Chiswick’s latest eatery – The Crown
By Bridget Osborne
I was invited to review The Crown, the new pub / restaurant at 210 Chiswick High Rd, where Carvosso’s used to be. Interested to see what it was like, I went last week with a couple of friends. The independent pub is owned by Henry Harris and is one of four, soon to be five establishments in the Harcourt Inns group. The chef-restaurateur has a good reputation as a classic chef of French bistro cuisine, opening Racine in Knightsbridge and then a chain of gastro pubs – The Hero of Maida in Maida Vale, The Coach in Clerkenwell, The Three Cranes in Farringdon and now The Crown in Chiswick.
I like what he’s done with the place. He’s opened up the dining room so it’s now lighter and more airy, without losing the character of the 17th century building that was converted into a pub from a former police station and stables. They have quite an extensive menu: ‘French classic with a British modern twist’, so on the one hand there is rabbit and veal, ‘Racine’ chicken liver pate, calf’s brain and steak tartar. On the other there’s Lincolnshire smoked eel and steak and chips. The head chef, Daniele Zaffora, is Sicilian so there are also quite a few Mediterranean dishes: ‘Chickpea tortelli with Swiss char, morels and mushroom jus’, an aubergine and tomato bake ‘Melanzane alla Parmigana, bitter leaf salad’, ‘Mezzi paccheri, mussels and cannellini beans, basil’ and ‘Sicilian cannolo with creamed ricotta and pistachios’ for dessert.
I wish I’d discovered that before we ordered because it would have been nice to try a dish about which the chef was particularly passionate. My friends had ‘Blood orange, fennel, and oregano and Giarratana onion salad’ and the ‘Lincolnshire smoked eel with leeks, black truffle and pea shoots’ to start. I had ‘Octopus salad with Jersey royals, celery, olive oil.’ All good. The Lincolnshire smoked eel was delicious. I’ve never had eel before and to me it tasted like very tender mackerel.
For main course dishes we had one of the vegetarian options, ‘Roast king mushroom, sprouting broccoli, ewe’s yoghurt and hazelnuts, mushroom jus’ (very good, especially the sauce), ‘Skate, sea kale, ratte potatoes, beurre blanc’ (also very good) and Duck confit (rather overcooked) with ‘celeriac rémoulade and Sarladaise potatoes.’ The lovely manager and acting sommelier Beth Young recommended a bottle of Bourgueil Burgandy 2017 which was every bit as ‘juicy’ and ‘smooth’ as she said it would be – ‘more understated than a Pinot Noir’.
For dessert I had ‘Mango tart, Bronte pistachio ice cream’ which was exactly as tasty it sounds. My friends chose a lovely creamy Crème caramel and perfectly balanced for sweet and tart flavours, ‘Valrhona chocolate cremeaux, rhubarb sorbet and candied Seville orange.’
So all in all we had a very enjoyable evening. Special mention should go to our waitress Romy, who was very knowledgeable, answering all our questions without once having to refer up.