Award-winning The Crown Inn, Upton in the Test Valley, Hampshire prepares a culinary night to remember this Valentine’s

Dave Watts, Chef and owner of this charming cottage-style pub and restaurant in the heart of the Test Valley, Hampshire, serves high quality food with an unusual twist, using local and artisanal produce.  This Valentine’s he’s prepared a menu to surprise and delight romantic couples – 6 courses of pure delight, including a glass of bubbles and table decorations to add to the special atmosphere.

Those booking the Valentine’s menu, available on 11, 12 and 13 February, will be treated to organic sourdough made onsite with Skyr butter and chicken liver pate, cep mushroom, truffle and celeriac lasagne to start, lemon sole, oyster cucumber and wasabi to follow, roasted duck breast, blood orange, tamarind and bitter cocoa, a pre-dessert of apple and yuzu sorbet, hibiscus and Della Vita prosecco (the very best!) with a stylish rhubarb and custard to finish.   Vegetarians and vegans will not be disappointed with an alternative menu including sourdough with leek and potato veloute, the lasagne to start, seaweed relish and foraged sea vegetables, cucumber and wasabi to follow, roasted root vegetables, spelt and braised kale with salsa verdi, the sorbet as a pre-dessert and rhubarb with orange and polenta and coconut panna cotta to finish.  Guests with dietary requirements are asked to consult staff so they can enjoy a menu that suits them. Tables will be decorated in romantic style, although Dave says the details are yet to be revealed!

This unique line-up of dishes shows that Dave Watts is not afraid to be different and strives to provide the best possible dining and drinking experience for his guests. Those wanting to take advantage of this celebratory menu are asked to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Dave started his career at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons under the direct guidance of Raymond Blanc. At The Crown he’s passionate about what he does, cares for his team and his customers and particularly enjoys talking to those eating and drinking in the pub rather than staying in the kitchen.

Ingredients are sourced wherever possible from local artisanal suppliers, supporting the community.  Dave makes the most of Hampshire’s rich variety of home-grown  food such as River Test chalk stream trout, local lamb and pork, vegetables from community growers and the pub’s own garden.  And all bread is made on site – from sourdough and brioche to soda bread and crusty traditional loaves.  Drink is just as important as far as using local is concerned – wines from nearby Danebury Vineyard, beer from Andover’s Penton Brewery and Test Valley Gin all add to the experience.

The Crown Inn, Upton has recently been refurbished inside and out – giving it a modern restaurant feel but still keeping its original country cottage pub characteristics such as the open fireplace.  Outside some unique wooden H’Igloos (Hampshire Igloos) have been added, providing  private spaces heated by wood burning stoves and blankets to keep the outside dining experience warm and cosy all year round. 

And as if things couldn’t get better for the Crown, the pub became a TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Award Winner 2021, was included in the prestigious Michelin Guide 2021 which describes the pub as ‘welcoming’ and the food ‘colourful, eye-catching with ingredients from small local producers which steal the show.’ The Crown was a Trencherman’s Award finalist in the Best Trencherman’s Pub category 2021 (and awaiting news for 2022), found itself in the top 5 Destination Pubs in the website Muddy Stilletto award scheme and is mentioned in Sawdays Pubs and Inns – the best places to eat and drink in the UK. 

Dave recently acquired The Charcuterie at Parsonage Farm, where, from organic meat supplied by smallholdings where animal welfare is paramount, he creates cured meats such as flavoured salamis, coppa and lomo as well as pancetta.  This meat is sold online and served as platters in the pub.  He also runs a Charcuterie School from The Charcuterie.

For more information about The Crown and to book the Valentine’s menu visit