/ The Orange County Guide
Orange County — By Abbie Mood on March 31, 2010 at 9:07 pm
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Review: Five Crowns and SideDoor in Corona del Mar

If you want to dine in a traditional British restaurant or pub, the Five Crowns and SideDoor are great choices to meet that need.  With 45 years of experience, the Five Crowns has fine tuned both it’s food and decor to give diners as authentic an experience as possible without actually being in the U.K.

We started at the Five Crowns restaurant, which is like walking into an Old World living room – burgundy, green, and tan carpeting with traditional wingback armchairs and antiques displayed on the shelves.

Our server, Mary, was very knowledgeable about both the restaurant and the food, and started us with some delicious bread – a mild sourdough and a sweet rye.  I don’t particularly like rye bread, but I definitely enjoyed this one.

For a starter, we chose the Pride of the Crowns salad ($8) and the English Garden salad ($7).  The Pride of the Crowns is an organic lettuce mix with walnuts, apple wood smoked bacon, and sourdough croutons topped with Gruyere and Asiago cheeses.  The bacon really blends in and compliments the salad instead of overwhelming the flavor of the salad as can happen with inartful preparation.  The English Garden salad puts a spin on the traditional Garden salad by adding crunchy pine nuts and topping it with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette.

It was difficult to decide which main course to choose, so with recommendations from Mary, we picked the Lawry’s Signature Rib Eye ($39) and Jumbo Coconut Shrimp and Dry Pack Scallops ($29).  Five Crowns is owned by the Lawry Steakhouse family, so we had high expectations for the Rib Eye dish.  It came with mixed vegetables, and smashed Russet potatoes.  The Rib Eye had a crunchy brown crust on the outside, and was cooked medium to medium rare on the inside.  It was perfectly cooked to order, for a tender and delicious taste.

English Garden salad

The Coconut Shrimp were unique in that they weren’t the traditional fried coconut shrimp but were cooked in a Thai coconut milk, in which it was also served.  The sauce was more savory than sweet with a slight kick.  The sauce also complimented the scallops, which had a very clean flavor due to being dry packed instead of injected with saline as most scallops are.

For a side, we ordered the English Stilcheddar Macaroni and Cheese ($7), a table side that was big enough for sharing for at least two people, maybe more.

After our meal, we headed over to the attached SideDoor Gastropub for dessert and drinks.  It was bustling, and decorated just as one would expect for a British pub — hard wood floors, wooden tables and accents, even a fireplace in the back.  While we were fairly dressed up for dinner, we were overdressed for the pub and its more casual atmosphere.

The SideDoor has only been open for a few months, but it seems to already be popular with the celeb-set, and it was rumored that we had just missed NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant.  The bar was full, although not unbearable crowded, so it seems that they are off to a great start.

Cucumber Apple Cider by the fireplace

We started with a couple drinks – a Cucumber Apple Cider ($12) and an Irish Knocker ($12).  The  Cucumber Apple Cider had Stoli vodka, apple liquer, Whyder pear cider, muddled cucumber, and agave nectar, for a very refreshing taste, a perfect summer drink.  The Irish Knocker was made from Guinness stout, Svedka vanilla vodka, and Creme de Cacao, making a deliciously chocolate and coffee flavored drink.  A tip – eat the candied orange slice at the end of the drink, after it soaks up all the flavor!

For dessert. we had the Figgy Pudding ($5) and the Chocolate Souffle.  I have never had figgy pudding before, but this was very tasty.  It was a dense bar with whole and partial fig pieces mixed in.  The chocolate souffle wasn’t too rich, and was topped with a berry cream sauce.  Made to order, it came out piping hot.

Iif you are looking to get some delicious drinks and an amazing steak, Five Crowns and SideDoor are the place to go!

The SideDoor is attached to the Five Crowns, which is located at 3801 East Coast Highway in Corona Del Mar (map). For more information or to make reservations, call (949) 760-0331.  Valet parking is available.

NOTE:  The meal was provided complimentary for the purposes of this review.

Photo Credits: Eric Lang

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