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Venue Review: The Crown & Pepper

27th September 2019
From the outside, the Crown and Pepper appears very much the quintessential traditional pub that adorns many of our town centres and high streets.

That, however, is a misconception because; as you enter through its doors into a homely and hospitable venue there is the wonderful aroma of Indian and Chinese cuisine. That is what makes the Crown & Pepper so distinct and they are famous for it. Let’s find out why.

A family run business celebrating their 10 year anniversary, we are greeted by Jay Shukla, the events director at the Crown and Pepper, who starts by giving us a tour of the venue, offering us the chance to understand a little more as to what makes the Crown and Pepper tick.

The downstairs is devoted to the bar area and seating for the restaurant. Not only is the Crown & Pepper a popular destination for food and drink but they have a reputation as a great venue for live sports. It’s Wednesday and the big screen has, for your viewing pleasure, Tottenham Vs Olympiacos, as part of the Champions League. You can’t have everything!

The Crown & Pepper also has an upstairs venue for private functions. On taking the grand tour, you can see immediately the energy and vibe created by Jay and the family throughout the Crown & Pepper – it’s infectious. This mixed with copious amounts of ambition and it would appear the venue has a wonderful future.

It’s time for food. Equipped with a Tucson craft beer, we are shown to our seats. Wanting to have a full experience of the cuisine we ask our hosts to surprise us! Wow is all I can say.

With a gentle appetiser with poppadoms, sauces for dipping and I was very much in my element. Indian cuisine is by far my favourite and relishing the chance to try out the menu, we sit back ready for the starters and they didn’t disappoint.

It was time to get comfortable as four starters arrived. They are famous for their Salt and Pepper King Prawns. Now, it doesn’t sound that interesting or gastronomically thrilling but you have to try it to believe it. They are something else. Succulent King Prawns with a delicate shower of salt and pepper – trust me, you’re in for a treat.

The succulent pieces of chicken tikka were delicious and the lamb kebabs provided a pleasant kick to the senses. I love chicken tikka at the best of times but this is homemade, well marinated pieces of chicken that literally make you salivate with every mouthful. The lamb kebabs were lovely with mint yoghurt – my partner in crime could only laugh at my need for sauce!

Now something I have never had before was presented and introduced as Chilli Garlic Mogo which we discovered is a sweet potato with lemon. Sliced in to thin strips, they were so moreish and full of flavour. They made a fantastic accompaniment to the kebabs, king prawns and chicken tikka.

Jay and his staff politely remove the dishes and ask whether we are keen for a main course. Yes, yes and yes please.

For our main course, we shared a sizzler! Delicately spiced, succulent pieces of chicken with onions and green peppers in black bean sauce accompanied with egg friend rice. Now usually I am not a major fan of black bean – it wouldn’t be my first choice. That said, this was lovely, better than lovely, it was exceptional. With the egg fried rice I could have eaten it again. I would definitely recommend it.

After our time with the team at the Crown & Pepper, it’s not hard to see why people love it so much. With 27 staff in total across the business, a young customer base, the Crown & Pepper are setting a very high standard and only a short walk from the town centre.

Do they do takeaways I hear you ask? Yes, they have just started with Deliveroo, completing 300 deliveries in two weeks, welcoming 72 new customers to their growing mass of happy customers.

Personally, yes the food and drink was great but the hospitality exceptional and we can’t thank Jay and his team enough. The passion to reach the top, deliver the best exudes in all that they do and with three sites across the borough including Thornton Heath and Caterham, the Crown & Pepper’s home is Croydon.

Overall a fantastic evening, relaxed, informal, welcoming and packed to the rafters with incredible food. Here is to another ten years at the Crown & Pepper.

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