IT IS possible that heading out for a meal during the second weekend of January is not the fairest test of a restaurant’s atmosphere.

Customers on new health regimes or waiting patiently for January’s payday could both explain why The Crown Inn at Giddeahall was so quiet.

Nonetheless, my girlfriend and I were warmly welcomed by the waitress behind the bar upon entering a pub which is now much brighter than I remember from my previous visits many years ago.

We ordered drinks, were handed menus and directed to a table in the middle of the three dining sections, all of which were extremely quiet.

We ordered some bread to share as a starter and were both amazed at the amount that soon arrived at our table – it would comfortably have fed four.

The bread was fresh and there was good variety, but maybe a slightly smaller plate would have been more sensible (and I rarely, if ever, think portions are too large).

After working our way through the mountain of bread, our mains were equally speedy to arrive.

I had ordered steak and ale pie which came with plenty of meat and lots of mushrooms, even if the pastry on top wasn’t especially crispy.

The chips were good though and I was brought an extra jug of gravy to accompany my food without even asking.

My girlfriend chose the goat’s cheese and caramelised red onion tartlet which wasn’t spectacular due, in the main, to the dry pastry. She did however compliment the chips and the pub’s atmosphere, despite the lack of people. We were both too full to consider the desserts but the cosy country pub feel did entice us to stay for a second drink rather than making a dash for the exit.

For the food, two ciders and two soft drinks the bill came to a reasonable £35.95.

I won’t be rushing back to The Crown but if I did head back, I’d perhaps try their Tuesday steak night, Thursday pie night or carvery for something different.

Crown Inn


Chippenham SN14 7ER

Tel: 01249 783889