“ Address: 13 Cross Road / Woodford Green IG8 8BN / Essex „
THE CROWN AND CROOKED BILLET EXTERIOR Since I've lived near The Crown and Crooked Billet pub I've always thought that it looks inviting from the outside with its traditional façade and with its wooden benches, table and parasols placed outside. It is situated on a slip road just off of a fairly busy main road. The pub looks good when seen from the main road, when driving or walking past. If I'm visiting the pub in the warmer months then I like to sit at an outside table at the front of the pub. From here the view is good and I always find myself thinking back to some years ago when the area would have been a country village. It's easy to imagine bygone days from this area of the pub as here there is a close and a wonderful view of the village green with the focal point of the beautiful old church of St Paul's upon it. There's the pond with willow trees and ducks a plenty enjoying the area. It's a green enjoyed, I would imagine, by many living in a residential area which still has signs in which to remember the past. To the side of the pub are a further seating area and another entrance. Along from this is an entrance to the garden. I have been in the pub occasionally over many years to eat and more often to have one or two drink s mostly during the summer, often on a Sunday afternoon. I must say that I have never been impressed with the menu here or the quality of the food but recently the pub has changed its licensees and the new people seem to be making an effort to bring standards up. I hope they do; we don't have many pubs left in this area and need to keep open the few that remain. I prefer to visit the pub for a drink before going out for a meal or just for a drink when I can sit in the sunshine and watch the world go by. I love its location as it just seems to make me feel good. BEER GARDEN The garden is quite large but there could be so much more done to it. Wooden picnic style benches and tables are placed around on the grass which is often in need of mowing. It isn't pretty but then again it can be nice if the weather ids pleasant. But as I have already said, I prefer to sit outside at the front of the pub. If I had children with me then the garden would be appreciated. Before my youngest daughter reached eighteen my husband and I would occasionally collect her from school on a hot summers afternoon (when was that I hear you ask!) and sit in the garden with her while she consumed a large slice of chocolate fudge cake and a cola while we had a cold drink. SMOKING I'm not a smoker and neither is my husband but one can't help noticing the outside area which has been dedicated to smokers. Umbrellas, heaters and tables for customers to use while they smoke are set up in the garden away from the grassed area. INTERIOR This pub is traditionally decorated and is in keeping with a village pub. This, in my opinion is its main selling point. But then also there are few pubs in the area which makes remaining trouble-free pubs popular. The pub can be accessed from its garden, side and front. Inside is the main pub and bar area which can be entered from the front or side. In this area are tables and chairs, and also some stools around the bar. One end of this area leads to a smaller bar with a fruit machine, pool table and toilets. The other end of the main bar leads to a conservatory area where there are more tables and this makes a pleasant dining area, although at times traditional pub games take place in here and tables to dine at are limited. However, meals can be eaten in the pub area and in the garden and other outside areas. The garden can be reached from the conservatory or a side entrance. MENU I last ate a light lunch here a few weeks ago and the meal was quite nice but then our choices were a jacket potato with tuna and mayonnaise for me and a beef burger with chips for my husband. I can't remember the cost of the individual items (although nothing on the menu is at all expensive) but do remember us saying that we had a drink each and lunch yet we still managed to spend under fifteen pounds. But I wouldn't recommend this pub for its food yet but I will be looking to see if the standard improves, now that the management has changed. The menu at The Crown and Crooked Billet is a typical pub menu with food being on the plainer side and I would say that prices are cheap, even without partaking of offers. Various offers/deals such as a meal and a drink means not much money has to be spent to go out for lunch or dinner. Starters, mains, snacks and desserts are all available. There are various choices on the menu for less than five pounds for a meal and a few priced at a little more. However, there is little choice for vegetarians. For main meals there is a fajita wrap with peppers, courgettes and the usual, a lasagne and light bites such as jacket potatoes with fillings such as cheese, or beans and baguettes with chesses and salad fillings. There is a Sunday vegetarian nut roast but if they have run out of this (which has often happened) then there is not much else to choose from. Not so bad for me as I will eat the battered fish and chips. For meat eaters the menu is typically a pub one with burgers, mixed grill or sausage and mash on offer. I don't often have dessert but my youngest daughter and my future daughter-in-law both have a sweet tooth and enjoy the desserts here. I always think they look superior to the main meals. DRINKS Brands of beer seem to change quite often in this pub. They did serve Bombardier and Spitfire and always seem to have Carling and Foster's lager and John Smiths bitter. All types of wine (red, white, rose and sparkling) mostly from the cheaper ranges are served, as are all spirits and soft drinks that you would expect to be able to order from a public house. FACILITIES Facilities in The Crown and Crooked Billet include: Sky sports shown on plasma screens Pool table Fruit machines/quiz machine Beer Garden Outdoor smoking area All day food menu EVENTS Events are held at The Crooke Billet Pub such as quiz nights and poker nights. I have been to a quiz night. Cash prizes are given but the system of winning a cash prize depended on luck with numbers rather than getting questions right. We won some vouchers for free meals but certain restrictions applied such as times they could be taken and weekends weren't included so we didn't get to use these. MACHINES The pub has a couple of fruit machines which I don't play, although the men in my family are partial to having a go on these and feeding them. There is also a quiz machine which I do play. TOILETS There are two sets of both gents and ladies toilets in this pub. One set foo of the pool bar and a further facility for gents off of the main bar and for ladies leading from the conservatory area. I feel that the ladies toilets could definitely do with modernising and decorating and would expect that the same would be true of the men's, but I haven't been inside them. DISABLED ACCESS Access is good as the pub can be entered from level ground but the toilets are not adapted. BREWERY The Crown and Crooked Billet now belongs to the chain, Stonegate Pub Company DOGS Well behaved dogs are allowed in this pub, which is handy for local dog owners as it is located near to parkland and wooded areas popular for exercising dogs and their owners. I personally don't take my dog into pubs as I'm not confident he would behave himself. I think he would probably get barred, or he would have me barred! LOCATION The pub is in an area that, although not countrified, still has many green areas and, I consider, still has some charm and history. It is just into Woodford in Essex, although close to Chigwell, also in Essex, in an area known as Woodford Bridge. Close by is Manor Road with houses that have garages the size of the downstairs of my living room. But I don't think the clientele of the pub are from our local Millionaire's Row. Tel: 0208 5029192 Address: Crown & Crooked Billet, 13 Cross Road, Woodford Green, Essex IG8 8BN Opening Hours Sun - Wed 11am -11pm Thurs - Sat 11am - midnight. GETTING THERE Buses serve the area well and stop very close to the Crown and Crooked billet, coming from neighbouring areas of Ilford, Woodford Green, Hainault, Clayhall and Chigwell. It's also only a walk away from Woodford central line station. Easy by taxi or, indeed, one's own car as there is a good sized car park available free to patrons of the pub. Several customers walk here from nearby and some from further afield when walking their dogs. OVERALL I wouldn't be too happy to recommend this pub to others and certainly not if wanting a good meal but I still admit to quite liking it myself. But I visit this pub mainly to have a drink or two with my husband occasionally and sometimes with our grown up children. There's often some quite blue language to be heard from the regulars but I haven't seen or heard any fighting or arguing, although I wouldn't be drinking here on a Saturday or Friday evening when trouble seems more likely to be found. Something that I like about the pub is the fact that its customers range in age from a few over eighteens to all age groups really. This means that no-one in my family would feel out of place in here in this respect.