Monday, August 11, 2014

Dinner @ The 3 Crowns

One day, I'll dust off John's SLR, learn how to take decent photos, buy a photo editing suite, and provide you with more appealing shots rather than photos taken on my iPhone and Instagrammed within an inch of their lives. Until then, this is what you'll have to live with, I'm afraid.

After our visit to see the poppies at the Tower of London last week, I was ravenous. I also felt a little hangry (for those of you who are not in the know: hangry = hungry + angry). I thought the walk to the bus stop we needed would only take 5 minutes, but upon closer inspection on the Citymapper app (which is AMAZING, btw), it actually took 12. I was not sure I had enough calories to last 12 minutes in sticky, humid London.

But the reward was worth it: dinner at The 3 Crowns (not to be confused with The Three Crowns in Stoke Newington) near Old Street. I'd passed it on the bus many times on my way home from yoga/work and heard amazing things about it from Plum, but never had the chance to stop by.

Well, this couldn't have been more timely. I was worried that it would be completely full at that time of the night, but luckily, most people were taking advantage of the good weather by drinking outside so we nabbed a table nearly right away (the tables filled up as the evening progressed).

"I haven't eaten out in ages," I said to John, as I spread my napkin over my lap and reached for a piece of bread.

"Didn't you just go to Ottolenghi last night?" John asked, quizzically.

My hand froze over the bread and I blushed. He was right - I had just eaten out. And not in small proportions either, as my mind flashed back to the mouth-wateringly delicious roasted beetroot and sesame dressed salad, glazed carrots and turnips, thick slices of pork belly and hake, polished off with an ice cream from Islington's Udderlicious.

My bad.

But on to the next meal ...

To start, we ordered the salt duck with pickled cherries and radishes (top right photo). It was tasty: rustic and reminiscent of farmhouse cooking - like something out of an episode of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's various TV programs about sustainable dining. The cherries were a little bit too pickled for my liking, so we left most of those, but they were an excellent contrast to the flavor of the duck.

I was head over heels in love with my main dish, however - the roast Middlewhite pork with mushrooms and runner beans. I'd only previously tried Middlewhite pork at the revered St. John, so this dish had high expectations to live up to. First, I was surprised by the presentation - I had expected a run-of-the-mill slab of pork on the plate, served with an accompaniment of mushrooms and runner beans, so when the artfully arranged dish arrived, I couldn't wait to dig in. The slices of slightly-salty, but tender pieces of pork were hidden beneath the perfectly seasoned runner beans and mushrooms - the perfect solution to my famished state.

The only slight let-down was the dessert of bread and butter pudding, which looked delicious, but was a little disappointing in taste. For a dessert, it wasn't very sweet (though I think there was chocolate in one of the many layers) but it was delicately done and beautifully presented. Similarly, the strawberries were a little limpid and tasteless, but I think that's down to the strawberry season winding down in England more than anything else.

During the walk home, I made John slow down because I was getting a stitch in my side.

"I've got to unbutton the top button of my pants," I announced, as we walked along with the last wave of commuters. "This is like, getting painful."

I looked down.

"Oh wow. That's, like, totally not obvious," I said, as the tab of my pants flopped out conspiciously under my top.

Overdid it again.

Anyway, I'd give The 3 Crowns two thumbs up - excellent service to boot. If you're in the neighborhood, it's definitely worth stopping by. Make sure you wear an elasticated waistband. Or better yet, one of those shapeless tunic dresses.

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