Dining Out: The Red Lion

The Red Lion, Thornby
The Red Lion, Thornby

We happened across The Red Lion in Thornby a couple of years ago.

One of my infamous detours during a bike ride took us past its front door. Tired and hungry, we went in for lunch and have been fans ever since.

Having always cycled there for a lunchtime meal we were determined to try it for an evening meal, but Ade insisted on navigating, refusing to go on any more detours.

The pub has a bar area with tables for diners and a restaurant area. As we knew we would have our dog with us we booked a table in the dog-friendly bar area.

A traditional English pub with memorabilia about its history on the walls, The Red Lion is the kind of place you would take foreign visitors to to show them how an English pub should be. It has friendly staff, a good range of real ales and a short, but interesting, menu. We felt at home when we walked in in our cycling gear on our first visit and we have never failed to receive a warm welcome since.

We were pleasantly surprised to see how busy the pub was on a Tuesday night, both with diners and drinkers – always a good sign.

Next came the hard part, deciding what to choose from the menu. Sometimes there is only one thing on a menu that you fancy, other times you could eat it all. This was one of those occasions. The scallop starter sounded delicious and I always like a caesar salad but in the end I went for the roast squash, smoked bacon and goats cheese salad (£5.50) and Ade had the roast halloumi salad with tomatoes and a caper dressing (£5.75). Both dishes were beautifully presented. Mine was such a simple idea but tasted fantastic because the smoked bacon had just the right amount of “smokiness” and the tang from the goats cheese was the perfect foil for the roast squash. Ade enjoyed his salad, particularly the dressing, and the generous portion of halloumi.

For the main course, Ade had already decided he didn’t want to eat meat so he decided on the Keralan fish curry, which came with basmati rice and a cauliflower and onion bhaji (£13.95). He loved the delicate coconut flavour of the curry sauce which was nicely spicy but wasn’t so overpowering it masked the taste of the fish.

Having hummed and hahed about whether to have belly pork with noodles and chilli sauce or the jerk chicken I decided on the chicken (£13.95) because it came with sweet potato mash, which I love. I wasn’t disappointed, the chicken had a nicely sharp, hot flavour that complemented the buttery sweet potato mash. I also got corn on the cob, which was slightly overcooked for my taste, and dressed leaves. My only quibble would be that the dish didn’t really need a salad with it, perhaps another vegetable would have been better. I’m not a fan of salad on the same plate as hot food.

Nicely full, we contemplated the dessert menu. I normally just nick a mouthful or two of Ade’s pudding and luckily for me the dessert he really fancied, frangipane tart, was finished; I hate almond. We’re both chocolate fans so he chose the hazelnut chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (£5.25) instead. This was a very generous portion and plenty big enough for me to have a mouthful – or two. It had the perfect amount of chocolate flavour and was lovely and light. Delicious.

If you like excellent pub food served in a friendly atmosphere you’ll like The Red Lion.

VALUE: Excellent

FOOD: Excellent

SERVICE: Charming

DISABLED ACCESS: Awkward

PARKING: Large car park

COST OF OUR MEAL: £48.60 food only

JANET’S STAR RATING: 8/10

The Red Lion

Welford Road, 
Thornby

NN6 8SJ

Telephone: 01604 740238