ON a cold winter’s evening there is nothing better than cosying up to a roaring, log fire with good food and good company - all of this and more was on offer at the Red Lion in Earlswood during a recent visit.
Part of the Vintage Inn group, the pub restaurant has seen a number of changes over the years but has always remained popular for its good food and selection of real ales. As it was midweek when we dined, the Red Lion was nicely relaxed with several couples and groups of diners taking advantage of the new and tasty menu.
Warmly welcomed by manager Danielle and her staff, my dining companion Viv and I were swiftly settled in front of the aforementioned fire and got down to the serious business of food.
To start, I plumped for the Breaded Mushrooms (£3.95) with a smoked garlic dip while Viv stayed with the fungi and opted for Mushrooms, Stilton and Bacon on Focaccia (£4.95). My dish was plentiful with huge, juicy mushrooms which were nice and crispy while Viv declared her Focaccia dish to be moist and tasty with plenty of Stilton to tingle the tastebuds.
Faced with a superb selection of dishes on the main menu from typical pub classics like Beer Battered Fish and Chips to signature dishes of Five Spiced Duck as well as the popular Chargrill, we both dithered over our main course. But eventually, minds made up, Viv went for the Piri Piri Chicken (£7.95) a fiery dish flavoured with red chilli and tomato sauce with lemon and sweet paprika served with chips and salad while I decided on the Sea bass Fillets (£10.50) served with a tomato and herb hollandaise, new potatoes and steamed green beans.
My sea bass was delicious - two decent sized fillets which were cooked to perfection - flaky and tender while the sauce was a perfect accompaniment. Viv declared her chicken hot, hot, hot and was thankful the piri piri sauce came on the side!
Tummies full to bursting we reckoned we had enough room to squeeze in one of the tempting desserts on offer. I fancied one of my favourite puddings, Lemon Meringue Cheesecake (£4.25) and Viv found herself eyeing up the Sticky Toffee and Date Pudding (£4.00).
Both arrived promptly, as had all our dishes, and we soon tucked in. Viv could barely manage her Sticky Toffee and Date Pudding which, though tasty, was certainly filling and rather heavy so we both shared the generously proportioned Lemon Meringue Cheesecake which certainly hit the spot!
A filter coffee (£1.80) for me and a coffee (minus liqueur) topped with cream for Viv finished off a very enjoyable and hearty meal.
Smiling and attentive staff, a great ambience and good food were all in abundance at the Red Lion and we shall certainly be back again – maybe we could manage that Sticky Toffee and Date Pudding next time!
We had two white wines with soda, one vodka and tonic and a diet coke with our meals.
Sunday Roasts are also available from £6.95 as well as a children’s menu.