"Wednesday nights as busy as Fridays are the norm at this modern Fitzrovia pub"Review Rating: Reviewed by T.A.O
Walking through Fitzrovia at 7pm on a weeknight is a strange experience. Devoid of people, you think the crowds of media workers, shoppers and tourists must all be hiding somewhere. And then you walk into the Crown and Sceptre and there they all are, creating a wall of general hubbub that is a struggle to wade through. Still, we’ll take loud and bustling over empty and dead any day of the week, especially when it makes a mid-week Wednesday feel like a Friday night.
The Crown and Sceptre describes itself as “One of the best pubs in Fitzrovia” and after our visit we’d tend to agree, which is high praise given that the area north of Oxford Street is filled with quaint little boozers. Not that there is anything quaint about The Crown and Sceptre. Located on Great Titchfield Street, it has all the marks of a modern city pub. Craft beers can be found behind the bar, the food menu offers a valid attempt at upgrading the usual pub grub and the people inside it are all of a very particular after work demographic. A mix of high tables, low slung armchairs, handsome wood, decorative dangling chandeliers and just the one large, artistic iron clock contribute to the look of a pub that takes its décor seriously.
Sitting down in those slouching armchairs in front of an open fireplace we peruse the menu. We start with fried squid and lime mayonnaise and beetroot and beef brisket hash. Unfortunately, the quid isn’t up to much, with flat flavours and a lack of bite to the batter. The beetroot and brisket hash is a huge improvement. Large hunks of potato and beetroot covered in shredded beef and topped with a fried egg. Delicious – and so big you could almost order it as a main. But we don’t. What we do order from a menu that includes bacon cheeseburgers, ham hock pies, fish and chips and gnocchi is the fried chicken and the pork and chorizo burger. Both meals go down well, the portions more than big enough (especially after starters). Fans of fried chicken might find the skin a little on the moist side, but we can’t complain about the flavour of the rub. The pork and chorizo burger is a welcome change from the usual beef and the sweet pork and spicy umami of the chorizo combine well. Be warned, however, neither of these meals is recommended if you have a problem ending your meal with hands as messy as your plate.
We drink Brooklyn Lager, which is part of a wider range of craft and imported beers that also includes Meantime Brewery brews. On top of that there are real ales and a concise wine list.
The Crown and Sceptre is a lively Fitzrovia pub that has a good range of drinks, solid food and a surprisingly good taste in the music it plays to contend with the frequency of a crowd who have obviously heard that it is “one of the best pubs in Fitzrovia”.
T.A.O reviewed Crown & Sceptre on Fri 28 Mar 2014