The Rose & Crown in Yealmpton, Devon
It is said that one of the keys to success is to 'go with what you know'. Certainly, it is advice given to aspiring novelists and to entrepreneurs, and it appears to be coming up trumps for Simon Warner, too.
The Rose & Crown
It is said that one of the keys to success is to ‘go with what you know’. Certainly, it is advice given to aspiring novelists and to entrepreneurs, and it appears to be coming up trumps for Simon Warner, too. In buying The Rose and Crown in Yealmpton, Simon became the owner of the pub he’d formerly run as General Manager for the Wykeham Group, which had gone into administration. After a speedy turnaround – Simon signed the contract one week and was open for business the next – in December 2009. The Rose and Crown was back in the game.
Although much has stayed the same – the d�cor is still stylish yet comfortable, with cosy sofas and newspapers to peruse, and the bar area is spacious and welcoming – Simon has also made some changes. He has re-hired former Head Chef Laur Gales, and what was the separate seafood restaurant opposite is now a 40-cover private dining/function room that is proving to be very popular; imminent plans for the future include rejigging the wine list, which at present comprises popular, value-for-money names from both Old and New World makers. The menu has also been revamped: where before there was a division between � la carte and ‘light bites’ dining, now the two are combined on one menu, which Simon and Laur fine-tune in collaboration. All food is 100% locally sourced, and whether you plump for old favourites such as sausage and mash or choose to savour pink duck breast with fondant potatoes, everything that comes out of the kitchen is beautifully presented, as befits a contemporary dining pub (I know this not only from personal experience of the food, but from repeatedly ogling other people’s meal choices throughout the evening. I’m nothing if not thorough).
My fish cake starter was light and breezy, the homemade tartar sauce refreshingly piquant without overpowering the delicate flavours of the fish cake. I usually strive to avoid fennel (my other half, Stuart, slips it into all manner of dishes at home, seemingly just to test my taste buds), but here it was subtle and well placed in a tasty little salad. Stuart’s terrine was ‘pleasingly rustic’, with a sweet apple chutney that proved a great companion to the robustness of the ham.
The mains were just as successful. My duck breast was very generous, and the thickly cut slices were pink and moist; the red cabbage accompaniment was a winner, and although a slice of black pudding was a surprise, it added a nice savoury element to the dish. Stuart’s lamb was also perfectly pink, coupled with creamy dauphinoise potatoes and buttery spinach.
For dessert we went for a selection of puds. The raspberry and frangipan wontons were novel and completely delicious, and the cr�me br�l�e – a tricky dessert to get absolutely right, and Stuart’s favourite – was a total triumph (needless to say, I didn’t get much of a look-in on that one…)
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The Rose and Crown bills itself as a dining pub, and it seems to have achieved that delicate balance with aplomb. It was a busy Saturday night when we visited – every table in the restaurant area was full – and all the staff were attentive, charming and helpful throughout. The atmosphere in both the bar and in the restaurant area was relaxed and friendly, and although at capacity, the space never seemed crowded or noisy. A thoroughly good evening, and great value, too. What more could you ask for?
The Rose and Crown, Market Street, Yealmpton, PL8 2EB
Proprietor: Simon Warner
Head Chef: Laur Gales
Food served daily: 12 noon-2pm (Sat until 2.30pm, Sun until 3pm) and 6pm-9pm
Prices: Starters from �4, mains from �9, desserts from �5. Wine from �12 a bottle
Pan-fried red mullet with plum tomato tart and olive tapenade
Creedy Carver duck spring roll with pineapple salsa
Calves’ liver and crispy bacon with wholegrain mustard mash and onion gravy
Pan-fried plaice with new potatoes, fresh vegetables and butter sauce
Vanilla cr�me br�l�e with blueberry pur�e and vanilla ice cream
Sticky toffee pudding with honeycomb ice cream