Crown Inn Roecliffe – one to avoid

Enroute back to London from the North East, we’d arranged to meet my parents for a Sunday roast at The Crown Inn, Roecliffe, a country inn in North Yorkshire dating back to the sixteenth century.

It always used to have a good reputation but it’s almost ten years since we last went (it wasn’t cheap but the food and wines were excellent back then).

But it’s changed hands since then.


Crown Inn at Roecliffe – a 16th century inn (surfing on its past reputation?)

Empty dining room – 1pm on a Sunday lunchtime

There are loads of quaint country pubs serving really good Sunday roasts in the Harrogate district so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that The Crown Inn’s dining room was quiet at 1pm on this particular Sunday. Still, the dining room was a taxidermist’s dream and the stuffed cats, stags and other dead artifacts kept us company while we read the menu.

Appealing Sunday menu board

The specials menu board (pictured above) looked appealing, as did the Sunday lunch menu for 1st June 2014, priced at two courses for £17.95 or three courses for £19.95.

Stuffed cat by my feet


Stag’s head overlooking our table – I’m watching you…

The starters were good enough so our expectations remained high. Among our party of four we had, in size order:


Wild mushroom ravioli – four parcels with fresh basil pesto, pine nuts + parmesan

Prawn cocktail – with Marie Rose sauce, lemons + baby gem plus rocket


Warm salad of sauteed chicken livers – with bacon + black pudding

Crisp belly pork – with sweet lime soy + Asian vegetables

The starters tasted well enough but were of disproportionate sizes. My 6′ 2″ husband had the ravioli (four parcels) which didn’t go anywhere near curbing his appetite, while I had the crisp belly pork with Asian vegetables which – for me – was a main course portion.

For main course, we all opted for a Sunday roast (either lamb or beef) with Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes and vegetables – the beef was incredibly gristly and inedible. It seemed odd that we’d been given regular knives to cut this tough beef rather than steak knives.

IMG_9366_tough gristly beef
Sunday roast – gristly, inedible beef

There was no way of cutting through that cartilage with regular knives – it made eating more tiring than it ought to be! Not that we wanted to eat the cartilage anyway so a good chunk of the meat got left, and those who’d only had a tiny starter remained hungry.

IMG_9365_shards of broken pottery in sauce
Sharp shards of smashed pottery in the horseradish – K nearly swallowed some + cut his mouth to shreds in the process

Worse still, there had seemingly been an accident in the kitchen as sharp pieces of shattered pottery were buried in the horseradish. K nearly swallowed some shards in a mouthful of horseradish and beef, and cut his mouth to bits in the process.

We mentioned this to the young waiter who seemed to find it a ‘sauce’ (doh! gettit) of amusement. We weren’t going to make a big deal out of the fact that my husband sliced his mouth open on shards of pottery in the horseradish (although he was clearly bleeding) as accidents can happen.

But what was more disturbing was the blasé way in which this incident was treated. The staff showed absolutely no care at any point during our meal. So maybe we were unlucky. Maybe this was a one off. I suspect not but either way, I won’t be returning to The Crown Inn Roecliffe and I won’t be recommending it to anyone else either. But hey, this is LardButty telling it how it really is.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 1.5 / 5
~ Type: pub, British
~ Address: Roecliffe, North Yorkshire
~ Postcode: YO51 9LY
~ Website + menus: Crown Inn website
~ Photos on flickr: images of the Crown Inn food

More North Yorkshire dining:
~ Storm at The Dower House – Knaresborough
~ Sukhothai – Harrogate, top Thai in Yorkshire