BY PALOMA LACY
The Crown in Blackheath is steeped in history. This 16th Century former coaching inn opened as a pit stop on the Roman road from London to Dover.
Today it sits neatly just a stone’s throw from the heath, making it the perfect spot for drinks al fresco, even in winter. I popped in for a lunchtime snack and holed up in the pub’s warmest corner. The menu, very much like the interior, is by and large traditional and rather comforting.
Soup of the day (£4.95), prawn cocktail (£5.95) and garlicky woodland mushrooms on sourdough (£5.95) come as little surprise, but are thankfully joined by shredded pork, mustard and parsley croquettes (£5.75) and tandoori spiced cauliflower, sprouting broccoli and onion fritters (£5.50), all as starters.
Mains include a choice of four burgers, with a red lentil burger with spiced ketchup the highlight. The chef’s specials take the diner from lunchtime into the evening, with the more traditional dishes sitting at the £10-mark, incuding steak and veg pie, scampi and chips, and sausage and mash, through to more bistro-style duck leg confit and Indian spiced chicken thighs for nearer the £13.
A couple of other dishes worth mention, Phanaeng beef curry (£13.95) provided a welcome departure from the usual Thai green or red curry inclusion.
And veggies haven’t been left out either, with mushroom mezzaluna parcels (£9.95). Given the hour, I was tempted by the prawn in Marie-Rose sandwich on granary (£5.95), a filling that elevates the humble sandwich from a boring lunchtime staple to a dining out daytime treat. Packed full of juicy prawns in a home-made sauce, I wondered why this fine sandwich, once so often found on a lunchtime menu, has all but disappeared. Sweet potato fries finished off the dish nicely, but I was defeated by the portion size.
Paloma was not a guest of the Crown, 49 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, London, SE3 0BS.
Tel: 020 8852 0326.