The Crown and Shuttle
So I’m back in the world of the living and extremely pleased to be writing about food again, what better way to celebrate than a pint and a bite in a fantastic new pub. ‘The Crown and Shuttle’ is a vibrant addition to the grim and trashy stalwarts of Shoreditch High Street. The beautifully aged building was erected in 1885 and has witnessed a plethora of history evolve in and around it. Sadly it has sat melancholic, lonely and miserable behind its faded border facades for quite some time. It’s entirely possible that operating as a notorious strip club up until 2001 had pole danced this venue to an early grave. However as a phoenix, and Jesus also, rose from the ashes, April 2013 saw the birth of an exciting new watering hole. Where the focus was on delicious food, a refreshing thirst quencher, and not a 50p hooker in sight.
The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed, all factors contributing to the great vibe here. The staff are friendly and smiley, not so common in this part of town; the bar is quirky but subtle, and the garden space out back is particularly accommodating. It’s quite glorious really, mismatched furniture, decking, wood floors, exposed brick, good attention to detail, all with the classic stamp of “not trying too hard” (associated with all things East London).
Drinks wise there is plenty to wet your whistle, craft beers, local cask ales, a decent wine list, but let’s not forget I came here to eat first and foremost. The menu confused me to be honest, it had a small selection of classic and interesting starters but then no main dishes. Instead you have a choice between a homemade wheat beer and poppy seed flat bread, filled with an array of exciting, fresh and seasonal produce, or a few options of innovative and unusual burgers. At first I was quite opposed to this idea but it must be said that I came around rather quickly. I love complex creations in the kitchen but there is much to be said for simplicity. Too many places over complicate their menus and it can often lead to disaster, you’re far better off taking a few strong options and executing them to perfection. The kitchen at The Crown and Shuttle is a perfect example of how to do this the right way.
I was recommended to try one of the filled flat breads, so I went for a cider and thyme Cotswold chicken, with merguez, a herby yoghurt and various vegetables. My god was it delicious. A huge portion, bursting with fresh ingredients, perfectly seasoned, balanced, and moreish. It was packed with flavour, you could taste every aspect of the contents; the chicken was moist and delicate, the punchy merguez sausage supplied a huge hit of depth, the cool, sharp, yoghurt dressing cut right through the richness and the crunch of the veg off set the texture beautifully. It was simply harmonious, a stellar example of intelligent and fantastic cooking, showcased in something as simple as a sandwich.
I’d liked to have tried all the options to be honest, however neither my stomach size or my bank balance equate to the magnitude of my greed. I did have a bite of my friend’s smoked duck, crispy leg and jam concoction though, and it was sweet, sticky and quite delicious also. The fries here are tasty too, coming with various seasoning options, a clever little idea, not unseen before but still a nice touch. We had the Worcester Sauce and chilli seasoning, I loved them, spicy, slightly sticky, subtle hits of flavour and still crisp and fluffy, winners all round here.
I’m starting to wonder why I’m singing this pub’s praises so much. Maybe it’s because I was in the company of two of my favourite people, whom I rarely get to see, or maybe because I haven’t eaten out in weeks? Nah, it’s not either, it’s just damn good. Few places can claim to be as bold and original to serve only two options on their menu, and cook them out of a polished steel truck in the back yard. Well I’ll tell you what, The Crown and Shuttle has come into the pub game as a new player, they’ve stepped up to the plate, and frankly, they’ve smashed it out of the park.
The Crown and Shuttle
226 Shoreditch High Street
London E1 6PJ
+4420 7375 2905