Thursday, 20 June 2013


Essex has many things to commend it to the modern man: John Constable captured the sweep of the county’s landscape; more recently the social fabric of the area is brought to millions in the ITV programme ‘The Only Way Is Essex.  I was born in Essex sixty years ago and fifty-two years earlier the County was captured in Reginald Beckett’s travel 'guide' Romantic Essex published by J.M. Dent in 1901.

Now, Essex and those who might pass through, have another treat in store. The Old Crown pub in the village of Messing, only ten short minutes from the A12, has undergone a renaissance.

Last weekend I took the family for Sunday lunch and walked through the pub’s doors for the first time in about thirty-five years.

Under its brand new owners, locals Malcolm and Penny Campbell, there is an exciting menu for evenings and lunchtimes. A new wine list offers imaginative reds for which I vouch. Malcolm has installed a moreish range of ales from the fine Adnams brewery. Front-of-house manager Katie and her team gently marshal all of these delights.

We had a lovely time; Megan and Bronwen enjoyed the Sunday roast, lamb with crispy vegetables and superb roasties. Megan (the family foodie) when back ‘up’ the menu and ordered a starter when everyone else was happy with his or her deserts. The only low spot was my having to share my rib-eye steak sandwich. It was a generous sandwich however having to share! Sorry.

But the time we left the to regain the A12 home the place was full and happy. This great pub and restaurant is entering a new epoch

Essential Essex Resource Pack:

The Only Way Is Essex
Romantic Essex  - copies available through Abe Books

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim