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Rose and Crown, Halstead

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user reviews of the Rose and Crown, Halstead

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Great News! Change of Landlord bringing interesting beers back to the pub. Still 6 pumps with Larkins for the regulars but on visit found Rudgate, Harviestoun, Tonbridge on. Worth keeping an eye on as landlord appears to know his Beer Stuff with a delivery of Old Dairy while I was there. Food offer remains the same with good pricing.
Alan_br12df - 17 Aug 2016 20:29
Good selection of beers, normally about 6.
First class food and plenty of it.
Friendly bar staff and locals.
Only down side is do not depend on roast advertised for Wednesdays, often not on, but a good choice of other meals.
Sunday roast is excellent.
Parking is limited.
somerstown - 24 Nov 2013 14:23
Saved me a wasted journey. Travel to the cock inn around the corner to find they were not serving Sunday lunch. The menu was the same but quality was excellent roast beef and lamb served with fresh vegtables and roast potatoes. Lovely sponge puddings to follow. Also had very nice pint of real ale.
jonkelly123 - 5 May 2013 18:15
The beer was very good,the Sunday lunch was keenly priced, huge and above all excellent, to be a little churlish a less static and more Imaginative beer choice would make this a regular haunt. They have a few quirky promotional ideas linked to football, so much off a pint per goal scored etc. Very handy for Polhill Garden Centre.
slerpy - 3 Dec 2012 18:31
Scores out of 5
Beers on offer 5 - Beer quality 4 - Full pint? 5 - Service 4 - Clientele 4
Garden & view 4 - Welcome & staff 4 - Parking 2 - Toilets 4 - Comfort 4
TOTAL 40 out of 50 OVERALL RATING 36 to 40 = 8

Comment: Skinners, Westerham and Caledonian with a choice of lager including Oranjeboom. Friendly people both sides of the bar and a large garden at rear which was a big surprise given the location. Although the Skinners was past its best it was swiftly replaced (without any fuss) with a Westerham that was rather pleasant.
Returnability: 4

Thirstyworker - 23 Jul 2012 19:59
Visited on bank holiday Monday with a coach load...............phoned the Landlord first and asked if Whitstable EIPA could possably be put on for us...............we arrived and EIPA was on, many Thanks to the Landlord for arranging this.
Pub very quiet, and beer quality as good as ever.

Worth a visit.
pwilkins - 11 Apr 2012 14:03
in here yesterday evening,6 beers on larkins,cottage,3 from st austell and whistable ipa.tried the whistable,tribute and proper job all good.friends had food and were very pleased with the quality and the large helping.service and staff very pickled eggs on sale.
hoppyal - 10 Apr 2012 14:22
I have used this pub over the last 3 or 4 years calling in on a Sunday afternoon during cycling trips. I have always been happy with the changing choice of beers available and have yet to try one I did not like. The beer has always been well kept, politely served and competitively priced. Yesterday I tried the food for the first time, it was absolutely delicious. I had an ample starter of whitebait and a main of cod and chips. My wife had prawn cocktail followed by beef and ale pie. We both cleaned our plates, no mean task as there was plenty there. For the price this was an excellent meal, my wife commented on how lean the beef was, rare for her indeed. This is pub food about as good as it gets whatever the price! I didn't eat here under the former management but the Sunday meals look as ample as they ever did and as so far as the beer is concerned the high standards have survived the management change intact. I would recommend this pub to anyone either for a couple of pints or for a good meal out.
paulfitzs - 15 Feb 2012 13:21
Visited for the Beer festival over the Bank Holiday weekend. A range of additional interesting beers including ones from Tonbridge Brewery and Mighty Oak (both new to me and excellent). Roast well up to standard and we were looked after very well. They are certainly putting a lot of effort in here. Well worth a visit.
Alan_br12df - 30 Aug 2011 18:56
Enjoyed a family lunch here in June 2011 on a Sunday.
My neck was on the block as I confused it with somewhere I had been before when booking; then the reviews I read on this site put me off a bit... however, I am pleased to report that the food was great (Sunday lunch of roast lamb for me, but others ate from the main menu and we all enjoyed our food, including starters and desserts!) As there were 18 of us we were seated in a room which as it turned out we had for sole use which was excellent. Plenty of other seating including outdoors.
The 2 youngest diners in our party loved their roast beef (small portions were big for the little ones but my 2.5 year old demolished his and loved it!) They played happily in the well equipped garden which had an excellent wooden climbing frame, slide & swings. We all had a lovely afternoon together. I would recommend and I am sure we will be back again if we are in the area. Only downside for us was that some of the other clientele left their little ones unsupervised in the garden (danger aspect was unsettling and one little guy kept grabbing hold of my niece's swing which could have led her to fall, this was a pain) but the pub itself cannot be held accountable for it's patrons in my opinion.
RixyRobin - 23 Jun 2011 16:26
Went here for Sunday lunch, group of 18 and were very well looked after. Food choice was excellent and excellent portions. All the ales looked good, would recommend this pub, only issue was some of the other diners, who somewhat lowered the tone. Garden was excellent for the kids.
RichardS - 20 Jun 2011 17:56
I visit this pub about once every 3 months so am not a villager. I understand there have been some management changes over the past year or so but don't know enough to comment on this. Popped there recently in the afternoon and the 2 real ales I had out of the 6 on offer were in excellent condition. Although I did not eat the food on offer sounded nice and was well priced. My only concern was the language, both in terms of the swearing and at some times racism coming from the public bar, at one point it sounded as if the barmaid was part of this conversation.

A shame, because if this delinquent crowd were not there it would have been a very high rating from me. Be brave landlord, stamp it out !
strummer - 11 Jun 2011 20:32
They really seem to be trying with the beer range here. 6 real ales on with special interest from Kelham Island (very unusual in this area) and Spa Brewery (new to me). Both in tip top condition as was the Larkins.
Alan_br12df - 22 May 2011 19:26
My 3rd time back since last summer's bloodshed, the first “New Guy” was very friendly, but clearly (and I think unfairly) on a hiding to nothing.

It's also probably unfair of me the judge yesterday's “New New Guy” after such a brief visit, but I will anyway…. My Larkin's was a borderline short measure, but he didn't look like the kind of young man I'd like to argue with, I also would have had a second Whitstable, but he was outside having a cigarette and a prolonged chat.

The front bar was fully occupied by an extended family, nothing wrong with that I guess, but I did feel like I'd gate crashed a private house party, the side bar was dead and even in the pubs heyday it never had a particularly good feel about it.

On the plus side the Larkin's was excellent and they had todays papers, and this pub needs to be supported through this current (hopefully short-term) blip.
beerandpaperman - 7 Feb 2011 12:54
dear vanda,as you stated on your post dated the 24th of jan profiles were hidden.....why are yours?????? something to hide vanda???????,working in a kitchen at 13???????,leave the site to genuine users.yours guv 1,and please click on to my user name and you would have realised that you do not know me.i will be in the r&c on sunday,and will give an accurate review.yours guv 1.
theguv1 - 5 Feb 2011 17:56
how very immature.
theguv1 - 25 Jan 2011 09:42
Im sorry "THEGUV" we all know who you are and as you are well aware i worked in the cock from the age of 13 till 16 washing up in the kitchen with pete and sue if you would like to see my CV i would be more than happy to send it to you, mean while grow up and get a life, and p.s your only supposed to post a comment if your reviewing a pub and clearly the previous comment aint a review
hulababy - 25 Jan 2011 00:26
vanda if you are 23 now,that means you were working in one or the other pubs at the age of the cock inn for 4 yrs,the rose for 3 and a half years equals 7 and a half not 10 years,sorry vanda it dosent ring rating given
theguv1 - 24 Jan 2011 06:40
My name is Vanda Wilson, im 23 years old and i have lived in this beautiful village all my life, in the past 10 years i have worked in both the local pubs(The Rose and Crown, The Cock Inn) and i have the pleasure of knowing most, if not all locals, most of which are very friendly. I worked in the Cock inn for almost 4 years with Mark and Jo and was one of the chefs there and i worked as a barmaid in the rose and crown for approx 3 and half years with Joy and Bob. I feel i should post a comment for the genuine users of this website that want an honest review of a boozer. Due to the politics that all small villages suffer, the village is currently divided into 2 where the pubs are concerned, as some may know bob was the old landlord of the Rose and Crown and is now new management at the cock and Paul is the new management of the Rose and Crown. For loyalty to Bob alot of his customers feel the need to invent bad comments on the rose and crown, (if you check certain users, you will notice not only have they only commented once, but also they choose to hide there profiles,These are the comments that have "BRING BACK BOB" mostly.) I drink in the Rose and crown most evenings and it is the same as always, the drink, the people, the atmosphere the food (although i would say the food ,in my own opinion, is probably better than it was) its a fantastic village pub and i would recommend it to anyone. The Cock is also a lovely village pub that has a lot to offer, bob and his famous team have been working very hard for the 3 months they have been there, the pub looks amazing, great locals and so on, i will say the food is not as good as it was from when i was cooking there, but then that would be very biased, but hey, ive always had a big head. So to sum up, if your in Halstead looking for a great pub, we are very very fortunate to have two, please visit both as i would love to see both pubs remain open and i hope that this petty "my pub, is better than your pub" silly game ends soon, and the village can return to normal, because life is too short for this c##p x
hulababy - 24 Jan 2011 02:58
I have to say that i have only used this place once or twice recently in the evening. The barmaid was lovely and really friendly. There was a darts match on in one bar and me and my mates sat in the other bar and worked our way through the real ales for an hour or so! I offered to get the fire going again for the girl behind the bar and we had a right laugh!! Good atmosphere. really nice boozer. will go back in the near future.
loveapintortwo - 20 Jan 2011 17:28
Referring to the last review, either I've been lucky the last 3 out of 3 times, or you were unlucky that once, or if its that variable hopefully the landlord will take note of your comments.
Referring to the 2 previous reviews, the BITE policy which they ask you to read before posting says 'please make sure your reviews actually say something about the pub, rather than just the previous people who've talked about it'.
Have often looked at reviews for pubs I've been to over the years, decided recently to actually register and posted one about the Rose and Crown because my experiences of it were totally different to some of the reviews posted.
Went back again on Sunday, for their quiz, it was well supported, very enjoyable (as was the Larkins still), raised over £100 for the Village Nursery School (different local cause every month), and I will be going again.
slowworm - 19 Jan 2011 19:05
I called in with my bf this weekend. It has always been a treat to pop in for a pint of Larkins and a chat with the locals... we live 15 miles away but when we are in the area it is a must. Oh gosh, what has happened to the place where was everyone! The beer was okay but not up to its usual standard and not all pumps working. Being served was a hindrance for the barmaid or landlady - not sure which she was. The conversation from the other bar - there was one other customer other than us. We couldn't tell if it was the landlord or the customer with the mouth of a sewer. The foul language, racist comments and bragging about 'their time inside some of HMP's' was not really what we expected to hear - and no we were not evesdropping we had no choice - the big screen tv was blaring out and they were shouting above this in the end we left after less than 10 minutes as we couldn't get any response to our request for service.

In one word this pub has become a shadow of its former self and the notices about the opening of a new tea room and restaurant soon could hardly be more inappropriate - I don' t think ladies that take tea would feel at all comfortable around the current owners or customers!

Also just for the record I only ever feel like putting a comment when something has really provoked me - be it good service or in this case bad.

I would normally give this pub a mark of 8 but I feel that I need to take away 6 for the atmosphere or lack of welcoming atmosphere. I didn't try the food and feel relieved that the barlady didn't come back to take our order so we could leave and never return.

selectivealedrinker - 19 Jan 2011 14:38
got to agree with rating given
theguv1 - 18 Jan 2011 07:41
L Star and sloworm have only ever made one comment apiece.
Pat_Bateman - 12 Jan 2011 09:21
Have visited Rose and Crown on and off for several years, just been discussing BITE posts with mate who's a regular there. Gather pub did go downhill after Bob went, under a short term landlord, but new landlord Paul been working hard to restore a good local village pub.
Seems to be working! had Sunday lunch about 4 weeks ago, Bobs were good but these were EXCELLENT (I had the beef, girlfriend had lamb). Usual good selection of beers, tried 2 guests, both good. Dropped in one evening recently, Larkins good, Paul friendly, quizzes and other events back on, fairly busy (mostly locals), good atmosphere. Went in Cock for one after out of interest, quiet in comparison, probably in both depends on time or day of week?
Pubs are still shutting daily, Halstead lucky to still have the choice of 2 pubs, think some of the recent posts have got personal and missing the bigger picture.
slowworm - 12 Jan 2011 02:59
In answer to 'Craiginbromley' - I am local and this did indeed used to be a nice country pub that had a nice vibe to it. We used to visit there regularly on a Saturday night. We hadn't been back there for about 18 months, not for any particular reason, but have since found out from talking to local people that since Bob left left there's been a change in the clientele going there and it's gone donwhill. I popped in there during the snowy weather in the last month and could see there was a difference, it was empty other than a large party in one bar and one bloke in the other bar (who was talking rubbish whilst randomly swearing to the barmaid). We had one drink and went over the 'The Cock' which was packed and had that same nice vibe that the Rose and Crown used to have when Bob was there, so he's taken it with him - well done Bob! I'm open minded and accept everyone's different but I personally don't really want to be going to places and listening to people effing and blinding when I'm out for a quiet drink with my wife and daughter. I've only been there once since Bob left but having spoken to quite a few people they are all saying the same thing, so I would have to presume it's gonna be one of those type of pubs now and won't bother going there. Shame as it looks like it still has the good range of real ales there which I used to enjoy. All the regulars that used to go to their can now be found in 'The Cock' - I think that speaks for itself. I will try the R&C again in the future at some point though to see if it's any better....
TheMonkman - 9 Jan 2011 13:52
wat can i say about the rose and crown in halstead, well firstly it is a local pub to me, it has a wounderful atmosphere, newly referbed looks abslotly brilliant.
i am in there most days and evenings now it has a lovely verity of ales, beers, soft drinks. the food well i cant explain it you will have to try it for yourself.

i recomend this pub to anyone who is looking for a nice country pub with good food and drinks.

L_Star - 7 Jan 2011 02:29
I visited this pub a few weeks ago on the recommendation of a friend of the owner having been told it was a lovely country pub. When I arrived I was greeted by someone shouting in the street outside and within moments I realized that a fight had occurred. I left immediately. Seemingly there are significant problems here. Do any other reviewers have a comment on this because it was a stupid waste of my time. I have taken the trouble to join BITE just to comment on this and will not be going back. I have read through the historic reviews and the pub was a regular winner of a camra award. Whoever is in charge of this place has made a complete and utter mess of it. Is there a reason? Are they trying to get it closed and turn it into a development site or what? Most foolish.
Craiginbromley - 30 Dec 2010 10:28
Have read the recent reviews and decided to try the pub again with an open mind. They have 'decorated' the place. Extremely bright and feels cold when you walk in, although to be fair it may not be finished yet. However it is no longer the pub we knew or the customer base that used to be so welcoming. I did not feel comfortable with the atmosphere. I was told by a girl I met in the Ladies that her friend had been barred from the pub for six months 'just 'cos he threw a fire extinguisher at the bloke behind the bar' ! ! Why only SIX MONTHS ! ! !
We left immediately, and have no plans to retutrn.

A local woman outside the pub then directed us around the corner to The Cock. Bob was behind the bar ! Lots of the old faces we recognised were there too. The pub was welcoming and the locals friendly.

Guess which one we will be going to in future ?
theciderdrinker - 27 Dec 2010 06:15
Well I was in here just before Christmas. Had a super Sunday lunch - Roast Rib of Beef - well up to standard - and the beer choice and quality was good too. It was very quiet (we walked because of the snow) but the pub was welcoming and well decorated for Christmas. I note the previous poster has only ever commented on this pub, and if the Halstead Cock is now improved it would be good to see an updated review posted onto BITE.
Alan_br12df - 26 Dec 2010 14:55
Called into pub for first time in a while. Had a pint of lark ins, it had to go back.
No one in the pub at a normally busy time apart from a couple having a noisy and abusive row. Pub has gone completely downhill. All the wrong sort in there now .
Not going back . A waste of time. Plenty of other pubs to go to.
Went round to the cock inn and all the old regulars are now round there with guess who running the pub-- bob baker! I shall be joining them in future. How shameful that a perfect fully good business has been destroyed. I'm serious about how much it's changed don't go there they really are undesirable. There is something distasteful about all of this .I would not want to support the guy responsible . The villagers must be up in arms about it.
Can't give the pub a rating
cashelard - 25 Dec 2010 19:57
Was in yesterday for Sunday Roast rib. Still the best Sunday roast around this area. Beer range good. Pub nicely decorated. Not many in but it was Arctic outside! They deserve support
GrahamH - 20 Dec 2010 09:35
Have been back several times recently and the beers have still been of a good standard and varied. I have also eaten midweek at lunch time and the food was of a good standard and reasonably priced. The menu gave a reasonable choice of dishes.
I would still recommend this pub. The owner seems to be trying hard to provide a good choice of beers and food and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.
adriancowie1 - 8 Nov 2010 17:23
Understand Bob is back ! Not in the Rose but the the pub around the corner. Should now really sort out who can run a pub ?

theciderdrinker - 28 Oct 2010 20:21
Had Sunday roast here today. Not been recently after hearing about all the bother. Well its turned the corner; the roast rib of beef was indescribably good and excellent value. Usual real ale regulars of Larkins and Whitstable pale plus a mild and three other guests. One of the rare true free houses. Really worth going back / seeking out. Going to have a beer festival next Easter and lots of other "specials" so the new guy said. The landlord is really trying hard - daft to neglect this place now or bear a grudge when they are genuinely trying to please real ale drinkers.
GrahamH - 24 Oct 2010 22:57
I have been going to this pub for 7 years and I have not visited this pub since the previous landlord, Bob, left. I have been following the comments since and last Sunday decided to visit the pub to see for myself. I also visited this Sunday. What a relief! Another new landlord (Paul) arrived I understand about 3/4 weeks ago. The beer range is as good as Bob's with the beers in good condition. Had a roast last week (good) and asked where the legendary rib of beef was. Now back on this week. What a totally super roast - well up to standards previously set and I have to say the best roast in any pub that I know in the area. Let's hope it continues.. The landlord seems keen on his real ales and showed us his plans for the next few weeks. All of you who have abondoned this pub should give it another chance. It deserves your supprt. We will be back....
Alan_br12df - 24 Oct 2010 18:54
My family used to travel 40 miles to visit here and stop and have a meal before the drive back through the Dartford Tunnel. One of the things we liked was the certainty of having a good meal and a nice range of real ales before heading back. Now I'm reading that sometimes the food is on .... sometimes it isn't. There's no feedback on here to say how good or bad the food is. If the landlord can post more practical information on here such as what time food is served, link to a sample menu and details of the beers etc then I might well be tempted back. Marketing may well be the answer here looking at the positive rather than the negative. Can I be tempted back to my 80 mile round trip? It's up to you.
ButchEgg - 14 Sep 2010 13:28
Message to latest landlord - you have to bring back Bob and his team - no-one can replace them.

Owner should have listened to the people that spent their money there - he has spoilt our enjoyment of a good pub, customers and beer.
Johnsmithsshandy1bisc - 5 Sep 2010 19:48
It ias a shame that thsi pub has deteriorated in the way it has - it was a fantastic little pub - good food, and if a bit samey - good beer - BRING BACK BOB!
DEMETER - 2 Sep 2010 23:10
I think you will find you need to be in the pub to be a landlord and work at it
djk - 29 Aug 2010 12:07
This comment is for cashelard. I am the Landlord at the Rose and Crown, the chap "who knows nothing about real ale". Im not here to argue or defend the pub because that would be biased. What i would like to do is offer you a chance to come in and tell me what is wrong with my Larkins, and give me some thoughts on how to improve the pub and try to redeem its stellar reputation. Or you could just stay as you are and complain about things instead of trying to fix them......
tobyweltman - 28 Aug 2010 16:53
Another wasted visit. Larkins was well below average and guess what no food again. Used to be top drawer, but not anymore. Barmaids all gone and the customers have disappeared as well .The pub was fairly empty apart from a very very noisy family who seemed to have taken over the garden. We can't quite get over the transformation other than it is clear that the locals and regulars have made up their minds. The lounge bar ( ?) has had a redecoration and nobody was in there. This pub has gone from being an award winning freehouse to an unfriendly dump in six weeks !! Whoever owns this pub needs medical help to have let this happen. Pubs tucked away like the Rose & Crown simply do not recover from ignorant and bad decisions.
cashelard - 18 Aug 2010 00:16
Oh dear its all gone wrong here...
Bustling lively and friendly pub is just a shadow of what was it was.
Once excellent sunday roast is now mediocre, no need to book now !
Another hidden gem has bitten the dust.
kisstaker - 11 Aug 2010 10:14
Bring back Bob. Pub is not the same now.
I have been drinking in this pub for about a year. It WAS a lovely pub. Not now. Only some friendly locals go in there now. and i dont blame the others for not going in there. It looks a mess. Not as clean as it was and looks unloved. Have seen people returning meals. This pub was the heart of the village but not now

djk - 25 Jul 2010 16:52
Like many others, I am extremely disappointed to hear of Bob's departure. I'd just like to thank him and his staff for the many great times (and beers) I had at Rose & Crown.
I must point out that the posting below from sam209 looks a tad suspicious.....
He has only commented on 1 pub.
I've never heard someone call themselves "a big fan of real ales"
He fails to name any of the beers on offer or even the one he sent back.
The phrase "The pub itself is nice - old village style with a beautiful garden, friendly & polite staff and new eager manager. " seems scripted.
" don't know much about what the pub used to be like but it definitely needs doesn't have to become a modern pub with loud music...just a better one" sounds to me a bit like a negative comment on Bob's tenure.
Written by the new owner, perhaps?
spoinge - 19 Jul 2010 10:49
Went to the Rose and Crown last weekend...and had an excellent time. Being a big fan of real ales I was really looking forward to going there and was happy my expectations were met. The pub itself is nice - old village style with a beautiful garden, friendly & polite staff and new eager manager. Judging from the regulars in there and the comments on here the new manager has a lot to live up to and from what I can see he's going to do well.

After having a couple great pints I had a real bad one and when I complained he tasted it himself and agreed...he went down and checked and then changed the barrel, apologised and gave me a fresh one of what was much improved, he seems to be a big real ale fan contrary to some reviews on here, he's polite, very knowledgable and intends to really take the pub forward.

I don't know much about what the pub used to be like but it definitely needs doesn't have to become a modern pub with loud music...just a better one.

I'll definitely go back :)
sam209 - 7 Jul 2010 13:00
We visited the pub at the weekend and decided to have an open mind regarding the change. The pub looks a mess it was fairly empty and the new chap doesn;t know anything about real ale. We had intended to have a meal but after ordering our drinks were told that the kitchen was closed. A complete disaster , what on earth does the owner think he is doing. Apparently he has said that websites like this should be ignored!
cashelard - 6 Jul 2010 15:09
Who had the 'brilliant' (spot the sarcasm) idea of dumping the very thing that made Rose and Crown so great, i.e., Bob.
Lets face it, even back in Joy's day it was Bob who made the place what it was. Now, after years of excellent service to the community, to good food, and to good ales, along with keeping a traditional, proper pub just as it was, it takes less than a week to plunge downhill.
Get Bob back if you can, or I fear that in a short while we will read of the demise of this once great pub.
Dumbell - 4 Jul 2010 21:25
We found the Rose and Crown Halstead about 2.5 years ago. Very friendly- well kept beers - exceptionally clean and well run with lots of atmosphere - a real old country pub. Now the Manager had to leave this sad day and we wonder what will happen next. The best we can hope for is that Bob comes back and continues his work here or indeed that nothing else is changed - we do not like modern eating pubs, loud music establishments etc. The change today is a real blow to the life of this village.
Johnsmithsshandy1bisc - 30 Jun 2010 15:47
I'm amazed to have just learned of the owners decision to replace Bob with a new manager. Since taking over as manager, Bob has consistently provided a range of well conditioned real ales, with a range of excellent guest ales. The food is also of a high quality and the pub has always been well patronised, even during the daytime.

I really cannot understand the decision to replace a winning formula with an unknown quantity, by replacing the person responsible for making the pub so successful and, winning the coveted Camra "Pub of the year" award on several occasions. I really hope that the owners will re-consider their decision.

adriancowie1 - 24 Jun 2010 11:08
Oh dear Iv just learnt Bobs gone, this pub is right at the top of my list and Bob is such a friendly and knowledgeable guy. I Wish him well with whatever he takes on in the future. Lets hope the new manager keeps up the same high standard.
Belchmeistergeneral - 21 Jun 2010 10:06
On learning of Bobs forced departure visited yesterday, to show support. This pub has been in the Good Beer Guide for 15 consecutive years, and has won West Kent CAMRA pub of the Year competition twice. There was a selection of 6 real ales including a hard to find mild, hardly an unimaginative selection. It was hard to find a seat as the pub was full of drinkers and diners. One wonders what the new owner thinks is going wrong? To treat a Manager who has a successful track record so shabbily by throwing him out very little notice of not only his livelihood but has home says a lot about the person doing this and none of it good.
KentishScot - 20 Jun 2010 09:32
One of the best pubs around this area of Kent.
Beer always 1oo%, and a regular outlet for Larkins.
I hope the owner has a rethink, as Bob has done a excellent job after taking over from Joy.
A sad day indeed if Bob leaves!!
pwilkins - 18 Jun 2010 12:44
Well, here's a SHOCK. There is a half page spread in the local Kent paper reporting that the "new" (of two years ago) owner of the pub has asked Bob to leave by 30 June. They don't see eye to eye apparently. A new young 22 year old Canadian is going to be the new manager. But they don't want to change the place, just improve it so they say. I wonder how much they know about real ale and keeping it and serving it and getting the right type and selection. This pub is unique in the area for its beer range and consistent quality. I just hope its not ruined but the chances must be against that. We shall have to wait and see. But that's no way to treat Bob who has worked so hard to build up the reputation of this place and win all those CAMRA awards. This is a tragedy in every sense. Was there last night and had superb beers - Larkins, Whitstable, Wolf and Oakham. Hope that was not my last visit after being a patron for nearly 20 years.
GrahamH - 18 Jun 2010 11:47
Nice friendly pub - staff and locals. Beers good with guest beers always on offer and changed regularly. Garden nice. Plenty of activities mentioned by staff and locals-darts, bat & trap,Quiz, pool many of these used to raise money for local charities. Will certainly go back when passing.
djk - 31 May 2010 21:04
Re-visited the Rose for the first time in three months. The Larkins was excellent and the food brilliant. The staff were more than helpful and Bob remembered me which is the sign of a good landlord. Despite the rain was able to sit in te covered area of the garden and enjoy being in the countryside. Best pub outside of London
cashelard - 29 May 2010 23:13
I'v paid a couple of visits recently and this pub is certainly my favorite at the moment.The Whitstable IPA is perfect.Theres a couple of dart boards and a pool table. Bob the govenor is a really nice bloke and the locals are friendly one saw me waiting at the bus stop and offered me a lift.I wish I lived nearer.
Belchmeistergeneral - 26 May 2010 09:22
Have sampled some excellent guest ales recently, including Betty Stoggs, Phantom & some time back, O'Hanlons Port Stout.

The Regulars, Black Cat Mild, Larkins Traditional & Whitstable IPA continue to be up to the usual high standard expected at this pub.
adriancowie1 - 24 May 2010 14:40
After a visit to the Polhill Nurseries I decided to visit the Crown which is a pub that I have frequented over many years but not as often as I would like.On this occasion I was very unhappy with the food,which was sausage(2) very coarse,Smash (reconstituted mash) and a cloying gravy for £7.50! On the plus side the ales were well kept but an unimaginative selection was on offer.After many years of ale drinking there is an unmistakeable smell about a pub that is on the slide, perhaps easily rectified but the WILL to do it needs to be in evidence.One of the problems with reviewing out of the way pubs is that you only get a snapshot on the day, let's hope i've hit a bad day.Rating lowered.
slerpy - 23 May 2010 17:18
Been a while since we visited this pub. Wasn't disappointed ! The garden is lovely in the warmer weather and very peaceful. The beers (especially the Larkins!) were in tip top condition, and the food as always was excellent. Bob remembered us from our previous visits and made us feel very welcome. We will be back again soon. Just wish we lived nearer..............
theciderdrinker - 20 May 2010 21:45
Lovely pub in a great setting, with helpful, friendly staff and a pleasing range of cask bitters. The only drawback during my visit was having small children wandering around the public bar - though this is a personal opinion and only slightly detracted from what was otherwise an enjoyable visit.
Dartitis - 19 Apr 2010 17:24
Great pub and a lovely building. Think I'll return in the summer when the Beer garden will be a great spot for a few pints.

Very friendly staff who enjoyed playing with our dogs. One of the locals even bought some Pork Scratchings for the dogs.

One tiny drawback, is that for the cider drinker (me) there's only Strongbow or Magners. Although sadly, that seems to be the norm in the vast majority of pubs throughout the land.

Pat_Bateman - 22 Feb 2010 11:35
An excellent pub.
Don't need to say anything else.
beer123 - 22 Feb 2010 10:31
Word is getting around that the Whistable East India Pale Ale, a long time regular beer at this pub, may be dropped in favour of O´Hanlon´s Yellow Hammer. NOW that would be disappointing. I have walked many miles specifcally for a point of Whitstabubble. Its so delicious it has no rival. And in Bob´s pub its so well kept and served. PLEASE keep the Whitstable on tap here Bob!
GrahamH - 1 Feb 2010 18:09
Well done Bob's team. Another very satisfying visit for the Sunday Roast yesterday. Beer in excellent condition - as always. Had to sample the full range! The two regulars - Larkins BB and Whitstable East India Pale Ale are a must for taste and quality. Then the two guests, Cotleigh Buzzard xx(or something like that) and then Loddons Gold, new to me and a "must try again" it was so delicious. The freshly roasted and carved rib of beef is something to die for. Staggered back to Shoreham station across the fields and downs; got home at 8pm. What a day!
GrahamH - 18 Jan 2010 09:47
It is sometimes easy to be sceptical about how some pubs manage to get themselves on the BITE Top 20 list on the home page, but this is how I first became aware of this place a few months ago. Finally managed a quick visit, and I was very pleased to say that it exceeded my expectations. Very busy on a Sunday lunchtime, with some diners but mostly people seemded to be there for traditional beer and conversation. Five real ales on, including the local Larkins bitter (one of the best low-strength beers). Top-of-the-range village pub.
rpadam - 1 Nov 2009 21:28
Exactly what a traditional local pub should be.
Excellent selection of well kept ales.

beerchaser - 24 Oct 2009 16:10
"Seems likely that "Somerstown" (review below) had the wrong glasses more likely"

Honest criticism not welcome then? I gave praise where it was deserved. Also said I had only been here once, but if the quantity of food was normal for this pub, there are very few locally that dish up less. Hopefully it was just an off day.
somerstown - 16 Oct 2009 10:03
Not only does this pub serve some pf the best ales in the county the food is fast catching up the beer quality, apparently they have a new chef, the menu has definitely improved and what incredible value for money.
cashelard - 11 Oct 2009 21:55
All I can say is well done to Bob and his team they certainly take pride in what they do.The bar is just oozing with hospitality.There is a great array of ales including Moorehouse Black Cat which is always on.There's a very neat and well kept garden with a huge covered area.
Belchmeistergeneral - 9 Oct 2009 12:21
Lovely pub - excellent pint (Larkins) - friendly people - what more could anyone want??? Didn't try the food as we were not hungry (and too early anyway), but itching go go back again a little later in the evening.....
Bickleyboy - 4 Sep 2009 22:18
Several recent return visits to this pub confirm the consistency and quality of their beers, perfect condition and temperature. The standard was very good on each visit and the staff were very welcoming and friendly.
adriancowie1 - 21 Aug 2009 10:16
Seems likely that "Somerstown" (review below) had the wrong glasses more likely. Called in last night and the fresh Grimsby haddock was something that would cost 3 times the price in any seaside town. Just managed to finish it there was so much. And the staff attitude in this pub is so good you only need to mention any concern and it is put right. Goes without saying the beer quality was excellent - their Whitstable IPA is the nectar of the gods.
GrahamH - 20 Aug 2009 10:27
Having read good reviews of this pub here, I thought I would try it. Certainly they sell a nice pint and the locals were friendly. The food was well cooked, but I must have picked the wrong day The portions were so small I would have been better off getting a saveloy and chips on my way home!
I might try it again, but will have a pint first and see what they dish up for other people to see if my experience was unusual.
Nice pub if just out for a drink I would think.
somerstown - 17 Aug 2009 15:39
This pub is ALWAYS a pleasure to visit. The regular Larkins BB and Whitstable pale ale are super beers that have to be sampled (Health and Safety precaution so as to recommend to others) every visit. Then, moving on to the guest beers, yesterday lunchtime the Salopian Lemon Dream was something to die for. A mugnificent ale, not too fruity, light and fresh tasting. Had a beef sandwich - stuffed with fresh hand carved beef off the joint. And food now available until 9pm some evenings. This place is better than Heaven - I guess!
GrahamH - 8 Aug 2009 10:17
Three really good regular ales: Black Cat Mild, Larkins Traditional & Whitstable. They always have another two gueat ales on as well.
Food is realy good and Staff are very friendly.

Highly recommended!
adriancowie1 - 7 Aug 2009 09:47
We went back to this pub again on a Wednesday evening to introduce some friends to our 'find'. It was still serving excellent beer and superb food. There is a room at the back of the pub that is now opened as a function/games room and is very cosy. I just wish that we lived nearer! The Larkins Traditional was in tip-top condition. Being a Wednesday the pub had received their weekly delivery of Haddock fresh from Grimsby. All four of us tried it. It was served in a light beer batter and came with chips and peas. Generous portions and fish to die for! Will keep going back whenever we are able! Please, please, don't ever let this pub be taken over by a 'chain' !
theciderdrinker - 3 Aug 2009 21:04
A friendly welcome awaits regulars and infrequent visitors alike. The beer is very well kept and the Black Cat mild is a particular favourite of mine. Well worth a visit for the evening with the food menu to tempt you to stay longer
Pewterman - 29 Jul 2009 18:18
Before I even entered the Rose and Crown I had a good feeling about the place and I wasn’t disappointed. From the flint fronted exterior onwards, almost everything proved a delight.

There are two bars, at right angles to each other and a third room that houses a pool table (not locked on our visit, as mentioned below). The front room is narrow, low-ceilinged and almost completely wood lined, in pine cladding. (Hmm.Not sure about that). A nice touch is the large collection of photos lining the walls, depicting village life. There’s a dartboard, a couple of fruit machines and an overhead TV. The second bar is a plainer, white-walled affair, but features a large collection of horse brasses.

There were five real ales on our visit: Larkins ‘Traditional’, Whitstable ‘East India Pale Ale’ as the regular beers. Also, Moorhouse’s ‘Black Cat’ seems to be the (semi) permanent dark beer. The two guests were Cottage ‘SS Great Britain’ and Sharp’s ‘Special Ale’. The Larkins and Whitstable were in tip top form and served at just the right temperature. I was impressed how the ‘Traditional’ punched above its weight flavour wise. With the Cottage I had a ‘is it me, or is it the beer?’ moment. On balance, I think it was a little tired.

As a rugby fan there was a great atmosphere when we called on Saturday afternoon. The second Lions test was being shown on TV and a lot of passionate support was being shown. I think it’s fair to say Halstead has one or two characters in the village!

Bar staff were friendly and welcoming. Several of the regulars ordered drinks from their tables, the landlord happy to bring them over, along with their change.

Outside, there is a pleasant beer garden to the rear, with a large sheltered area. The garden features a small play area for young children.

It’s been pointed out many times down the years, perhaps most famously by Orwell, that the perfect pub does not exist. However, as a quintessential village pub the Rose and Crown is up there with the best of them. Excellent.

aleandhearty - 2 Jul 2009 11:14
Following these reviews and the appearance in the Good Beer Guide I had to try it. Went in last night to eat and found the food finishes at 7pm. No problem we had 15 minutes to order. Had the scampi, prawn salad, a bacon baguette and a toasted bacon sandwich. Lots of prawns, the biggest toastie we've seen and large pieces of scampi at very reasonable prices. Had the Westerhams 7X. This beer is never seen outside Kent (not Essex anyway) and was absolutely superb. Coupled with the Sharps Doombar the whole experience was nothing short of excellent. Immediately situated opposite the primary school with dozens of pictures of the village from early last century. My only problem was trying to get back through the tunnel after 8.30 when the authorities create an artificial traffic jam by closing one of them off. Then a car broke down - GREAT!
My problem - we'll be back soon - it doesn't get better than this!
ButchEgg - 21 Jun 2009 12:06
I visited the Rose & Crown today, the first time for quite a few years. Six ales in total, the pick was the Newby Wyke Red Squall. The service was exceptional, the food was cheap home cooked and plentiful. The regulars were friendly.The pub comprises of three differing bars, the busy right hand bar with several tables, a middle bar for locals wishing to read and the Pool Bar. The pub was much cleaner than under the previous owners.sadly the weather was quite horrid and i could not venture into the well maintained garden , though I spied a few nice children's playground apparatus.A real village local festooned with posters for village events making this a pub that Prince Charles would see as a "hub" in other words clearly the focus of village life.In summation an object lesson in exactly how to run a pub and give drinkers exactly what THEY want.A 10/10 seems a little mean.
slerpy - 13 May 2009 18:02
Came across the pub by accident with the missus....serendipity indeed..little more needs to be added to previous comments..yes I had the fresh haddock...and boy was it good... plenty of ale choice, of course, but most importantly for a local was that we felt welcome.

I have a good idea 'tho...why not expand the kitchen...turn it into a Thai restaurant...add a conservatory, some old books and "arty"facts and then be surprised when it goes the same way as so many other locals which did no more than offer exactly what the R&C does so well!

Looking forward to Bob's "famous" sunday lunch...a.s.a.p. Cheers! BQ 8.8
Insearchofthebestpint - 12 Mar 2009 13:30
What a great pub. I took my father in law there for his birthday for a meal. We had fish and chips fresh from Grimsby, excellent!!! The landlord is extremely friendly and advised us on what real ales were worth a try. I tried a pint of East Street from Devon and I can honestly say it was probably one of the best beers I have ever had all bar one pint of Adnams I had many years ago, straight from the wood from a pub on the Norfolk Broads. I was so impressed with the Rose and Crown that I took a mate along the following week and enjoyed a few more ales. I only wish I lived a bit closer as it's hard to get to by public transport. I definately will be using this pub more in the future and I really want to try the sunday roasts. Well done to the Rose and Crown.
beeronme - 13 Nov 2008 18:50
This is my favorite pub in this area, unfortunately its 7 miles from my house in Petts Wood, so I cycle, walk, train or pop in on my way back from the M25. Larkins (unbelievable taste for a 3.4). & Whitstable IPA are always on tap and its hard to leave them alone, but there’s also well kept brilliant guest ales and most importantly for me the front bar is separate and food free, occasionally there’s the odd local with a B.O. problem (tell him about Lifebuoy guys), but apart from that, this pub is just about as good as it gets.
beerandpaperman - 4 Jun 2008 19:36
Larkins Traditional, Whitstable Ipa, Goachers Mild, Cottage Whippet Strikes Back, Cottleigh Barn Owl. Main bar area gives quite a prominent position to the dartboard (they have 2 teams), the walls are completely covered in old photos and this deflects attention from quite a basic room. Continue round to larger rt-hd bar of similar design, a long room leading to beer garden with picnic sets. There is a separate pool room opposite entrance, kept locked – key behind bar on request, pretty good for a private group, it has its own tv & darts but no direct access to bar and was noticeably adjacent to gents. Food mains were £6-£7.50, various ‘big baps’ £5-6, add £1.50 with chips, but Sun lunch seems to be the main event – book early for your mini/midi/maxi portion, I heard people often struggle with the midi, so you’ll need to be a true trencherman to go for the big one. Quiet Thurs lunch, but locals friendly enough. Apparently, after 2 years as runner-up, the pub has just become West Kent Camra POTY.
trainman - 29 Feb 2008 19:44
A wonderful community pub with welcoming atmosphere. Excellent quality beers featuring Kentish beers as regulars as well as a range of guests. Don't leave without sampling the range of food but don’t forget you will need to book for the Sunday lunches.
MaidstoneCamraMember - 15 Feb 2008 10:15
Went back today with friends for the 'infamous' Sunday Lunch. The Maxi is ENORMOUS ! Proper home cooked food and lots of it. Plenty of different vegetables and superb meat (Beef or Pork) which the Landlady explained was sourced from a local 'old fashioned' butcher. Tasted Great! Atmosphere was warm and welcoming. Staff were friendly and helpful. We will definitely be returning and telling our friends!
theciderdrinker - 11 Feb 2008 01:19
Now this is what a pub should be! Guest bitters on a blackboard over bar and samples offered before you buy. 'Black Ice' and 'Thin Ice' plus an excellent offering from Westerham, there were six! No suprise its held in such esteem by Camra. Friendly welcome from staff and they certainly know how to look after their beer. A cosy village pub, old fashioned in a good way. Locals seem friendly. Fabulous collection of local photographs. Almost worth moving home for!

anne.e.d. - 8 Feb 2008 19:44
Wonderful selection of real ales available - including a Mild ! Titanic Black Ice at the moment.
Nice to see local ales like Larkins available. Food is good - not fancy but fresh and well prepared. Looking forward to using the garden on lazy summer days !
theciderdrinker - 7 Feb 2008 16:52
Hadn't been in for some time. Such a pleasure to find a pub that hasn't 'modernised'. Just as I remembered it. Two bars and lots of local photographs. A really friendly place and the welcome I felt was genuine. Visited on a Sunday and had an honest to goodness Sunday roast - as much as I could eat and good value too!
I'd highly recommend it to anyone. - 7 Feb 2008 16:17
visited this place three times very good would recommend burgers and sunday roast.staff and landlord very friendly and attentive.
baldyone - 12 Nov 2007 12:29
In my top 5 pubs. Perfect use of 5 hand pumps - a mild, 2 totally outstanding house beers (Whitstable IPA and Larkins) and 2 quality guests. Sunday lunch is as good as advertised (high quality meat with generous variety of vegetables).
spoinge - 21 Sep 2007 15:55
A fine community pub catering for all tastes. Good mix of clientele and it is particularly nice to find a pub with two separate bars - a real rarity these days. Very friendly staff and both the real ales and the food were in top form. Cask Mild was available and that's even rarer than finding a pub with more than one bar!

Well deserving of its entry in the Good Beer Guide.
coulsdoncrawler - 12 Mar 2007 00:10
A pub I return to. Great range of beers. Staff are warm & welcoming. Certainly a locals pub, but a good atmosphere and I never feel excluded from the company.
Food always looks good and I note that the locals eat there too! - 10 Jan 2007 14:13
Admirably, the landlord is currently trialling stocking a Mild at all times. He has vowed to have a Mild on one of the guest pumps until the end of December then look at how well it’s sold. So be sure to go and drink it! Delicious Moorhouse Black Cat on today.

Also, the filled rolls they serve at lunchtime are huge & start at £2.

young_camra_collectiv - 30 Nov 2006 23:53
Visited 18 Aug 06. Definately a locals pub, but in a jolly way. The landlord was very welcoming and helpful. There was a range of 5 real ales. We had Whitstable Bay East India Pale Ale and Hopback Summer Lightning. Both were in excellent condition.

The front bar is small, but the side bar offers plenty of seating. Overall a happy atmosphere.
cackgsy - 19 Aug 2006 09:20
Went there for one of the infamous Sunday lunches. The service was great and very personable. We were presented with a choice of rib of beef, topside and rolled fillet of pork. Went for the large rib, which arrived along with roast spuds, yorkies, swede and carrot mash, cauliflower cheese, boiled sputs, parsnips, cabbage and carrots. Could barely walk afterwards. Great meal, extensive range of beers and a friendly establishment with no pretension.
ndeezy - 13 Aug 2006 15:57
Beer fine, food reasonable.
Food service diabolical, excuses lame and sarcastic.
Also one of our group ruined a pair of trousers on a nail sticking out of his stool.
None of us will ever go there again.
TheWarlock - 10 Jun 2006 19:49
Quaint, traditional 2-roomed pub well situated in an unspoilt village just off the Orpington Bypass. The front bar is for the locals, complete with dartboard & jukebox stuffed with classics. The rear saloon bar is more comfortable for first-time visitors, with separate bar, comfy cushioned benches & tables & access to the modestly sized garden.

The garden has pleasant views of the surrounding greenery with a slide & climbing frame for the kids, benches both in the open & under a canopy with what we believed to be a brick barbeque. The only downside is the large trees that stand to the West, blocking out the sun in the late afternoon/evening & the design layout is a little questionable.

The home-cooked food we had carefully prepared for us was excellent. The ale-battered haddock fresh from Grimsby was just orgasmic & at £7.50 would recommend it to anyone! Next stop is for the infamous Maxi Sunday Lunch.

The beer, however, is the real trump card. The locally-produced Larkins Traditional & Whitstable East India Pale Ale are ever-presents with 3 more lesser-spotted guest ales completing the range. The friendly & attentive bar staff encourage you to try a taster before committing to your selection.

Even as younger customers, we found the service from the moment we entered to the moment we left to be welcoming, professional & wonderfully personable to such an extent that you genuinely leave the place with a smile on your face & planning your next visit.

Congratulations to Bob & Joy for maintaining such a fine model of a traditional, rural English free house. 10
young_camra_collectiv - 28 May 2006 11:41
Discovered this little gem just recently. Have not tried the grub but it looks great. There is a first class choice of real ales, when we visited there were five on at the same time so I was spoilt for choice. Go and visit this pub because you will not be disappointed as the atmosphere is brilliant.
paulbeckett - 3 May 2006 13:36
Their Sunday roast is the best in the area, available in two sizes - standard (for the average appetite) and premier (enough to satisfy you for the rest of the day). And the beer range, as ever, is superb. As per other reviewers - except the Whitstable brewery India Pale Ale also seems to be a regular. This Kent pub is hard to beat.
GrahamH - 22 Jan 2006 21:40
One of the best real ale pubs in Kent. A large range of properly served and stored ales, always with new guest beers being added. The permanent ales include Larkins Best, Westerham Brewery BB. One to visit before you die. I can't understand the previous reviewer's comments about the lack of food. There's a wide variety of food on offer, and very well done it is too. Excellent beer, food, prices, and the beer garden is lovely in the summer.
norgor - 26 Nov 2005 09:56
A typical country pub with a large, constantly changing range of real ales.Landlords very knowledgeable and always willing to discuss the ales sold.
Small demerit is the limited rage of food on offer.

theplough - 16 Jun 2005 20:15

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