UPDATE: At the time of writing, the pub was operated by Stuart Inns. Greene King have now secured a new tenancy.
The Old Crown in Girton near Cambridge recently changed pub operators and was refurbished to a high standard. The lease of this beautiful village pub restaurant, owned by Greene King, was acquired by the Macmillan family who own Stuart Inns, a Suffolk-based restaurant and pub company with an excellent track record. The Old Crown is their first venture in Cambridgeshire.
Following a six-figure investment, the Old Crown is nothing short of stunning with its new art deco look based on the heritage of the 1920’s building. There is luxury in every detail, from the plush fabrics of the comfy seating to the premium fixtures and fittings. The bar makes a striking sight with its copper top and art deco tiles.
There’s no doubt that the pub is aimed at the high-quality end of the market but it’s warm, welcoming and child friendly. The areas are distinct but flow well with an extended dining space, cosy corners with fireplaces, sumptuous stools by the bar and an abundance of outdoor seating.
The bar has a good selection of beers on tap, Aspall Draught Cyder, nice wines and fizz, an impressive gin list and great cocktails. Bar snacks include pork scratchings and truffle popcorn, both delicious.
I can particularly recommend the Wild Thyme cocktail, made with Norfolk-based Wild Knight English Vodka, lemon thyme syrup, apple, lemon and lemon thyme.
The Old Crown’s menu features locally sourced produce as much as possible. The food is prepared in house; items such as sauces, stocks, bread and desserts are all freshly made. Their meat is from Longhorn Farm Shop which is only 4 miles from the pub. They have a proper cheese trolley with a selection of artisan cheeses. Bonus!
We ordered from the more widely available Bistro menu but there is also an A La Carte menu at certain times from Wednesdays to Saturdays. Other menus include Sunday lunch, brunch and children’s meals.
Service was attentive from the moment we entered. We sat in the spacious dining room at the back. Freshly baked bread was served with a thyme-rosemary butter.
I chose the IPA battered fish of the day (haddock), served with crushed peas, triple cooked chips (pont neuf style) and a nicely piquant tartare sauce. The fresh haddock was covered in a light, crispy batter.
Paulo went for the more gourmet option of slow cooked chicken leg, served with potato terrine and buttered greens. The chicken, cooked confit-style, was tender and juicy and practically fell off the bone. Paulo didn’t find the potato terrine particularly interesting but I tasted it and loved the soft potatoes beneath the crispy exterior. It was beautifully made too. He liked the buttered greens. Bigger appetites would most likely require an extra side dish and the menu features a good selection.
The desserts were very tempting. Unfortunately we were too full but this will be remedied the next time. I was in a comfort food mood for this meal but I definitely want to try more of their gourmet dishes. The menu does have a meat and fish focus so it’s not the most interesting for vegetarians. However, this seems to be the case in many pubs, even high end ones. Even though I happily eat meat and fish, it would be nice to have more than the standard risotto option (as lovely as they are) when I want to skip those foods.
Overall we loved the food, service and ambience at the Old Crown. It’s a great place to pop in for a drink but it also offers a bistro style pub classics menu as well as unique à la carte dishes – all in a gorgeous and elegant setting.
I was invited by Stuart Inns to the re-opening party where we enjoyed live music, champagne, canapés, a chef’s demo and a cocktail class. However, we found the menu so tantalising that we decided to stay for dinner, although we were under no obligation. The nibbles and drinks were complimentary but the main courses were at my own cost. I did not receive compensation for my review. All views are my own.
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