Paris

Lady Does Lunch at The Crown, Upton – February 2014

On a hideous day, weather wise, my friend and I decided to go out for lunch at The Crown in Upton. We were wind-swept and rain-battered by the freak weather conditions sweeping across the South, so when we arrived we were thrilled to see a roaring fire. I was very nervous initially, as I am ‘doing’ Weight Watchers, and was afraid there wouldn’t be anything for me to eat that would maintain my current healthy eating plan.

The barmaid, Denise, was very friendly and welcoming (and demonstrating a great singing voice in time to the radio!) and as we arrived the pub dog popped out to make sure we were worthy customers. After deciding we were, he trotted off to find a warm spot somewhere.

We ordered drinks at the bar and had a good read of the menus, including the daily specials on the blackboard.

I asked for the 8oz Rump Steak, swapping chips for new or boiled potatoes with peas, tomatoes and mushroom (£12.90), I explained I was following WW and asked that no butter or large amounts of oil be used in the cooking of my meal.

My friend ordered a Duck & Orange Pate (£5.50) to start and the Medallions of Venison Fillet with Dauphinoise Potatoes with Fresh Veg and a Red Wine Jus (£14.90).

The Pate arrived really quickly and was very pretty in its presentation. My friend had ordered brown bread and so I did try some, and I am glad I did, as it was absolutely delicious – a lovely pate with nice fresh salad, crisp toast and a fantastic chutney that had warm chilli tones running through the pickle.

There was a small wait for the main course, but it smelled lovely. My steak did look quite oily, as did the mushroom and possibly the tomatoes as well. I started with the steak and it was cooked beautifully and perfectly at Medium. The potatoes were boiled to the perfect point, but alas the mushroom and tomato were too greasy to consider eating and sadly the peas were undercooked.

My friend’s dinner, for him, was perfect and, so far, his favourite meal of any we have tried on our ‘Lady Does Lunch’ jaunts. The venison medallions, melted in the mouth and were perfectly married with the delicious Jus, which we were told contained redcurrant jelly. It was shiny and smooth; the dauphinoise potatoes added a new dimension to the meal with the creamy, garlicky, potatoes packing a punch. Piled with vegetables, my friend struggled to eat the whole plateful, but he did, as he said it was too good to leave.

The meal cost a little less than £40, which, with two alcoholic drinks and two soft ones, isn’t bad at all, and, whilst it was quiet on the Wednesday lunchtime we visited, the welcome and service was fantastic and the locals were friendly too.

Lady Does Lunch gives The Crown at Upton a Silver Award.

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