The Crown Inn offers a good dining experience

I live near a part of North London that is not really known for anything much except that it’s a bit rough and going out alone after 10 p.m, is not really a good idea. However, I’ve become very fond of it over the last couple of years and am delighted to be able to say that The Crown is definitely the highlight of the place and is superb even when compared to the ‘nicer’ parts of town like West Hampstead and Hampstead. The pub has an Irish connection – 100 years ago, Kilburn and Cricklewood inhabitants were mainly Irish and the area still has many Irish families, although mixed with every nationality you can think of.

Location

Cricklewood Broadway is part of the A5, which leads up to the North Circular and can get very busy. Fortunately, the pub is set back from the road, so even if you choose to sit outside, the noise isn’t too bad.

Address:
142-152 Cricklewood Broadway
Cricklewood
London NW2 3ED.
Tel: +44 (0)20 8452 4175
Fax: +44 (0)20 8452 0952

The pub is part of and is right next door to the Crown Moran Hotel, which I have heard is also very nice. The Crown Moran is the reason for the refurbishment of The Crown, which didn’t previously feature in the list of good pubs in London. To the other side is Iceland and a NatWest Bank.

To get there by bus, the 16 from Victoria along Edgware Road goes straight there, as does the 189 from Oxford Circus to Cricklewood via West Hampstead. From Kilburn, buses 32 and 316 go directly there. The nearest tube station is Kilburn, followed by a walk up the hill. Cricklewood is on the Thameslink.

The facade

The outside of the pub looks fantastic; it is terracotta-coloured and is a grade two listed Victorian building. This has not changed much since it was built on the site of tea rooms in 1889 and obviously will not do so now it is a listed building.

The decor and layout

This really surprised me. Other pubs in the Cricklewood/Kilburn area tend to be serviceable at best, but the Crown has been beautifully decorated. The bar is in the middle of a large floor area. To the front and sides of the bar are a variety of comfortable sofas and chairs in cream and brown leather, then to the back of the bar are a couple of nooks and crannies for privacy and a separate bar area, presumably for evening use because there was no natural light. There are a number of original features, including fireplaces, ceiling detail etc. The ceilings are very high, which give the impression of even more space. In the corner is the obligatory screen showing mainly sports. Outside the pub is an area cordoned off with tables and umbrellas and set back from the road.

There is also an upstairs section, which I didn’t see, where the weekend carvery is served.

The food

We just wanted a bar meal – for posh nosh, there is the carvery upstairs and the restaurant in the hotel itself, the menu for which looked excellent. There is a variety of bar food – the usual suspects really – pasta, sausage and mash, pies etc, most of which are served with chips. The prices for the main courses are very reasonable for London, starting from 6.50 pounds. Starters such as potato skins are also served, as are desserts.

The day we were there, it was hot and none of the stodge above really appealed (although would love to go back in the winter and sit in front of the fire with sausage and mash), but luckily, they also did a variety of salads. I had a Greek Salad, with hummus, feta cheese, cucumber, tomato, olives and salad leaves. My friend opted for a Moroccan salad, with grilled and flavoured chicken on a bed of cous cous and salad leaves, with tomatoes and cucumber. Both were delicious – the plates were huge, the salad was fresh and the flavours were spot on. There were about six varieties of salad available in all, including Tuna Provencale, with tuna (obviously), new potatoes and all the trimmings, and a German ploughmans, including cheese, cold meat, pickle and salad. Each was 6.50 pounds, which for the quality and amount, I thought was very good value.

I would definitely go back for the food alone. I’d like to try the carvery sometime – there is a choice of beef, pork, lamb and chicken with all the trimmings and salad.

The drinks

Being a pub, pretty much anything was available, but if you want to be in, the flavour of the season is Magner’s cider with ice, probably due to the Irish connection.

The service

There were two young girls behind the bar who were polite and brought our food over when it was ready. For a pub, I don’t expect quality service, politeness and punctuality will do for me and I definitely got that.

Cleanliness

Everywhere was spotless, including the toilets. Definitely no complaints there.

Conclusion

I really liked the food here and will visit again just for that, but I’d also go back just for a drink and the ambience. We visited on a Sunday afternoon, and it was pleasantly quiet, with plenty of space between us and the others.

There are sometimes DJs and bands playing and every Friday and Sunday evening, there are traditional Irish musicians playing. Events are regularly updated on The Crown Moran Hotel website.   choose the section on The Crown. Highly recommended.