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F O O D & D R I N KJust

F O O D & D R I N KJust roarsomeWITH QUALITY FOOD AND EXEMPLARY SERVICE, THE RED LION AT NEWBOROUGH HASALL THE HALLMARKS OF A GREAT DINING PUB, AS AMY NORBURY DISCOVERSAs discerning diners, we’re alwayson the lookout for quality when itcomes to eating out; whether thatbe at a Michelin starred eatery, agastro pub or even a street foodvendor. Quality is, after all, whatkeeps people coming back formore.Tucked away in the picturesqueeast Staffordshire villageof Newborough, The RedLion is a great example of athriving country pub - and oneof the latest acquisitions forthe company behind SuttonColdfield’s prestigious Moor HallHotel.At the helm are general managersGail Williams and Ryan Wheeldon, who have movedover from the Moor Hall to take on the ratherdifferent challenge of running a country pub, whilehead chef Andrew Murkin has joined the team fromwell regarded Burton restaurant The Dial.And it’s not only a new team on board; the pub itselfunderwent a substantial refurbishment last year togive a fresh new look, creating a stylish and relaxingbar and restaurant.J’AIME was invited over to The Red Lion toexperience the new-look pub - and menu - first hand.And first impressions were certainly favourable.We were greeted by general manager Gail, whoshowed us to a cosy table for two in the mainrestaurant area. Chunky wooden tables and openfires give a nicely homely feel complemented by amodern palette of cool greys, while swathes of fairylights adorn the ceilings - a very pretty touch indeed.Our drinks were swift to arrive, alongside a carafeof water for the table, and we set about perusing theevening’s offerings.The menu is a relatively small affair, championingfresh, local and seasonal produce, and all meat onoffer is Red Tractor assured fromRussell’s butchers of Shenstone.Seafood dominates the specialsboard - unsurprisingly, sinceseafood is a particular passion forhead chef Andrew - while thereare also daily changing pie andsoup options.To kick things off, I was tornbetween the two starter specials,with the crayfish, salmon and dillcocktail, £6, just edging ahead ofthe scallops and pea puree, £7.It was a winning take on aclassic, with the juicy crayfish ina rich Marie Rose sauce nicelycomplemented by thick ribbons24

of smoked salmon, and a couple of hunks of soft,crusty bread to ensure everything got mopped up.My husband opted for the beetroot and goats’ cheesearancini with red pepper coulis and basil pesto, £6.It was a very pretty dish, however I can’t possiblycomment on the taste since I didn’t get a look in -I’m assured that means it was a success.For the main event I was tempted by the sea bassspecial, served with lemon and caper butter, crushedpotato, kale, spinach and parsley, £14.50, and thesignature rotisserie style chicken with homemadecoleslaw, from £6 - until I spied a parade of burgersmaking their way to a neighbouring table. And soit was The Red Lion beef burger, £13.50, with thebacon and stilton topper - there are also cheddar andchorizo, or spiced halloumi options.The burger was a true behemoth; agloriously meaty patty adorned withthickly sliced bacon, a generous helpingof stilton and the obligatory salad, allsandwiched between a soft briochebun and topped with a wedge of picklefor good measure. The meat itself waswonderfully flavoursome and deliciouslyjuicy which made it difficult for thebrioche to contain all the componentparts but no bother, not when it tastedas good as it did. Not an elegant dishby any stretch of the imagination, butcertainly a most satisfying one.The accompanying chips weregenerously portioned and beautifullycrisp with a nicely fluffy interior, whilea side order of corn on the cob, £3,was a thinly veiled attempt to offset thecalorific damage by adding in one ofmy five-a-day - and a rather futile one,slathered in garlic butter as it was.My husband’s 8oz fillet steak, £24,was another thing of beauty;perfectly cooked to the requestedrare, it was richly flavoured witha wonderful hint of chargrill,and so tender that the knife slidthrough it like butter - the realhallmark of a good steak. Assomeone who’s eaten his fairshare of steak, both good andbad, he’s not an easy man toimpress in such matters - butimpressed he was.The accompanying stilton sauce,£2, was perfect for dipping thehand-cut chips, and the restof the rest of the trimmingswent down a treat too; tomato,mushroom and a sizable pile ofenormous onion rings coated in a beautifully lightand crispy batter.The Red Lion’s portions are certainly on thegenerous side, so no one would blame you if youdidn’t have room for dessert; although that wouldmean missing out on classics like jam roly poly,chocolate fudge cake and banana split. While myhusband stuck to coffee, I found the mixed berrypavlova with raspberry sorbet, £6, was the perfectway to end the meal; light, refreshing and the perfectbalance of sweet and tart.With a crowd-pleasing menu offering quality food,plus a seriously warm welcome and exemplaryservice, The Red Lion is everything a good villagepub should be.53


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