Rose and Crown
THIS VENUE IS NOW CLOSED FOR BUSINESS.
SEE ALTERNATIVE French Cuisine
In a world of gastropubs and chain restaurants, the Rose & Crown tries to give us something different. Ok, the Rose & Crown sounds like a pub, and it still has a popular bar area serving cocktails to Highgate’s thirsty punters, but its main focus is the unashamedly French food of head-chef Bruno Delamare. He’s trying to bring seasonal, locally sourced food to an area of London that’s suffocated by chain restaurants and coffee-shops and, in the eyes of this reviewer, the attempt is certainly a noble one. Unfortunately the plan is let down somewhat by the variable quality of the food served.
When Londontown.com visited we started with an excellent Roasted Pumpkin Crowned with Goats Cheese and a wonderfully dark, very gamey fondant of quail. We expected the main courses to continue in a similar vein, but the monkfish, in a ginger bread-sauce, while well partnered, was a little too salty and the lamb, though perfectly cooked and tender, was marred by a jus that was just too meaty and overpowered the other flavours on the plate. Dessert, though, helped make up for the main courses. The rich, sticky chocolate fondant and the light, chestnut crème brulée were enjoyed by both of us and the cup of chocolate chaud I had instead of coffee was quite simply delicious.
The Rose and Crown does have a lot going for it. The menu is wide ranging, clever and daring when it needs to be and the food is, in general, good. But there is one great risk in enterprise: are we familiar enough with a French menu to find it appetizing? Normally the staff would help but I found them badly informed – no-one seemed to be able to tell me what a grenobloise (a caper and lemon flesh sauce) or a brandade (a purée of salt cod) actually were. Considering that some of the dishes can be expensive, the staff should really know what they are serving.
If you’d like a change from steak and chips and pan-fried cod served in a pub, you’ll want to try the Rose and Crown for a meal that really tries hard to have a touch of class. Its set menu is very good value (approx £13 for two courses and £16 for three), and the à la carte menu includes meals at a variety of prices, just make sure you brush up on your French food first.
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