Dave Watts, Chef and owner of this charming cottage-style pub in the heart of the Test Valley, Hampshire, like all pubs and restaurants in the last few years, has not had an easy time of it. But Dave has made sure he stays ahead of the game, offering his own unique brand of hospitality. By serving high quality food with an unusual twist, using local and artisan produce, not being afraid to be different and providing the best possible experience at an affordable price, The Crown Inn has been able to keep attracting customers again and again. So now he’s planning a 3rd birthday like no other to celebrate the Crown Inn’s achievements, including a clutch of awards.
On 2nd September The Crown Inn will be hosting a themed James Bond night with a special tasting menu, wine pairing from Ellis wines and casino tables! Guests will be encouraged to dress up as their favourite Bond character (or in smart clothes) and celebrate the night away. Dave will, as usual, take time to chat to guests – always one of his priorities!
Dave’s speciality is combining classic French cuisine with modern rustic and a touch of light, Japanese. And Dave is passionate about what he does and in these difficult days, is keen to offer both classic meals from as little as £7.50 and gastronomic treats for those special occasions at a reasonable price of around £18.50 for 3 courses. It also offers a fish and chip dinner on Tuesday evenings as well as bar snacks and Sunday lunches. Menus change very regularly, making the most of seasonal produce. Ingredients are sourced wherever possible from local suppliers, as well as plants and herbs grown in the pub’s own garden. And all bread is made on site – from sourdough and brioche to soda bread and crusty traditional loaves. No doubt the tasting menu on 2nd will reflect all of this.
Dave has another string to his bow which complements the running of The Crown – he also owns 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.
The Crown Inn will also be hosting a number of other events to profile its specialities including another Oktoberfest on the 15 October with bands, beers and food, a celebration of British wines in November and Christmas parties with a special menu. There is likely to be a New Year’s party as well as the Crown’s now established New Year brunch.
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, 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. A real achievement for the pub.
Says Dave: ‘I’m proud of The Crown and its team and how we’ve come through the last 18 months and are facing current challenges by keeping to our values of offering good food at affordable prices, buying locally and supporting the community as well as caring for our customers.’
For more information about The Crown visit https://www.crownupton.co.uk And The Charcuterie at Parsonage Farm can be found at https://www. parsonagefarmcharcuterie.com), more about visiting the area can be found at https://www.testvalley.gov.uk/communityandleisure/tourism/
You can also find out more about food and drink in the Test Valley by visiting https://www.testvalley.gov.uk/communityandleisure/tourism/taste-test-valley. Or try Hampshire Fare’s guide to local produce in the area ‘The Chalk and the Cheese’ https://www.hampshirefare.co.uk /Hampshire Fare support local food, drink and craft producers – a not-for-profit organisation working closely with over 400 businesses involved in rearing, growing and making an array of produce including cheese, wine, beer, meat, charcuterie, pies, spirits, cider and more.