Restaurant Bar and Cafe Reviews

Restaurant Bar and Cafe Reviews
Restaurant Bar and Cafe Reviews

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Crown, Ardleigh, Colchester (2012)...

A group of us had booked our works post-Christmas meal at The Ardleigh Crown, mainly due to the location and free parking. Those of us who had arrived early were able to enjoy a pre-dinner relaxing drink around a lovely open fireplace while we waited for everyone else to arrive. The place looked very festive, which definitely put us into the Christmas mood, and we liked the fact that this large restaurant seemed to have lots of little partially-enclosed areas for privacy as well as what appeared to be the main dining room. When we were eventually shown to our table we liked the fact we had been put into a small enclosed area, relatively close to the bar and toilets.

We had booked pre-booked the meals several weeks earlier, and several of us struggled to remember what we had chosen to eat. I had apparently ordered ‘scrumpy pears’ as my starter. Although not quite how I had pictured it, the dish of dark-coloured slivers of pears on a bed of water cress, walnuts and stilton looked lovely. I had never eaten stilton before, so found the very strong flavour a little too intense, along with the strange after-taste, but it was nicely presented.

My main was the veggie option of lentil pie. This actually looked as unappetising as it sounds – a thick brown wedge on the centre of a large white plate, balanced on 4 asparagus spears with a small amount of relish on top. It looked as if it desperately needed something else on the plate, possibly a few more vegetables and some potatoes. Those who ordered the full Christmas dinner, by comparison, had their plates heaving with turkey, Yorkshire puddings, a selection of vegetables and roast spuds. However, they had only been given the smallest dribble of gravy on each plate.

The waiting staff had been quite attentive and when more gravy was requested a girl immediately returned with some, but it was one small cream jug full! Clearly this was not enough for one person let alone several. More small jugs were brought to the table but there was never going to be enough to go round. Several of us were also struggling with uncooked vegetables. My asparagus was rock hard and several people struggled to cut up their carrots.

Then the desserts were brought out. There was a tiny issue with apple fritters being given to those who asked for apple pie, but this was immediately sorted out. The Christmas log looked lovely, as did the individual apple pies, but those of us who requested the Christmas pudding were bemused at how small the portion was. I have never seen such a tiny slice of Christmas pudding in my life, and it sat in a lake of custard with a sprig of mint jammed into it. It actually tasted fabulous, but there really was nowhere near enough of it.

Finally, it was onto the coffees (we had to pay extra for any drinks at the meal). Unfortunately, mine was the only one which arrived hot (being a cappuccino I expect the hot milk was the reason mine had any warmth to it). The rest were sent back to be re-heated.

All in all we enjoyed the dinner but there were too many niggles with it and I, for one, will not be returning.

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