Review: The Rose and Crown, Warwick. 


  

   
 
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. 

http://www.roseandcrownwarwick.co.uk/

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. 

  
Church Farm Brewery IPA at The Rose and Crown.

    

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. 

  
   
 
Pea, mint and creme fraiche soup with croutons. 

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

   
Photo courtesy of Peach Pubs. The Rose and Crown

   
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. 

Andy 😊

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. 

http://www.roseandcrownwarwick.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2015/06/Rose-Crown-Summer-2015-ALLDAY-Menu-NEW.pdf

http://www.roseandcrownwarwick.co.uk/

 He’s not a folk musician? 

    
 

  
   

The Yard (an indoor, outdoor kind of space for dining and events. 

#VeggieSundayLunch: The Plough Harborne


The Plough in Harborne, in South Birmingham has a village feel and is filled with quirky independent details. It has a buzzy atmosphere and is well known by people in the know for its fresh homemade food, its Sunday Lunch and its coffee.

In fact it’s Sunday lunch has won the Times newspaper award for best Sunday Lunch in the region.

On a Sunday The Plough serves a Hearty brunch from 9am-12.30. Including a lovely looking vegetarian breakfast and numerous other veggie delights. The Sunday lunch is served from 1pm until they are gone. It is advisable to book as the restaurant was busy throughout our visit.

So it was for Sunday Lunch that Ruth and I ventured to The Plough.

For me-to try the the holy grail of vegetarian dishes-the vegetarian roast dinner.

br />
IMG_2495

IMG_2494

The Plough has a homely industrial feel about it. The design adds character and a modern distressed look to the wooden furniture that has a rustic cared for look. I liked the decor, the quirky vintage, potted plants and funky signs.

IMG_2502

IMG_2619

IMG_2510

The Plough has been praised for its Sunday lunch menu, it’s popular judging by how busy the restaurant and bar was and also for its coffee in its own right. A destination for #Coffeetime itself.

For me the vegetarian Sunday roast contours up images of home cooked food, Christmases, and family gatherings. That Cosy feel, tempting aroma and warming taste.

Vegetarians often get bypassed on a Sunday. Restaurants and pubs, prefer wrongly to provide soggy pasta, or a bland mushroom risotto into veggie punters. An irritation not a discerning foodie in their own right. They don’t take the time to create and test a dish that will bring vegetarians in and send them home happy. Satisfied.

Not the Plough-no not The Plough.

Ruth and I were seated near to the coffee action centre as I call it. The coffee station, on going entertainment for me. An area of action.

We both chose the veggie starter.

The Spicy Watercress Soup.

It arrived Served on a wooden board, in a lovely sunny blue bowl, the green of the watercress on the blue. The flavours of the soup were spot on, the gentle peppery bite of the watercress packed a punch and made for a warming soup and a lovely starter, served with good homemade crusty bread.

br />
IMG_2499

IMG_2500

IMG_2501

For her roast Ruth chose the Beef. Which she loved. A generous plate of food, that was a class above the average.

I chose the veggie Apricot Stuffing roast.

IMG_2505

IMG_2508

The roast looked stunning on arrival. A plate full of food. The Roast was delicious. The Apricot stuffing inside the outer crust of the roast, moist, subtle flavours, well seasoned and an element of harmony in the construction.

So many veggie roasts are overdone, overworked, and over flavoured. The Plough’s veggie roast was perfectly cooked, with the apricots adding a glamorous flavour that made the dish more exotic, enticing.

The best I’d had outside of my family home.

It was served with a creamy swede mash, and a delicious pea filled Yorkshire pudding and a braised red cabbage that was lovely, always a winner with me.

We both agreed to have a pudding, well it was Sunday.

Ruth chose the ice cream cone. Which we both thought was a cool vintage idea. She enjoyed her cone.

I ordered the fresh lemon and meringue cheesecake which though looked lovely was a disappointment when tasted. In part because their was too much biscuit and not enough lemon and meringue. The biscuit seemed unhappy being there, too cloying and not in proportion to the lemon which had a good flavour. A shame.

IMG_2512

IMG_2496

IMG_2497

IMG_2622

IMG_2623

We both felt we should order some coffee as we were being enticed by the coffee station. Try some it kept saying.

We both ordered a double espresso. They packed a punch, both superbly made. I will be back to try more.

br />
IMG_2514

IMG_2513

The Plough has recently introduced a new whisky list of rare and international Whiskies to compliment the large Scottish list they have already. It’s a stunningly large list. Very impressive.

I was advised to try the Swedish MackMyra single malt, so we ordered one of those and one of the complex Ardbeg 10 year single malt from the Islay region of Scotland. Which we shared.

The Ardbeg had a complex malty and peaty flavour that was exuberant and in your face, but for Islay lovers like ourselves its s great choice.

I didn’t realise Sweden made whisky so this was a treat. The MackMyra single Malt had a fresh nutty flavour, light in colour, with a lingering finish and slightly lemony. A nice gentle floral whisky and a lovely contrast to the peaty Ardbeg. Well recommended for something different.

br />
IMG_2516

IMG_2517

We also drank two glasses of white wine and a pint and half of Purity ale.

The Plough was full of people in the know. The staff and service was charming throughout, young and enthusiastic and happy.

The plough gets pretty busy so booking on a Sunday is advised. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, a mixture of families with small children, families without children, couples and friend groups.

For my first Vegetarian Sunday Lunch review the Plough sets the standard and maybe won’t be beaten on quality, touch and care. It’s worth spending a bit more. It’s worthwhile in the Plough’s case.

The king of the veggie Sunday roast.

Kick back and try for yourself and take your meat eating friends and family too.

They will love it.

IMG_2504

IMG_2605

IMG_2498

IMG_2497-0

IMG_2509

The Plough Harborne,
21 High Street,
Harborne,
Birmingham
B17 9NT

0121 427 3678

http://www.theploughharborne.co.uk

Facebook/plough.harborne

@ploughharborne

We were invited by The Plough Harborne as guests to try their Sunday Lunch menu. All food and drink was complimentary but I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own and honest as always.

Many thanks to Dan the restaurant manager for looking after us.

Has anyone had a good veggie Sunday lunch anywhere else? If its good then I will try and visit.

Have you tried the Plough Sunday lunch what did you think?

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

@andydhare

IMG_2617

IMG_2620

IMG_2618