MAXINE GORDON heads to the Rose & Crown in York

COSY pubs come into their own at this time of year.

In summer, you want a beer garden, a pint of shandy and a round of sandwiches and a bowl of chips.

But as the nights draw in and the temperature dips, you want to move indoors. An open fire, a dark, inviting corner to nestle with your favourite drink and some hearty, home-made food is just what the doctor ordered to stave off the post-summer blues.

We found just the place in the Rose & Crown, in Lawrence Street. This grade-two listed Tetley heritage site is as good an English pub as you will find. The interior is all dark wood, with partitions and separate rooms designed to suit your need. If you are feeling sociable and want to watch sport, then make a beeline for the bar. Want to chat to a friend over a pint or two? Then make for the front snug. Hungry? Then head into the back dining room, where table service is offered in the evenings and all day on Sunday.

We arrived around 7pm last Sunday. It was just turning dark and there was an autumnal chill in the air. We immediately felt warm as we crossed the threshold and ordered a drink at the bar – a pint of Doom Bar (£3.50) for my husband and a gin and tonic for me (£4.85).

We picked a corner table in the large dining room behind the bar, which was already about half full. There were old black and white pictures of Walmgate Bar on the wall, which added to the sense of time standing still.

But there was nothing old fashioned and stuffy about the Rose & Crown's menu. Sure, there were the usual pub grub classics of homemade pies, burgers, gammon steak, and fish and chips, but plenty to appease the modern palate too: confit duck leg with beetroot and potato dauphinoise; seafood tagliatelle, Korean BBQ short rib of beef with stir fried veg and noodles and and a homemade katsu curry. Prices for mains range from £9.45 to £13.95.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We decided to snack on a starter as we nursed our drinks and chose the homemade duck spring rolls (£5.45). These were piping hot (be careful, my hubby burned his lip and had to pinch some ice from my G&T to cool it down!). They were very tasty; the light, filo pasty, golden and crisp and packed full of shreds of tender duck meat, strips of carrot and beansprouts, accompanied by a sweet and salty chilli and soy dip.

A good start.

Our main courses were impressive too, particularly the chicken goujons of my katsu curry (£11.95). This is a mild-tasting Japanese curry (and one my daughter always orders at Wagamama). The sauce is a mustard yellow colour, but that is deceptive: it's neither hot, nor spicy but as mild as an Indian korma. I would have liked a bit more depth of flavour and a bit more of a kick, but it was a small complaint because the chicken was top-notch. Coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, this gave the chicken pieces a welcome crunch, and helped keep the meat lovely and tender during cooking. Digging deep into the bowl of curry, I was pleased to discover a treasure trove of vegetables, all thinly sliced and thoroughly cooked as if in a casserole. There was plenty of basmati rice on the side to soak up all the sauce.

My husband picked the chicken, cheddar, leek and ham pie (£11.75) – one of several home-made pies from the R&C kitchen. All come with mushy peas and "hand-cut chips". We were expecting the pie to be the star, but those chips stole the show. They were the size of shortbread fingers and piled on the plate like a Jenga tower. They were soft and fluffy inside, and when dipped into the thick, dark, salty gravy, were a pleasure indeed. The pie was good, particularly the shortcrust pastry that was thick and crumbly in equal measure. The filling was decent as well, but Nick thought the chicken slightly overdone compared to the perfect variety in the katsu dish.

Main courses are filling, but for reviewing purposes we shared a pudding. And we were glad we did. It was a toss-up between the R&C Bakewell tart or its chocolate brownie. We chose the latter and, with a spoon a piece, dug into the dark and squidgy dessert, mopping it up with the lovely topping of vanilla ice-cream from Yorvale and a warm, milk chocolate sauce. Yum!

Our bill, including two drinks each, was £49.10, of which £34.10 was spent on food. And good food at that. We will be back.

Rose & Crown

13 Lawrence Street, York, YO10 3BP

T: 01904 659393


Food: Tasty 4/5

Ambience: Cosy 4/5

Service: Good 4/5

Value: Decent 4/5

All reviews are independent and paid for by The Press