Wivenhoe near Colchester is a lovely place to visit – quiet and quaint, it offers beautiful natural views of the river Colne and those lovely English streets that non-Brits always go on about. It’s the sort of place I go for a pint when I’m looking to get away from the seaside vibe of Walton and the busy atmosphere of Colchester, so getting to test out a new pub in the area was something I was really looking forward to.
The Rose And Crown is perfectly situated on the edge of the river Colne making it the ultimate Wivenhoe location for a relaxing drink – to the right you can see Rowhedge, and to the left the open space of the river with plenty of boats navigating the route. There’s actually more seating outside than in which I appreciated – although we ate inside due to the weather, it’s nice to know that getting a seat outdoors isn’t going to be a momentous task, which it can be in more crowded locations. Sitting out there I felt relaxed – the lapping on the river water against the nearby boats, the soft crunch of gravel under the feet of local dog walkers… It was a lovely experience.
Inside was also nice – some British pubs have an issue with being “too local” (if you’re not from the area you’ll get stared down as soon as you walk in the door) but it wasn’t like that here, and we felt welcome as soon as we walked in. I liked the cosy décor and appreciated the sign above the bar that read “Wivenhoe: A small drinking village with a fishing problem”.
Our visit was right before I was due to go live on Writer’s Block with Sarah Banham and Colne Radio so we went for the classic sandwich and a pint option, keen not to overrun. We were told at the time of order that we’d be waiting over an hour for food however this didn’t end up being the case, and we received our food within half an hour of ordering. The Rose and Crown have a special menu where you can get a sandwich, side, and a drink for £7.99 as a sort of meal deal, so we all went for that. The deal was quite flexible with the ability to add different things in and pay a little bit extra. I decided to go for the grilled halloumi with roasted vegetables and a side of chips with a pint of ale, with my partner Paul opting for the rump steak melt with chilli cheese fries (at an extra cost) and a cappuccino. Paul’s Mum went for the cod goujons sandwich with chips and a cider, and Paul’s Dad also went for the steak but with standard chips and a pint.
In general the food was very good quality – my halloumi sandwich was flavoursome and I couldn’t get over the chips which were that lovely, thick homecooked style. Paul’s chilli fries were thin cut instead, but the chilli gave them a real kick. Both the steak sandwich and cod goujon sandwich were very good quality as well, although Paul did say the steak sandwich ended up a bit messy due to the meat juices getting everywhere and the bread not quite holding it all in. Drinks were all great as well, with a good selection of lagers and ales on tap. It’s standard Greene King food, but it was cooked well and was as filling as a main meal.
After we’d eaten our sandwiches we realised we were doing well for time so decided to try out the dessert menu. Paul’s Mum went for the vegan apple pie and ice cream which she absolutely loved – apparently as good as the real thing! I shared a chocolate ice cream sundae with Paul which featured vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces, and chocolate sauce. It was sickly sweet but in a very good way and left me feeling full but not ill.
The service was generally positive throughout – there was a mix-up with our plates not being taken away but staff were apologetic about this and it didn’t affect our meal in anyway. Even though we’d gone in at a crazy busy time staff were still friendly (if a little flustered from all the business!) and I certainly don’t have any complaints. The place was very clean as you’d expect so no issues there.
We didn’t get to experience anything extra that The Rose And Crown has to offer but I did notice that they host different themed nights each week, one of which being a vintage games night which sounded great! There was a whole shelf full of board games so I liked that they were there for those that want it. I forget what the other nights were but I remember there being a nice range of activities that suited the Wivenhoe vibe well.
We all agreed at the end of the evening that we’d had a good experience at The Rose And Crown in Wivenhoe and would consider going back if we were in the area and fancied a pint on the river. On a warm and sunny evening in the summer I bet it’s just wonderful.
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