Simply the Best – The Rose & Crown – Warwick
I had visited the most recent and twentieth pub in the Peach Pubs group, The Bear & Ragged Staff at Cumnor, Oxfordshire during the summer to help celebrate the groups 15th birthday, so it was only fitting that I called in on the very first!
The PEACH PUBS Aim
Our aim is to make our pubs great places, full of character, great individual places to eat, drink & sleep; a place for local people, businesses, families & tourists to meet and call their own. Every pub is unique, individually designed to suit their town or village, and respecting each pub’s history.
The original Peach Pub, The Rose & Crown opened in 2002, is situated right in the centre of Warwick, on the Market Place. It was a Sunday afternoon in Autumn and there was a Chocolate Festival taking place out on the square, so I was obliged to start my day with a little chocolate! The pub was packed with diners, families with children and locals enjoying some food and drink, and table space was at a premium.
If we are to halt the closure of thirty-three pubs a week across the country, this is how it will be done, a well-managed pub being supported by the local community, tourists and other patrons.
The Peach Pub Company believes that every town and village deserves a great pub, the town of Warwick has one of the best! The Rose & Crown has won several National awards over the last fifteen years including being named top pub in the United Kingdom in 2004, so no greater praise!
Having been built in the 17th century, this distinguished pub, with rooms, is a short walk from the bus station, a 7-minute walk from the majestic Warwick Castle and 3 miles from the Royal Pump Rooms in Royal Leamington Spa.
Guests arriving at the pub are requested to approach the bar and make yourself known. There is no formal reception desk, but a small table at the side of the bar to check in. My wife and I were met inside the pub by Leamington born General Manager Katie Middleton and Barman Cameron. The welcome we received was warm, friendly and polite.
The Rose & Crown is obviously still very much a local pub with many coming into the pub to enjoy a drink with friends at the bar. There is also plenty of outdoor space at the front of the pub for sitting and watching the world go by. It is also a `dog friendly` pub as I noticed several well-behaved dogs lying under dining tables or patiently sitting at their master’s feet.
I love pubs and I love pub culture.
The Rose & Crown has thirteen stylish en-suite B & B rooms, five directly over the pub and eight in the building right across the lane, which is where we were staying. Those `in the lane` annexe were opened five years ago in a 17th century building but they have a modern thinking low carbon foot-print, using solar power and LED lighting throughout the rooms.
We decided to go to our room and return to the pub after freshening up. Cameron walked us across to our room` across the lane`, in a building which faces onto the square. The Chocolate Festival was in full swing and loud music was being played across the square. Fortunately, once upstairs in our room we couldn’t hear any of it!
Our room was a good size with a large comfortable bed, a small flat screen – television and the usual additions such as tea & coffee essentials. What really made the room special was the bathroom which was huge! There was a rollover bath, shower, his and hers individual wash basins and toilet. There was a lot of space in the room, it was more like an up-market Hotel bedroom rather than a small market pub bedroom.
There were two bedside tables, one of which included a small music unit with radio and i-pod connection. There were plenty of sockets around the room to charge up mobile phones and connect to the very useful free Wi-Fi.
The room was clean, comfortable, and well stocked with very good quality towels, toiletries and there was plenty of hanging space in the tall cupboard for our few clothes. On the day I visited the weather was dry and warm but if the weather is wet, `courtesy` umbrellas may be available at the pub for guests staying at the annexe to make use of?
The annexe was very quiet! I didn’t see or hear anyone coming or going during the time I was there. There was a little early morning noise from street sweeping machines outside on the square but besides that minor inconvenience, we enjoyed a good quiet night’s sleep.
Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.
We went back to the pub for a light lunch as we were going to enjoy a three-course meal later in the evening, so we opted for a `starter` from the menu to see us through to the evening.
Brixham Crab Cakes, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Cucumber & Coriander Salad. The three crab cakes were round and were tasty but had a little too much potato in them and not enough crab. The small pieces of chilli in the salad were unexpectedly very hot whereas the chilli sauce was not!
Breaded Camembert, Tomato Chutney & Rocket plus shared chips. The round Camembert filled the plate and had a nice crispy skin.
When we went back in the evening there were still plenty of diners and drinkers, but it was much easier to find a table. We chose a bottle of wine to go with our meal, an Argentinian Malbec, Tanners Mendoza. It was a very fruity wine with a hint of plums and coffee, a fine red to accompany our selection of food.
We both chose from the `Specials Blackboard`. I started with Ham Hock Croquettes and my wife opted for the Cray Fish Pot. The seafood pot was the perfect appetiser. The three small round shredded Ham Hocks were extremely tasty and came with a vinegar soused salad sitting on a pink Marie-Rose sauce. The Hocks had plenty of soft and tender meat in them and were crispy on the outside, soft and slowly seeping out from the inside. Perfect! Both starters were very tasty and very carefully presented.
For mains I chose the Half chicken and my wife chose the Lamb Shank. Both dishes came with ` all the trimmings` which included roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables including carrots, cabbage, broccoli and a huge Yorkshire pudding. I was not expecting the Yorkshire but after all it was Sunday and a Sunday Roast is not complete without a Yorkshire Pudding and a Jug of hot gravy to fill them up with! The meal was delicious, full of flavour and very filling!
For Dessert there was plenty of choice, so my wife chose her favourite Crème Brûlée & Shortbread and I chose Treacle tart with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. They both hit the spot!
The Rose & Crown celebrates an increasingly vibrant British food culture with a clear focus on using seasonal ingredients and sourcing local suppliers wherever possible. All the pub’s meat is British and of the highest quality. Their steaks come from one of Britain’s finest beef herds and are dry-aged for 28-days to increase their flavour.
All their chickens are free range Cotswold White, a slow growing suitably raised bird that has a wonderfully succulent flavour. Despite insisting on buying the best quality ingredients the menu prices are affordable and reasonable, considering the high level of service and quality of food. All the food was beautifully cooked, and the table service was excellent with friendly waiting staff.
Whilst we were eating there was plenty of very good music playing in the background, loud enough to make out the artists, Morrissey, Delroy Wilson and Primal Scream, but not too loud to drown out pleasant conversation.
There were plenty of what looked like David Bailey `sixties` black and white celebrity photographs on the walls including the likes of Mick Jagger, Beatles John and Paul and David Hockney. In the small dining area to the right of the bar is a `cycling` themed room, complete with real saddles!
By providing good food and drink combined with the warm, friendly hospitality of the waiting staff, this classic English Market Inn is sure to win many more awards for its food, rooms and hospitality in the next couple of years. It comes highly recommended from me!
A lot of country pubs will receive Michelin stars.
The Rose & Crown is part of Peach Pubs a collection of great pubs, mainly in market towns in the heart of England, that serve good quality, fresh, honest food and drink in relaxed, welcoming surroundings.
I was staying at The Rose & Crown enjoying a Sunday Evening Dinner but of course The Rose & Crown is open all week, offering a comprehensive menu to suit all tastes, at any time.
I liked the pub; Annexe and the staff were brilliant! I urge you to check out The Rose & Crown at the earliest opportunity when you are next in Warwick.
My visit was courtesy of Peach Pubs but as always, the comments and opinions are my own.
Rose & Crown
30 Market Place
Tel: 01926 411117
Note: If you are arriving by car there is a secure car park just a short walk from the pub at Linen Street. Pay £4.50 for over 4.5 hours parking and you can leave the car there for 24 hours. The car park closes at 8.00pm until 07.00 the following morning and you cannot return to it during that time, so take everything with you for your stay.
Did You Know?
The ROSE AND CROWN
There are two theories behind this name, the first coming from the Wars of the Roses. Sibling rivalries in the 14th century led to war between the houses of Lancaster (whose supporters wore red roses) and York (who wore white).
In the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 Lancastrian Henry Tudor defeated and killed the Yorkist King Richard III and crowned himself Henry VII. He then married the old king’s beautiful niece Elizabeth, the Rose of York, and they went on to found the Tudor dynasty together. Pubs were named Rose and Crown in the couple’s honour.
The last Tudor monarch Elizabeth I may unwittingly have influenced the second explanation of this name. When she died in 1603 she had appointed King James VI of Scotland as her heir. It is said that pubs called The Crown added an English rose to their signs, implying that their loyalty to a Scottish king must always take second place to their Englishness.