The Old Crown is Birmingham pub royalty; it has been quenching the thirst of locals since 1368. And for good reason. The interior is cosy, packed with traditional features and corners to tuck into. Outside, a huge beer garden claimed by many to be the ‘best in Brum’, with an outdoor bar and a packed event schedule.
I was invited down as they have a brand new head chef and a brand new menu. I’ve had many a beer in The Old Crown but never eaten there, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
First impressions; I like that the menu fits on one page. After all, pubs are not restaurants and I’m of the opinion that keeping it simple and sticking to a few things done well is always best. On offer are burgers, sandwiches and pub classics and every item sounds well thought out and deserving of a place on the menu – no filler here.
I’m an avid meat eater but even I was tempted by some of the veggie options. The Green Goddess sandwich with feta, thyme flower honey, toasted pecan nuts, lettuce and goddess herb dressing sounds like summer in a sandwich and I’m also keen to try the Sweet Potato & Plantain curry with coconut rice, flatbread and mango.
Today however, meat won and we went for the OC Deli sandwich (cured meats, Manchego, mustard, blush tomato, pickle) and the Spaniard burger (beef patty, chorizo chilli sauce, Manchego).
A burger with chorizo and Manchego can never go far wrong, but the Spaniard went beyond my expectations. A liberal scoop of rich chorizo chilli was littered with generous chunks of chorizo, and there was enough Manchego for it to stand up amongst the bold flavours.
I would actually say it was up there with the best burgers I’ve had in Brum – and at £6.50 it’s cheap too! I’ll definitely be going back to Digbeth for another of these.
Onto the sandwiches, which come served in ciabatta. You can go for a single sandwich or order a half/full loaf for sharing; I think it’s an awesome idea. The OC Deli tasted as good as it looked with the ingredients in perfect proportion – the mustard coming through subtly rather than punching you in the face.
The Old Crown menu fully exceeded my expectations. It’s good, hearty pub food done very well at a good price. I’m pretty confident that whatever you chose from the menu, you would leave with a full belly and a happy face. Props to the new chef!
Article by Claire Tucker of @noshandbreksbhm for Grapevine Birmingham