As 2 of our members were still on the road to recovery following their recent hospitalisation we decided to keep it simple and visit the Crown Inn in Bishops Waltham. This was our first official Pie Club visit to the Crown since its recent very expensive refurbishment, when it was transformed from a dump into a smart hotel, although obviously several members have visited it before in a private capacity.
After Nick, Trev, Stephen, Doug and Paul had stopped off at the Bunch of Grapes to help Stuart out by moving some of the beer left over from his event at the weekend, we met up with Joe at the Crown. We were faced with a welcoming selection of ales:
Fullers London Pride, Bowman South Sea Spice, Seafarers Ale, Gales
HSB, and a new beer from
Fullers called Brewers Bragg.
We were not able to try all the beers - maybe due to previous consumption at the Bunch - but all beers tasted were in good condition and went down very well.
There was only one pie on the menu, the pie of the day, which was a fish pie - so we all ordered this. This was our first fish pie! The pie had a short crust pastry bottom and sides and was topped with mash potatoes and came with a selection of vegetables and buttered new potatoes and a separate jug of a parsley sauce.
There was some discussion as to what fish was in the pie and we came to the conclusion that there was definitely salmon, a white fish and some prawns were spotted. Overall, the general feeling was that the pie was very tasty, though some thought it was a tad on the dry side, which I suppose is why it came with a separate sauce to suit all sorts. It was felt, that at £12.50, it was a bit expensive for the size of the portions, but then again, the Crown is a hotel.
As service was very slow and at times non-existent we decided not to have a pudding and some of us decided to go back to the Bunch to help Stuart out with his beer, only to find out that Stuart and Mandy had done a runner - I wonder why? So an early night was had by all!
Scores (max. 5 in each category, 25 overall):
- Pastry 3.5
- Filling 3.5
- Beer 3.92
- Ambience 3.04
- Value for money 2.75
- Total 16.71
The Crown immediately sinks to bottom place in our rankings, due mainly to the poor service, which is reflected in the low score for Ambience, and the poor value for money. Perhaps it is not fair to judge the Crown (which sets out to be a smart hotel) by the same standards that we use to judge pubs. Nevertheless, we won't be coming here again (not for a pie at any rate). The beers were good, though.