good lunch and having us.
Disclosure: Our food and drinks were complimentary. My views are my own and honest as I found the experience on the day.
The Yard (an indoor, outdoor kind of space for dining and events.