Red Lion – West Boldon, Tyne & Wear

Simple, no-fuss menu with gastro-pub style food

This Saturday lunch time booking at the Red Lion in West Boldon was a family get-together for a party of nine. We’d originally wanted to go to the Poetic License Bar (to enjoy the craft gins from the onsite gin distillery) but on booking we were warned to allow for delays (they warned of poor service, even though I was booking several weeks in advance). Having experienced terrible service already at Poetic License Bar, we decided not to risk it again and booked the Red Lion instead, as it’s more convenient for all the family anyway. Great decision.

You can eat bar meals in the main pub but on this visit, we were shown to a nicely laid out huge solid wood table with very high-backed (and heavy) wooden chairs in the main restaurant. It felt a little like walking onto a set for Game of Thrones, befitting a medieval banquet.

The menu is very plain and simple in its writing and design style. The intention may be to avoid being overly descriptive (and pompous) but it doesn’t capture just how exciting the food that is served here, really is. I was expecting traditional pub food to match the plain menu. Not so.

We’d started with a leisurely round of drinks in the pub while waiting for everyone to arrive, then ordered wine once seated at the dining table – a Navardia Rioja Bagordi @ £18.50 and a Pinot Grigio @ £13.95.

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Selection of dishes served at Red Lion
Starters (top right): prawn cocktail, Thai fishcake + chilli sauce, and (bottom left) goats cheese crostini all @£6.95 each
Mains: Ribeye Steak with grill garnish and  thick-cut chips @ £14.95 (main pic) and Thai red chicken curry with chips instead of rice @£10.95 (bottom right)

Starters range from £4.50 for soup of the day to £7.95 for king prawn skewers. I had goats cheese crostini with dressed mixed leaves @ £6.95, beautifully served with a balsamic glaze, while others had prawn cocktail (described as ‘classic prawn cocktail’ on the menu but beautifully served like this with leaves and balsamic glaze) @ £6.95, Thai fish cakes with chilli sauce also @ £6.95 and black pudding and chorizo salad @ £5.95.

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Starter: Black pudding and chorizo salad @ £5.95

Already very impressed (it’s a while since K and I ate here) we were suitably excited about the main courses. My fish and chips were gorgeous – really good, tasty fish with chunky chips; the mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce enhanced it perfectly.

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Red Lion burger – homemade burger with bacon + cheese  @£11.95

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Traditional fish and chips – mushy peas + homemade tartar sauce with capers @£11.95

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Oven roast salmon with a tomato Provencale sauce – and new boiled potatoes @£9.95

Check out the huge, wooden thrones we’re sitting on:

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Solid wood high-backed chairs

Some had desserts. While, ahem, others had more drinks. And a great pub lunch was had by all.

The verdict: Gastro-pub style food in a homely, friendly pub. Very good value – checkout the website for latest offers (as of Feb 2017 there’s a credit crunch lunch @£9.95 for two courses and a tea or coffee, served Monday to Saturday, 12-7pm).

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: British, pub
– Address: Redcar Terrace, West Boldon, South Tyneside
– Postcode: NE36 0PZ
– Tel: +44 191 536 4197
– Nearest station: East Boldon metro
– Website + menus: Red Lion website
– Photos of Red Lion: Red Lion pics on flickr
– Location: Red Lion map

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Cleveland Tontine – country pub in North Yorkshire DL6

Quality dining in North Yorkshire countryside

Situated just off the A19 at Staddlebridge, on the border of the North York Moors national park, the Cleveland Tontine prides itself in being “something of an institution” with “open fires, an eclectic mix of furnishings and fabrics, outstanding service and fantastic food”.

Last weekend, K and I celebrated ‘early Christmas’ with our families as we’ll be away for the festive period this year. Part of the celebrations was a Christmas meal out with both sets of parents on Saturday afternoon. We chose the Cleveland Tontine for its convenient location between them, and because it looked appealing with a varied menu on the website.
Cleveland Tontine food
Food selection at the Cleveland Tontine – beef, venison, fish + chips, fish pie

In the lounge, with a view over the countryside, we began with a relaxing aperitif (there’s a great choice of drinks including a fancy gin cocktail menu on this occasion) and read the various menus. There’s a set menu reasonably priced @ £16.95 for two courses or £20.00 for three, or a la carte:

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A la carte menu – sample menu of 26 Nov 2016

This venue (it’s a hotel with accommodation as well as a pub and restaurant) was built in 1804 and was – for some time – a private residence called Ingleby House. It’s beautifully restored while maintaining some old charm. I was surprised that, at 2pm on a Saturday, the basement dining room with its quaint low ceilings, stone walls and beams was very quiet, although it got busier over the course of the afternoon.

We ordered a bottle of prosecco @ £24.95 to accompany our selection of starters from the a la carte menu:

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Goats cheese cannelloni – textures of cauliflower, candied walnuts + baby watercress (simply gorgeous) @ £7.95

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Poached pear, Harrogate blue cheese + candied pecans @ £6.95

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King scallops + black pudding with cauliflower puree, apple jelly + pancetta crumb @ £12.95

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Racing penguins – we brought Christmas crackers with us; they contained entertaining (and very cute) clockwork penguins to race

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Quaint old basement dining room

Given this was a Christmas dinner, it was pleasing to see a variety of uniquely crafted dishes and no turkey in sight (sorry traditionalists). The food tasted as good as it looks – I’ll let these main course photos do the talking:

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Fillet + shin of beef with truffle mash, Yorkshire carrots, braising juices @ £21.95

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Loin of venison, celeriac, red cabbage + hen of the woods (gorgeous mushrooms) with chocolate jus @ £26.95 (this was my choice and it was stunning)

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Beer battered fish and chips with crushed peas, tartare sauce @ £13.95

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Tontine fish pie with samphire, seasonal greens + Gruyere glaze @ £14.95

With the main course, we had a couple of bottles of winter-warming malbec bodega @ £34.95 a bottle.

Here’s what we ordered from the dessert menu:

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Tontine sweets and treats plate @ £12.95

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Full cheese board (five cheeses to share) with homemade fig jam, biscuits, walnut + raisin bread @ £10.95, along with a 10 year old tawny port @ £7.50

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The Cleveland Tontine set in North Yorkshire countryside at Staddlebridge, just off the A19

The verdict: Excellent food and really good service. We were a party of six having a family celebration and picked the Cleveland Tontine partly because of its convenient location. We were all really impressed with the gourmet food. There was a wide choice of both food dishes and drinks and not overly priced for such good quality. I’d eat here again – in fact, I’d happily stay here.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: British, pub
– Address: Staddlebridge, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
– Postcode: DL6 3JB
– Website + menus: Cleveland Tontine website
– Photos on flickr: Cleveland Tontine photos
– Location: Cleveland Tontine map

The Cleveland Tontine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kanchana’s Kitchen at the King’s Arms – Waterloo

Fresh Thai food served in back room of quaint old backstreet pub in SE1

H, K and I chose The King’s Arms pub to meet last Saturday night, for its proximity to Waterloo and because they serve rotating craft beers. Roosters was on, on our visit. So, home from home.

 

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Kanchana’s Kitchen at The King’s Arms

 

It was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday evening especially given they were showing the Euro 2016 football matches, on big screens. Pleasingly for us, we were able to get a table in the Thai restaurant, Kanchana’s Kitchen in the back room.

 

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Back dining room – when you try to photo-bomb but it kinda backfires and you end up in a blogpost…

 

We sampled a few real ales from the bar, and shared this mixed platter:

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Mixed starter platter: chicken satay, veg samosas, veggie spring rolls, Thai fish cakes, veggie tempura, butterfly prawns and prawn toast @ £6.95 pp (£20.85 for 3)

 

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Gaeng Kiew Wann – chicken green Thai curry @ £7.95 (in an extremely chipped bowl)

H and I both chose the chicken green Thai curry with steamed rice, made with basil, lime and bamboo. It tasted good so we overlooked the shabby crockery.

 

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Pad thai with prawns @ £8.50 – K’s choice

 

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Menu 01 – starters and curry dishes

 

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Menu 02 – stir fried dishes and house specials

 

 

The verdict: Convenient for Waterloo station, good Thai food, nice enough craft beers (though the choice was somewhat limited) on Roupell Street, an appealing quaint back street formed of old London terrace houses. It’s handy if it’s handy.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Thai
– Address: The Kings Arms, 25 Roupell Street, London
– Postcode: SE1 8TB
– Nearest station: Waterloo
– Website: The King’s Arms website
– Photos on flickr: images of RESTAURANT food
– Map: Kanchana’s Kitchen at The King’s Arms

 

King's Arms Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Tiger Inn – Cosy country pub Knaresborough

Situated in the village of Coneythorpe on the outskirts of Knaresborough, the Tiger Inn made for a handy stop for us, driving along the A1(m) to York last Sunday. We stopped for a pub lunch and were suitably impressed with our food choices and the range of drinks, including real ales and prosecco.
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Sea bass – seared fillet of sea bass with new potatoes, chorizo, baby spinach and orange @ £12.95

 

The menu offers Sunday roasts, steaks, a variety of pub staples like fish and chips or steak and ale pie, and some more international dishes such as Thai curry.

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Cosy country pub – nicely furnished

 

Between the four of us, we had these starters – the black pudding with ham  hock croquettes was the outstanding dish in this course:

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King prawn starter – with sweet chilli, ginger, spring onion and pitta bread @ £6.25

 

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Crispy black pudding starter – with ham hock croquettes and grain mustard hollandaise @ £5.50

 

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Brie starter – baked in crispy crumb served with sweet chilli sauce and leaves

 

And for main course, K had steak and ale pie @ £12.50 (really juicy, filling pie with perfectly cooked and salted chips), B and K both had sea bass (nice and light, served with a tasty mix of ingredients) @ £12.95 and I had Thai chicken red curry @ £10.50 (quite spicy and creamy without being firy hot):

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Steak and ale pie – shin of beef, local ale, short crust pastry with market vegetables @ £12.50

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Go on, have a taste – beef and ale in juicy gravy with vegetables

 

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Seared sea bass – nice and light

 

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Thai chicken red curry – with sticky coconut rice, pak choi, peppers and prawn crackers @ £10.50

 

The verdict: Great spot in the pretty village of Coneythorpe, handy for stop-offs from the A1(m). Good quality gastro pub food and pleasant service.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: pub, British, international
– Address: off Shortsill Lane, Coneythorpe, Knaresborough, HG5 0RY
– Nearest station: Knaresborough, Cattal
– Website + menus: Tiger Inn website
– Photos on flickr: Tiger Inn images
– Location: Tiger Inn map

zomato

Station Hotel – Gastro pub in SE London, SE13

Gastro pub and hotel in Lewisham Borough

Within spitting distance of Hither Green rail station in the Lewisham Borough, The Station Hotel is a Redcomb pub – a small group of traditional British ‘country pub’ style pubs – founded in 2009, with the aim of serving “simple, honest, fresh food, well kept ales with friendly and engaging service, set in a stylish environment”.

Our visit last night (a Friday evening) was an early birthday celebration for T. We’ve drunk in the bar at this pub a few times but it was my first time eating here – the food was great and reasonably priced for good quality, carefully sourced ingredients.

For starters, we shared a mixed mezze board of houmus, marinated tomatoes, feta and olives, cream cheese stuffed peppers, tzatziki falafel, and flatbread.

 

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Mezze board – shared starter @ £11.95

 

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Box baked camembert – infused with rosemary, thyme and garlic with red onion marmalade and crusty bread @ £9.95

 

For main course, K had a Station burger; T had roasted sea trout and I had beer battered fish and chips (all very good).

 

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Station burger – short rib from English herds, brioche bun with mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion, relish, cheddar, onion rings and skinny fries @ £12.95

 

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Beer battered sustainable North Sea fish, chunky chips, crushed minted peas and homemade tartar sauce @ £12.95

 

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Roasted Sea trout – lemon + thyme mash, creamed leeks + chives, caper, chive + tomato vinaigrette @ £14.25

 

The verdict:Good honest food, along with reasonably priced drinks (a bottle of Chenin Viognier dry white wine was £20) our total bill for four came to £175.75 excluding service. One of the better pubs in Lewisham. I’ll be back.

 

Pub dining info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: pub
~ Address: 14 Staplehurst Road, Hither Green, London
~ Postcode: SE13 5NB
~ Nearest station: Hither Green
~ Website + menus: The Station Hotel website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Station Hotel food
~ Location: Station Hotel map

 

The Station Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Princess Victoria – Shepherd’s Bush W12

Posh nosh Sunday roasts in West London

To celebrate L’s birthday, we went to one of her local pubs in West London for dinner last Sunday – the Princess Victoria. It was easy to see why it’s one of her favourites: bar staff were friendly and welcoming as we arrived even though it was busy, there’s a good range of craft beers and wines, and prosecco by the glass, as well as an appealing arrangement of whiskies and gins.

 

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Princess Victoria pub on Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush

 

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Bar: real ales on draft, fine selection of whiskies and gins
 

The child-friendly dining room was heaving with families and toddlers (with many kids entertaining themselves, on devices) perhaps a bit more of a ‘playground’ than I might have liked (hint: if you don’t normally choose to go to the kindergarten to eat your sandwich on a lunchtime, skip this place for a Sunday roast).

 
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Sample menu: Sunday lunch menu on 15 Nov 2015

We were a party of ten and most of us homed in on the Sunday roast dinners (generous portions and very good!):

 
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Rib of Cumbrian roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish – with roast potatoes + mixed vegetables @ £17.50
 

 
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Dingley Dell roast belly pork with crackling and apple sauce – served with roast potatoes + mixed veg @ £15.50
 

 
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Roast poussin, Yorkshire pudding and bread sauce – with roast potatoes + mixed veg @ £14.50
 

 
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Beer battered fish + chips with peas and tartare sauce @ £12.50

 

My roasted poussin was just gorgeous. The only disappointment being that the Scotch egg starter I ordered didn’t arrive (“amazing Scotch eggs” with runny yolks as recommended by L). Still, it seems like a good excuse to go back and try again…

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: gastropub
~ Address: 217 Uxbridge Road, London
~ Postcode: W12 9DH
~ Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush Market, East Acton, Shepherd’s Bush
~ Website + menus: Princess Victoria website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Princess Victoria food
~ Location: Princess Victoria map

 

 
Princess Victoria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crocker’s Folly – old gin palace NW8

Picture the scene: My parents are in town for the weekend. We’ve been on a guided tour of Lords Cricket Ground (excellent btw – our guide really brought it to life with his knowledge and humour) and we’d like to finish off this nice, leisurely Sunday afternoon with some food and drinks nearby (in NW8).

A quick google search on our ipad reveals there’s a new gastropub in a “former gin palace” a couple of streets away, serving Sunday roasts and cocktails in a Grade II listed building. And it’s part of the Maroush Group (prevalent around Marble Arch).

 

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Crocker’s Folly on Aberdeen Place, NW8 – gastropub in a Grade II listed building
 

We’re somewhere in between a very late lunch and early dinner and the restaurant is deserted. It’s as if we’ve reserved exclusive use of this grand room with its own private waiting staff. What a treat (Mum thinks she’s become the Lady of Downton Abbey).

 

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Fancy interior: marble bar in the restaurant – chandeliers, Romanesque columns, etc

 

Walking around Lord’s was thirsty work so we start with a refreshing cocktail while reading the menu. K has a Manhattan (Sazerac rye whisky, vermouth, and Angostura bitters) @ £9.50 and I have a Corps Revival No. 2 (egg white, Tanqueray gin, lemon juice and pineapple juice) @ £10.50.

 

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Cocktails: Corps revival (foreground) + Manhattan (rear)

 

Choosing from the Sunday Lunch menu, it’s £18.00 for one course, £25.00 for two courses or £30.00 for three courses.

For starters, K orders baked camembert while I choose salmon gravlax with a fennel cream (subtle aniseed flavour that cleans through the intense fish taste) served with wafer-thin, lightly toasted seeded bread.

 

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Starter: baked camembert

 

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Starter: salmon gravlax with fennel cream and wafer-thin seeded toast

 

For the main Sunday roast, dad and I order lamb and mum and K order beef. It’s a giant plateful with just-perfect Yorkshire puddings (well-risen, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle) a good selection of veggies and gorgeous lamb and beef gravies.

 

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Sunday roast beef

 

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Beautifully served, perfect Yorkshire puddings

 

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Sunday roast lamb

 

We’re so full after the main course that none of us can manage a dessert.

But somehow it seems incomplete if we don’t at least try one.

So we share a creme brulee between us (just a ‘taster’). It’s creamier than usual (but not sickly) with a very light, burnt caramelised topping (no hammer required). A very satisfying end to a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience.

 

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Under attack: cream brulee

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Gastropub
~ Address: Aberdeen Place, London
~ Postcode: NW8 8JR
~ Nearest stations: Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale, St Johns Wood, Marylebone
~ Website + menus: Crocker’s Folly website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Crocker’s Folly food
~ Location: Crocker’s Folly map

 

 

Crocker's Folly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato