Crown Inn, Roecliffe, North Yorkshire
You know that moment when you’ve done too many miles on the A1 and you’re absolutely not going to grab a flabby, tasteless service station sarnie? And you’re starving? There are several reasons to call at the Crown and its proximity to junction 48 of the A1 is just one of them.
It’s a handsome, long and low old Yorkshire pub sat back from the pretty village green in Roecliffe, which given its location is remarkably peaceful. Not a single lorry rumble. The minute you walk in you know you’ve made a good decision. Stone floors, gleaming old oak furniture, log fires, all the newspapers and mags and a warm welcome.
Karl and Amanda Mainey have been welcoming happy customers for a number of years and go the extra mile to bring you back. Good-looking dishes on the blackboard include Scarborough haddock fish cake, free range eggs and Hollandaise and Great Ouseburn roast venison, dauphinoise potatoes, blackberries and red wine jus.
My Yorkshire wood pigeon breast over creamed leeks, pearl barley and wild Girolles was simply presented and had incredible depth of flavour – and just perfect with the warm home made focaccia. Jill went for Mrs Bell’s Yorkshire Blue souffle laced with walnuts over Pickering watercress and English pippins, half of which I finished so have every right to agree with her that it was a delightful cloud of a thing, the nuts a very clever addition.
We could sooo easily have dived into the pudding menu (‘very lemony little French tart’, ‘chocolatey fondant pud with Brandy ganache’ etc) but we didn’t. I still don’t know why. Very little prevents us eating dessert. It’s a mystery.
There’s an exemplary non-meat menu too. Ok there’s risotto, every chef’s fallback but also present is spinach and tomato roulade and baked vegetable tarte tatin. Or grab a sandwich if you’re time-strapped (Yorkshire Dales roast beef, toasted Wensleydale with cranberry and sloe gin chutney – you were right not to go to Shell, you see)
Eat in the cosy bar or the rather elegant, long ‘green room’. If you don’t have to be at Scotch Corner any time soon, the dining room at the far end is slightly more formal and you can always book a room; upstairs, four sophisticated bedrooms with big beds, lovely white linen and glamorous bathrooms.