Believe the hype: Simon Bonwick’s pub the Crown at Burchetts Green is quickly becoming a site of pilgrimage for diners enticed by Bonwick’s self-proclaimed “French bourgeoisie” cooking.
The small bar at the Crown is usually filled with local drinkers, but go through and you’ll find two intimate dining rooms where you can treat your taste buds with dishes made from ingredients sourced from the UK and France.
While the dining rooms are called formal, the gastropub is casual and informal.
After making its debut on the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list last year, the Crown has gone from strength to strength, winning a Michelin star for Bonwick’s lavish cooking.
Past menu highlights have included stuffed goose neck with sherry-dressed lentils; pie and mash with parsley liquor; and pressed feta with a barbecue root sandwich and fries.
Its menu, served up in the pub’s intimate dining rooms, is an ever-changing reflection of the seasons.
But, don’t expect to find the menu on the gastropub’s website, because you won’t. Owner and chef Simon Bonwick once told local paper the Maidenhead Advertiser: “Cooking is my passion and pleasure. I just really love serving what I like eating and what I like cooking. I don’t even bother to write the menu on the website.”
Service, presided over by Dean Bonwick, whose past employers include Albert Roux at the triple-starred Waterside Inn, Bray, and Tom Kerridge at the Hand and Flowers, is welcoming, attentive and downright impeccable.
But despite being named amongst some of the top eateries in the country, the Crown is very much still a pub. Local ales and lagers adorn the bar and the wine list showcases an extensive range of independent producers from numerous regions.
It is also said that the bar area is haunted by a small bearded man with a pony, who also enjoys pottering about in the gastropub’s cellars… don’t worry, though, there’s no indication of him being unfriendly to patrons.
The pub moved up 12 places this year, but could it be a future contender for the top spot?