The Crown * | Burchetts Green (UK)

Michelin starred fastfood served in this true family-run pub.
Classic training shining through plates designed to comfort and tantalise your taste buds!

The Crown is situated in the Berkshire village of Burchetts Green. This is true culinary country, with The Beehive in White Waltham, The Coach * and The Vanilla Pod in Marlow and The Hinds Head * and The Waterside Inn *** in Bray, all just a few miles away.

Simon Bonwick took over this 400 year old village pub in the Autumn of 2013, when he moved in with his wife and nine kids. With Simon in the kitchen, his son George running the dining room, with help from sister India, and other siblings helping out, this really is a family-run pub.

Chef Patron Simon Bonwick cooks alone in the kitchen, a veteran with more than 30 years under his belt. Simon previously worked at The Three Tuns and The Black Boys Inn in Henley and trained at The Waterside Inn ***, The Fat Duck *** in the mid 90’s and with the late Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, Burgundy. The Crown got it’s Michelin star in the 2017 guide, which they’ve held since.

The Crown is open for dinner on Wednesday to Saturday and for lunch on Friday to Sunday. The continuously changing menu offers 4 Starters (at £11-£19), 4 Mains (£33-£36), 3 Desserts (at £9) and a Cheeseboard (at £16).

We had dinner on Friday three weeks ago and choose our three courses from the menu.

Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche

To start a mouth-pleaser of a delicate pastry case filled with smooth chickpea puree topped with a salted smoked almond and salty green olive. Refined and full of flavour.

Bread & Butter
Bread & Butter

Two kinds of crusty house-baked bread. Pain de campagne with a nice open texture and a sourdough made with yoghurt and grape juice. Butter, lightly salted by a sea herb crust.

With the bread, the starters arrived too. Very quick indeed, no more than 5 minutes after we ordered!

Salcombe Crab Meat with Apple and Cashew
Salcombe Crab Meat with Apple and Cashew (£19)

Stack of crab comprised of flakes and chunks of sweet white flesh lightly coated in lemon mayonnaise. A slice of skinned tomato and crisp apple sticks on top. A drizzle of passionfruit dressing and honeyed cashew nuts. Unfortunately the crab was under seasoned and needed some salt. Needed more of that dressing too to play a part with the crab. This dish has been on the menu a long time, but today’s execution could have been better.

Wild Boar & Game Bird Pate with French Style Pickles
Wild Boar & Game Bird Pate with French Style Pickles (£11)

A rather fine Ardèche-style paté, filled with cornichons and wrapped in chard leaf. A tiny bit of red onion chutney, a mini dot of mustard mayonnaise, 3 silverskin onions a sliver of dehydrated bacon and a chervil leaf. The paté didn’t stand out, nor did it’s wild boar or game bird flavour. Nothing to lift the taste as well. Average starters I’m afraid.

Literally two minutes after the starter dishes were cleared, the mains arrived! Already made a remark to the waiter that things went quick with the starters, but it didn’t help. Made a remark again, but this was ignored.

Fine Black Angus Fillet with a Rather Nice Beef Sauce
Fine Black Angus Fillet with a Rather Nice Beef Sauce (£34)

Fillet of Black Angus beef was “Steamed on String” hung over a stockpot to an un-bloody rare, before both sides were fried briefly. Perfect, extremely tender, melt in the mouth beef oozing quality. Caramelised onions on top, potato puree, fondant potato and wilted spinach. The ferocious glossy beef sauce lifted the beef even more. Excellent!

Veal with Mushroom and Cream Sauce
Veal with Mushroom and Cream Sauce (£34)

The Dish of Today was fillet of veal with mushroom and cream sauce, topped with a flat leaf parsley bush and the same supplements as the other main. It looked inviting and tasted lovely, but unfortunately the veal was really tough. What a contrast with the beef. We tried a few bites, but had to send it back. Apparently we were not the only one. The waiter immediately suggested to have another dish and we agreed on the duck. It was served a minute later as it was just prepared for another table.


With the mains came a coarse mix of carrot, pumpkin, celeriac, swede and beetroot. All cooked just right, nice and soft without being mushy.

Slow Roast Challans Duck with Prune & Savoury
Slow Roast Challans Duck with Prune & Savoury (£33)

Pink and moist duck in a dark and sweet prune sauce. Challans Ducks are French ducks, raised for their lean, tender flesh and you can really tell the difference. Wilted spinach, potato fondant and puree again. This fondant was the best of the three, weeping butter and deliciousness.

Hot Syrup Sponge
Hot Syrup Sponge (£9)

Lashings of golden syrup cascading over a light and fluffy syrup sponge pudding. Little crunch of the baked crust. Some people would argue it needs custard, but for me it was excellent with vanilla ice cream. Traditional nostalgia executed perfectly.

Saint Marcellin Cheesecake with Tulameen Raspberries
Saint Marcellin Cheesecake with Tulameen Raspberries (£9)

Cheesecake made the soft French Saint Marcellin cow’s milk cheese. Quite a small portion compared to the sponge and a bit dry. Grated fresh coconut and (quite hard) ice cream didn’t help with the texture. Lovely flavours though, together with the sweet raspberries.

It’s clear that Simon Bonwick knows what he’s doing in the kitchen. And he must be working his socks off to get these dishes out of the kitchen on his own. His classic training shining through plates that are designed comfort and tantalise your taste buds. Not everything was perfect, but the “Steamed on String” beef fillet was just divine and the duck and hot syrup sponge were faultless.

Service is friendly and informal, really suiting the atmosphere of the restaurant. Surprisingly none of the dishes were explained at the table, which you do expect on this level. When I asked about a dish, George Bonwick answered without hesitation, so they clearly know their stuff. And the way the tough veal dish was handled was excellent.

My only big issue was the speed the courses came out. It really influenced the experience in a bad way, which was a real shame. This was Michelin starred fastfood served at a speed McDonalds would be proud of!