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Review Posted on Saturday, May 3, 2014
My next stop on the Epcot After Hours Wind Down tour is the UK Pavilion's Rose & Crown Pub. Much like my previous experiences with the After Hours events, just getting to see the Rose & Crown Pub empty at the end of Illuminations is an experience. Knowing that you're about to head into the pub to enjoy some libations... escaping the hectic dash of guests exiting the park, is an added bonus.
The Rose & Crown Pub is offering a beer flight containing four samples... Bass Ale, Guinness Stout, Harp Lager, and a Strongbow Cider. There is no "presentation" type of component to this Wind Down event (like there was at the La Cava event), but the servers at the Rose & Crown were very well versed in the beers being served in the flight, and the various pub blends that can also be purchased.
Soon after the beer flight place card and beers were placed on your table, a tapas-sized 3-part sample plate was delivered. Placed atop the quintessential UK newsprint food paper there is a Scotch Egg (which is hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage meat and golden fried), served with a few micro greens and mustard, two slices of Cotswolds Cheddar with onion jam and a bit of honey, and two cuts from a Pork and Apple Sausage Roll with House-made Piccalilli.
I have tried the Pork and Apple Sausage Roll with House-made Piccalilli that is being served in the Flower and Garden Festival's Buttercup Cottage booth on a couple different occasions. While this is the same exact dish, it seemed to be quite a bit better than the one being served in the booth.
The House-made Piccalilli at the R&C Pub event was not over-soaked in vinegar, and actually very enjoyable to eat... while the Pork and Apple Sausage Roll itself seemed fresher and not dried out (which seemed to be a problem with this dish at the outdoor kiosk). This must be what was intended for the Outdoor Kitchens booth, but doesn't translate to being batch-prepared. I'm really glad it's part of the after hours event food plate, and that I got to taste a version of the dish that lived up to it description. We've also heard that it "might" be making a more permanent appearance on a revamped Rose & Crown Pub menu in the near future! We'll be sure to let you know, just as soon as we know!
The Cotswolds Cheddar with onion jam paired well with the Strongbow Cider, a "beer" that I'm not really accustomed to drinking by itself. Perhaps a cheese plate is what Strongbow is made for. Finally, the Scotch Egg seems to be something that you either like, or don't like. Personally, it's one of my "must get" appetizers at the Rose & Crown, so I enjoyed it here very much as well. If you've never tried one, the flavors are very much like an egg and sausage breakfast sandwich... without the bread.
The environment may be one point of contention here, depending on what you're looking for, and what the night is going to give you. On the night I visited, there were 12 other guests, everyone had a seat at a table, and in keeping with the "wind down" theme, it did feel a bit like a 90 minute "last call" in the wee-morning hours. One was easily able to talk to everyone in their groups and to your adjoining table-neighbors quite easily. It's an environment that I enjoyed. In fact, had I not been driving home that evening, I might have added a Macallan 18 year-old Scotch to the tab.
However, we've seen a more rollicking, true "pub" atmosphere at the Rose & Crown, when the "hat lady" is playing a set on the piano (she's not present at these wind-down events, so the piano is covered and quiet), and guests are in a boisterous, meet-and-greet, walk around mode, and everyone has a beer. If that is what you are looking for, this might not be the event for you.
While the After Hours event at the R&C Pub is capped at 50 guests, I've only seen 10-20 present on the nights that I've passed by. My guess is, your experience will vary depending on how many people are in attendance on any given night. More guests and you'd get a "pub-like" atmosphere... fewer guests, and you'd get a more contemplative, wind-down atmosphere. The only way to tell though, is to walk by on the night you'd like to go and see how many people are lined up.
From a value standpoint, if you were to try and price out the individual items, they come out to around $25 (the three food items, three beers, and one Strongbow are not offered in that combination on the pub menu, so you have to do a bit of creative math there)... which is in-line with what the other venues in the series are offering. Determining if the extra $10 to gain access to the the 90 minute event is worth it... is going to be a personal decision. If I were passing by on my way out of the park and saw that it wasn't too crowded, I would definitely stop by again. It was a great, air-conditioned way to wind down the day, with some good brews, and great food.