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The 3 Crowns review
September 17, 2014
The 3 Crowns, a minute’s walk from Old Street station, looks just like any other traditional street corner pub, but on entering it’s clear that punters can expect something a little more refined
The owners have clearly rescued what was once a struggling East London pub and dragged it into the modern era with an open brasserie-style restaurant and busy bar, serving an array of hand-pumped ales, wines and craft beers. Despite the revamp, the authentic feel hasn’t been lost. The décor of dark wood-panelled walls, decorated with framed prints from a local artist’s studio in Hoxton, simple wooden tables and unfussy light fittings, is discreet and understated. The main feature is the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work, adding to the lively atmosphere.
Just like the stripped-back interior, Head Chef Lee Urch and his team serve up traditional British and European fare, cooked simply yet well, using fresh seasonal ingredients. The menu changes daily and offers three courses of traditional and reasonably priced pub classics with a modern twist, from grilled skate with a caper, lemon and brown butter sauce and cider-braised pig cheeks to marinated guinea fowl, served with braised fennel and celeriac.
The starters of clams, served with pancetta onions and fino, and smoked trout and avocado toast, served with chilli and land cress, were attractively served, of a generous size and cooked in a way that really showed off the quality of the ingredients. The tender clams, piled up above a seasoned broth, were particularly tasty, and the soft smoked trout dish, paired with avocado and crunchy brown bread, was packed with flavour, but would have been slightly more enjoyable without the scattering of chopped raw chilli, which was in danger of overwhelming the delicate fish.
The star of the main courses was the poached Arctic char, served simply with a silky smooth parsley and anchovy sauce that really packed a punch and perfectly complimented the meaty fish. Duck fat potatoes, chips or bobby beans sides can be ordered separately to bulk out the main courses, but we thanked ourselves for restraining when we eyed up the dessert menu.
Desserts of hazelnut and strawberry mess (a twist on the classic Eton mess) and a delicate but potent pot of lemon posset topped with raspberries, which cut through the sweetness, were the ideal way to end the meal: indulgent, but honest and comforting – just like The 3 Crowns.