Today we are welcoming guest author Rebecca Dolan with a dining review of the Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room. Read on…
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When it comes to Epcot’s Rose & Crown, the mantra should be “come for the fireworks, stay for the food.” Sure the menu of British comfort classics has always been on point, but the real draw here has to be the restaurant’s back patio, which offers one of the best fireworks views on the shores of the World Showcase Lagoon.
This combination of no-frills British food and fireworks made Rose & Crown both one of my mother’s favorite Disney spots, and the bane of the Epcot trips of my youth. (Ugh, do we have to watch the fireworks again? I want to eat in Morocco!) But, Rose & Crown and I have come a long way over the past years. And, I now fully support adding it to a Disney dining itinerary.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about Rose & Crown is that it isn’t built in just one architectural style. Instead, the building is a mash-up of three different, popular pub styles.
The main entrance leads into a full-service pub where you can belly up to the bar for traditional beers, ciders, and scotches from the UK. A handful of tables provide a much-needed respite from the afternoon sun.
Outside the pub entrance, to the left, is the check in booth for the dining room. Seating is either on the outdoor patio overlooking the lagoon, or inside the main dining room. Try your best to score an outdoor table if you can (back patio is better than side patio) for the fireworks view.
This will likely prove to be a difficult endeavor, however. After close to three decades of dining here, this trip was the first time our family was actually seated outside.
Now, don’t let that get you discouraged! Even if you can’t get the coveted front row seats, those eating inside are allowed to pop out back during the show to get a good look.
Still worth it.
The patio doesn’t offer much in the way of atmosphere. Inside is simple, too, though it feels like what you probably think an old-school English dining room looks like: lots of dark wood, a molded ceiling, brass chandeliers, antique china, and photos on the wall.
The menu features a mix of British classics and more continental fare.
The list of wine, beers, and spirits is fairly lengthy. My favorite section is “pub blends,” where I began my dinner with a Cider and Black (hard cider with black currant juice) in a souvenir glass.
This drink is definitely one of the silent-but-deadly types. It basically tasted like drinking a refreshing fruity soda, so I can imagine plenty of people going through a few of these without knowing what hit them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The soup of the day on our visit was a summer tomato. But as the temperature was hovering close to sweltering, we passed on the hot soup and zeroed in on the cheese platter and Scotch egg for apps.
The Cheese Plate -– a perennial winner -– consisted of Irish Cashel blue with walnuts and Craisins, Irish cheddar with onion jam, and English Cotswold chive with cornichons. All were great; I couldn’t pick a favorite.
A pub grub staple, the deep-fried Scotch Egg, came surrounded by savory sausage with a watercress salad and a smear of mustard sauce. In all honesty, I could have made a salad out of a big helping of that watercress with the egg on top and been an incredibly happy camper. But, we had plenty more coming our way.
For entrees we ordered fish and chips, vegetable pie ‘n’ mash, and roasted rack pork. We supplemented this with sides of Yorkshire pudding, mushy peas, and bubble and squeak (mashed potatoes with cabbage).
The fish had a lovely, crispy batter that was neither too heavy nor too greasy, and the chips were also nicely crisped. I suggest adding a few dashes of malt vinegar to make this dish even that much more authentic and delicious.
We had a slight hiccup with the pork, as my mom thought it might have been undercooked. (Though, we also just like to make sure our pork is really cooked thoroughly.) After bringing her concern to the server, the chef was out in a flash and wanted to make her a whole new plate. We aren’t ones to waste food so we just asked him to finish that piece on the grill.
When the plate returned, she still got a whole new presentation of potatoes, sauce and chutney with the original piece of meat on top. Guess they wanted to make sure it still looked pretty. Even after going back, the pork was tender and moist. The sides were good, though not noteworthy.
I tend to gravitate towards the vegetarian options, which are often less than substantial or are an underwhelming pasta dish. Not here: This was a large helping of a mixed vegetable stew (similar to chicken pot pie filling, minus the chicken) topped with a generous portion of mashed potatoes. These were then topped with cheese, because, why not?
This is definitely a veg dish worth going back for.
OK, so I’m not a huge mushy pea fan, so I wasn’t wowed. If you do like peas, go for it, since these definitely tasted fresh from the garden.
The puddings were light yet delightfully fatty, and the mashed potatoes were thick and creamy with not too much cabbage.
In all seriousness, though, the standout here was the gravy that went with the potatoes and puddings, which was unlike any gravy I’ve ever had stateside. It was rich, deeply herbal, and tangy all at the same time. Really. Try this stuff.
To wind down, we ordered the sticky toffee pudding and Jaffa tarts for dessert.
The sticky toffee pudding was really only big enough for one. And, you probably won’t want to share it anyway.
The Jaffa tarts were a bit of a letdown, as they honestly kind of tasted like Little Debbie cakes. The cake was nice and pillowy, but we found little trace of the orange cream they were supposed to be filled with. We voted that they weren’t worth the money or calories.
British food may not have the most exciting reputation. But, in my experience the food on offer at Rose & Crown has always arrived at the table hot, for the most part cooked perfectly, and the wait staff is amazingly friendly. These points weigh heavily with me, and are a big part of why I like to recommend this restaurant. There are plenty of Disney restaurants that can be spotty with their food and service. This is not one of them.
And, seriously y’all, that gravy…
Is Rose & Crown on your Disney dining rotation? Let us know your tips for securing a table on the patio! Chime in; we want to hear from you in the comments below!