Dining at Walt Disney World for many has meant one place: Epcot’s World Showcase. Nowhere else can you find such culinary diversity in one theme park: schoolbread in the Norway Pavilion, seafood bastilla in the Moroccan Pavilion, and so much more. It’s our goal to eventually try each pavilion’s food, but we pace ourselves to small bites for one meal and a sit down meal for dinner.
We debated quite a bit before last month’s trip as to where we would eat. We agreed on a few parameters: somewhere we hadn’t tried before and somewhere we could walk out of without waddling from overeating. We ruled out the China Pavilion (this one will take us a while to get to as reviews have been pretty dismal for years and I live in an area with good Chinese food, so my standards need to be met), the American Pavilion (our national cuisine boiled down to burgers and Caesar salad, which was actually invented in Mexico) and the pavilions we’ve eaten at already: Morocco, France, and Canada. Available reservations finally brought us our choice: the Rose and Crown Dining Room in the United Kingdom Pavilion.
The Rose and Crown sits on the water side of the pavilion. This is prime viewing for IllumiNations so expect the later dinner time slots to be taken. If you can snag one and get an outside patio seat you’ve won the lottery.
The Dining Room is separate from the raucous Pub next door. You can order food at the Pub but more likely you’ll want to dine in the Dining Room. If you can’t eat in the Rose and Crown the Yorkshire Fish and Chips stand next door is busy but tasty. There’s also an outside stand with beers on tap for those who wish to imbibe without entering the Pub.
Each pavilion is staffed by Cast Members from that country. Reading the name tags of the Cast Members at the Rose and Crown you’ll find places like Leeds, Manchester, and Liverpool. Our server Sarah was from Nottingham and was full of suggestions and charm.
The interior is designed to look like a true British pub and dining room. There are knickknacks on the mantle and mismatched plates on shelves. Because the pub and dining room are connected the sound drifts. If there’s a football game (soccer for the Americans) expect a rowdy crowd and lots of noise. The patio seating is covered so you won’t have to worry about rain. As mentioned before, these are prized seats so if you want them request them and be willing to wait.
We started off with a Cider and Black for me and a shandy for Busy Bumble. A Cider and Black is hard Cider with blackcurrant liqueur and a shady is a mix of beer and lemon-lime soda. Our server was good and asked if Busy Bumble preferred light or dark beer in her shandy. We’d had these drinks while watching the World Cup a few years ago at an English pub in San Diego and fell in love with them. The Cider and Black is sweet with a hint of bitter tang while the shandy is mild and refreshing for people who don’t normally drink beer.
Most of the menu will be familiar to American diners but I always ask at each restaurant to see what the “locals” recommend. Busy Bumble had her heart set on the Corned Beef, but I was torn: shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, or bangers and mash. Sarah was a great help in deciding. She mentioned the fish and chips was the most popular menu item and certainly one of the largest portions, but her favorite was the bangers and mash. Having had the fish and chips at the stand outside before, I went with the bangers and mash.
We started with two classic appetizers: potato leek soup and Scotch eggs. People have complained in the past that the soup recipe has changed from a thick, chowder-like soup to something more runny. I am happy to report that we received a hearty, thick soup that was well-loved by Busy Bumble. This is like a lighter version of the cheese soup at Le Cellier: creamy, smooth, and flavorful. I actually prefer this over the cheese soup (blasphemy, I know).
The Scotch eggs will be familiar to anyone who played Neopets (remember that? Have I aged myself?). Basically they’re hard-boiled eggs coated in ground sausage, covered in breading then deep-fried. The Rose and Crown serves theirs with mustard and frisée. This was incredibly tasty, although my doctor may not care for the deep-frying. It comes across like a mini meatloaf and the mustard is perfect with it. The frisée was probably just a garnish, but it was a nice way to cut the richness of the dish.
The kitchen moved fast so nearly the moment our appetizer plates were cleared our entrées showed up.
The corned beef was much prettier than the kind I make from the grocery store kit: bright cabbage and frisée, tender carrots and potatoes, and a succulent cut of brisket that wasn’t over salted. This was a sizable portion so Busy Bumble was happy we’d only had small plates as snacks earlier in the day.
The bangers and mash consisted of savory mild sausages, mushroom and onion gravy, and creamy mashed potatoes. It didn’t look like much but this was delicious. The savory gravy definitely brought the whole thing together. It was fulfilling without being heavy, which is great when you want to continue your day after you eat. I wish they had the recipe for this somewhere because I’d make it once a week if I could.
Dessert is limited at most restaurants in Epcot but World Showcase does a good job in general. We opted for the banofee tart and famous sticky toffee pudding.
Busy Bumble loves banofee pie. It’s usually a pie made with whipped cream, caramel, and bananas (ban = banana, ofee = toffee, get it?). The Rose and Crown makes theirs in a chocolate tart shell with chocolate striping. Busy Bumble enjoyed it but found that the chocolate was unnecessary. I’ve heard tell that Wizarding World of Harry Potter also sells a banofee pie so someday we may have to try it.
The sticky toffee pudding is a sweet date cake soaked in butterscotch sauce and served with vanilla custard. Unfortunately my standards for this dessert are high, courtesy of a long gone restaurant back home. It should be just like its name: sticky from soaking in the sauce, and addictively sweet. The Rose and Crown’s version is almost universally beloved and I found it… okay. It wasn’t terrible, but the cake was drier than I’d like and the butterscotch was just serviceable. The kind I loved (I’ll miss you until the end of time, sticky toffee pudding!) had a sauce so amazing and craveable we named in Crack Sauce. You wanted to eat a bowl of the stuff. The Rose and Crown’s was fine but I left the remainders in my bowl, untouched.
In summary, this is a reliable meal that falls on the safe side as far as culinary options in World Showcase. We enjoyed our apps and entrées but if we eat here again we’ll go somewhere else for dessert. I’d recommend this restaurant for those who want a very casual, comfy setting and familiar comfort food.