If you’re looking for quality fine dining combined with a relaxed, pub atmosphere then look no further than The Crown in Sydenham which has recently been taken over by new Landlord & Lady Will Shaw and Pippa Simpson.
Located opposite the 12th century church in the quaint, countryside village of Sydenham, is gastro pub, The Crown. Dating back to the 1600s, diners and drinkers alike will be charmed by its apparent old world features such as the hand-carved beams, low rise ceiling and warming fireplace, coupled with the friendly welcome you receive from new landlord and lady, Will and Pippa, when you enter the premises.
Having taken over the reins late last year, the young couple, whose background is in hospitality, have given the establishment a bit of a revival with a new menu, increased drinks offering and themed food & drink events as well as a garden refurbishment, which is put to great use during the summer months by locals and guests from across the Chilterns.
Having perused the Food & Drinks menu on a recent visit, which included a great mix of good old fashioned pub classics combined with world fusion dishes, my taste buds were looking forward to the fine dining experience ahead.
Having always been a sucker for a Scotch Egg when I saw this Starter it was a winner for me. However, this was no ordinary scotch egg, instead of the usual (and somewhat heavy) sausage meat, this egg was encased in fluffy, delicately flavoured smoked haddock which once cut into, a perfectly cooked yolk oozed out. This was complimented by a dusting of pepper and a coriander mayonnaise. My fellow diner chose a deliciously flakey “Caramelised Red Onion Tart Tatin with Wild Mushrooms, Tarragon Crisp & Goats Cheese Crumb”. The crumbly base of the tart almost melted in the mouth whilst the wild mushrooms added a smokey oak like taste to the sweet onion and creamy cheese topping – a real treat for the palette.
In keeping with my light starter, I fancied an equally refreshing and summery main so opted for the waiters recommendation of ‘Pan roasted, Coconut & Chilli marinated Chicken Supreme on an Oriental Salad of Coriander, Red Onion, Chilli, Coconut and Red Cabbage’ which was inspired by the chefs worldly travels. It didn’t disappoint! An explosion of flavours worked their way around my mouth with every bite. After much deliberation, my colleague went for “Duck Breast with Dauphinoise Potatoes, Tender Stem Broccoli & Celeriac Puree”. The duck was cooked to perfection, just the right amount of pinkness with a slight crisp to the skin and the creamy potatoes and al dente vegetables added another dimension to the dish. Dessert was a sharing affair, of “Chocolate marquise – with a chocolate truffle, Chantilly cream, and a tuille biscuit” and a slice of “Lemon Tart with Fresh Raspberry Coulis and crumbled Meringue” as we couldn’t choose from what all sounded like heavenly creations. Presented on cut slate, these indulgent puds looked like works of art, almost too good to eat! I said ‘almost’ too good to eat – they were devoured in seconds – need I say more!
It’s very clear that the chefs have a real flair for presentation as well as flavour, coupling the best seasonal ingredients together with good quality, wholesome food resulting in truly mouth-watering dishes. We will definitely be returning, especially when we know the Gin inspired menu is back!
For further information about The Crown’s menus and forthcoming events, which include ‘SYDFest’ – an all day Live Music extravaganza, complete with a BBQ, over 25 local ales & ciders and a Gin & Prosecco bar – visit www.crownsydenham.com.