The Crown in Martley is somewhere I have known about for years. It was always somewhere that was ‘just a pub.’ Until recently, because it’s all change since it was been taken over by ARCC.
The Crown by ARCC has undergone some considerable changes since their re-opening last year. They have acquired Head Chef, Finn Baird (formally of St John in London) and Manager, Brajesh Kumar (formerly of Lassan in Birmingham). The other weekend Dr W and I were invited down, along with other local foodies and business owners, to see what they have on offer.
SPOILER ALERT – the evening was a great success and the team really did show off their love of good quality, locally sourced food and of course their cooking skills.
The night offered up an incredible 5 course menu, which I couldn’t wait to try. Robin Conway (co-owner) welcomed us to the pub, along with Finn. The head chef introduced himself nervously, but confidently described how his kitchen cooks everything from scratch. I was excited to hear that they cure their own meat and do a lot of the butchery on site, Worcester’s very own River Cottage it would seem!
Our starter was freshly grilled asparagus, fresh peas and pea shoots. With a wonderful lemony dressing, topped with Single Gloucester Cheese. The dish was summery and light, sunflower seeds in the dressing added an extra crunch. The asparagus itself was perfectly al dente and the cheese was nutty which added another level of flavour to the dish.
Next up in the incredible food journey was the fish course. A risky one to get out to over 60 of us, but they did it well. A beer battered hake with samphire and fennel, another great summery dish. Soft delicate fish, with crunchy batter, accompanied well by the fennel and samphire. It wouldn’t be something I would normally order. But it was delicious and 10/10 would try again!
The pork dish came next, giving us a chance to taste something from the smoker. FYI – the smoker smelt divine as we were coming in to the restaurant from the side entrance. This was pork that had been smoked for 4-6 hours using cherry wood. It was sweet, but salty from the crackling and the braised leeks were moreish and comforting. I could’ve just had a plate of this, with some mustard mash and a Yorkshire pud. I can definitely say that The Crown is likely to be a place I will be visiting again very soon for Sunday lunch!
As quickly as the pork went, out came the beef. High praise to Finn and his team for getting us all a perfect cut of beef, with that was also pink. To get this to 60 of us must’ve taken some planning! The beef had been aged for 30 days and was from a local farm. It was tender, perfectly cooked and had a wonderful marble. It was served with rainbow chard and an anchovy dressing, this is Finn’s signature dish. I’m not really the biggest anchovy fan so it didn’t add much to the dish for me, but others on the table loved it. I’m imagining this is quite a marmite dish for people because of this!
Last but not least, dessert, a flourless chocolate slab. Rich and chocolatey, I could’ve probably eaten a lot more. Considering I’m not usually a chocolate dessert person, it definitely worked for me. Dr W was a huge fan too, expressing that had he not been in polite company, he would’ve licked the chocolate left on his plate! Haha!
Overall, The Crown by ARCC put on an incredible event and they showcased perfectly (with incredible passion) just what they have to offer food-wise. I’d maybe liked to have seen their gin serve a bit more polished than a typical pub high ball, especially as they are looking to be a bit more than a typical pub. Dr W also commented that he would’ve liked to have seen some more local beers on offer, there are some incredible nearby brewers that The Crown could offer up, especially over the likes of Brew Dog.
With that though, I can’t wait to see how they develop as an establishment, hopefully The Crown by ARCC will become a big feature of the Worcester foodie scene. Whilst they are a bit further away from it all, I imagine as word spreads, more people will take the adventure into the countryside to check out the amazing food on offer.
P.S. I was invited down to The Crown in Martley for this preview event. As ever all words, photos and opinions are my own.
P.P.S. The Crown by ARCC is located in Martley, Worcester, WR6 6PA. About 10 miles north of Worcester.