Red Lion at Culworth.

This is another place everyone locally raves about. We were always told you had to book or you wouldn’t get a table so since most of our evenings out are spur of the moment we have never even tried to go to this place. 

By some kind of miracle the Gin Whisperer made it home before 6pm on Friday night so we decided to try the Red Lion. It was a beautiful evening so we were willing to sit outside if the restaurant was full. The car park was quiet when we arrived but it was only 6.45pm and the beer garden was very busy. After a warm welcome the waitress went into the kitchen to see if there were any tables available. We were in luck and managed to get a table for two in the corner. We asked the waitress what gins where available but she wasn’t sure so we went to check at the bar. Gordons or Bombay. Pretty disappointing! Not even Hendricks! So we ordered two Bombays and Fever Tree light.

There was plenty of choice when it came to starters, we went for the squid and the risotto balls. I found the main course choice a little limited and not very Summery! There were 3 burgers, Ultimate, pork or lamb special, 4 or 5 fish dishes, a pie, a veggie option, steak, pork fillet or lamb fillet. Don’t get me wrong, everything sounded delicious, I just though that three burgers was a little excessive and I’m not sure who would want a pie and chips on a hot summers evening. We decided on the pork fillet and the Red Lion Ultimate burger.

 

Red Lion at Culworth Clockwise from top left Deep Fried Cornish Squid, Indian Spiced Pork Fillet, Red Lion Ultimate Burger, Potted Stilton, Toffee Apple Creme Brulee, Risotto Balls
 
The Squid and risotto balls were really well presented. We’ve never had deep fried squid presented in such a way, you normally expect it to come cut up into rings but this looked wonderful. It tasted just as good too. The aioli was also delicious. The Gin Whisperer said it was the second best squid he’s ever had, the first being at a beach restaurant in Ibiza. My risotto balls were also very good, could have done with a bit more mozzarella and a bit less tomato for me though.

I definitely made a good choice with the pork fillet. It came with pilaff rice jewelled with pomegranate, carrot and peppers, flat bread and a spicy coconut curry sauce on the side. It was absolutely delicious and really filling. The pork was spiced and cooked to perfection and the sauce was fantastic. The Gin Whisperer was a little unimpressed with the ultimate burger. It was topped with pulled rib of beef, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, house relish, beef tomato and little gem lettuce.  The pulled beef looked more like pork, the cheddar had rind on it like a smoked cheese, the bacon had been precooked so was not warm when served and the lettuce and tomato were on the bottom of the bun making it soggy and impossible to pick up meaning he ended up eating the whole thing with a knife and fork. There wasn’t enough of the house relish either so it made the burger a little dry. Don’t get it wrong it tasted ok, it just didn’t seem to be as it had been described on the menu and wasn’t executed very well. He definitely wouldn’t have it again, after seeing the seafood mixed grill he decided he should have had that instead!

For dessert I had the potted Stilton fed with Vintage Port and the Gin Whisperer had toffee apple creme brûlée with walnut ice cream. The Stilton was lovely, I couldn’t really taste the port as the Stilton was very strong but I enjoyed it. The Gin Whisperer enjoyed his dessert but didn’t think that the walnut ice cream went with the brûlée, on their own they were both very good but they didn’t really work together.

Staff were all very friendly and knowledgeable, the only let down was that we asked for the bill and after 25 minutes we still hadn’t received it so ended up going to the bar to pay. 

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