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Muddy Eats: The Rose & Crown

On the website blurb it says the Rose & Crown captures all the qualities of what a classic English country pub should be. And it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Really well. It’s in Yardley Hastings, just off the the A428; 10 minutes from Northampton and 20 minutes from Bedford, so is a great meeting place for when you fancy a little more than a coffee. It’s tres pretty, dating back to the 17th century retaining with all the stone-flagged floors & beamed ceilings. Whether it’s dining in the relaxed bistro or just relaxing with a glass of wine in the garden, you are sure of a warm welcome here.

Great real ales, carefully selected wines, high quality food at pub prices and an attention to detail, including a daily changing menu, all help to make this a good destination pub. It’s also well supported by residents to create a friendly village ‘local’. There are free newspapers to relax over your beer, and fresh flowers potted all around – and it’s all presented with a smile – which in itself makes it worth a visit (a lot of the pubs I go along to, do know it’s a Muddy meal, so there’s a chance they may put on extra smiles, but I have been here incognito too, and there was definitely a warm welcome in the bar area for a pre-dinner G&T).

At the turn of the New Year Mr Muddy and I decided our first foray in 2017 would be here. It had been nominated for Chef of the year at the 2016/2017 Carlsberg Northamptonshire Food and Drink awards and it didn’t disappoint. We were especially impressed at the brilliant value for high quality bistro food, and it ticked the boxes for meat, fish and vegi options. When I had a meeting with one of the lovely peeps at Althorp Estate who is pescitarian,  I thought I’d have a trip back to see how it fared in late summer, and yet again, it came up trumps.

The wild mushroom linguini with rocket and parmesan was big enough to feed my companion, with a little left over for me. It was a hearty plate of pasta, as opposed to a fine dining affair, but no less tasty for it. At £12 and with no need for a starter, it was well worth the price.I plumped for the poached pollock, with mussels, spinach and chervil. It was a touch steeper at £16, but then you expect that for good fish.

It was super tasty and all the flavours melded together well (truth be told, I could have probably squeezed in a potato side or more veg, which I know is an option on top, but when you’re paying over £15, I sometimes think it would be good to have it included, but it’s small potatoes really, ha ha)!

The dining area is traditional and pulls in an older lunch time crowd, but the menu appeals across the board with lovely apperitifs and nibbles like Two Birds Prosecco Cocktails and baby chorizo with honey. There were delicious sounding starters of Thai green mussels with sourdough and chorizo scotch duck egg, which could be eaten as a small lunch option. I get the feeling that they’re not trying to be too fancy pants – it’s a local bistro and they want to do the basics well, but there are flashes of colour and creativity interspersed throughout the menu. There’s a good range of desserts too, the sticky toffee tart with cream and fresh fruit was yum. Two spoons, a few mmmmmms, job done!

I’ve never been here when it’s really busy (I tend to eat at weird times), but I imagine it has a lovely buzz about it when it is. Even better? Dogs are welcome, and there are always special events to enjoy. You don’t have to be travelling through Yardley Hastings as an excuse to visit The Rose and Crown. It’s a brilliant destination within itself, and really is at the heart of the pretty Yardley Hastings community – where all visitors are welcome!

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Locals, families, relaxed groups of friends, casual drinkers and bar food nibblers. Evenings can turn their hand to special occasions too. Veggies and kids both well catered for.

Not for: Those wanting a stainless steel, glass modern dining experience. This is a traditional pub, that does bistro very well.

££: Good value but not super cheap. Around £6 for starters and £13 for mains (rib eye steak is £20). Wines around the £4.50 mark.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Northamptonshire