Saturday, 23 April 2016

THE RED LION - Chalton





We'd both been to this pub many times, but not since we had started writing reviews. It's a traditional pub, surrounded by fields, trees and all manner of green things. Punters have been attracted here for many years due to its reputation as a good food pub. My first memories of coming here long, long ago, are exactly that, a lovely country pub selling really good food. So for those reasons and so many more, we thought it time to get something on record.

Upon arrival we were blessed with a window of sunshine. An important choice had to be made at this point. Inside or outside? We deemed it just warm enough to sit in the amply seated garden. As is often the case with old buildings, we find the inside can be a bit dark and dingy, especially when you know the sun is showing off outside. We checked out the specials board inside before retreating back to the light and warmth of the garden with our drinks and menu's. We found some of the pricing to be on a rather odd scale. Fish and chips is available at either £7 or £10, that's fair enough, but there were other meals which shouldn't really have cost any different which were up for £13.

It's probably only fair to point out that I was, and still am slightly ill. I didn't really fancy much that was on offer, so played it safe and went for fish and chips. Dad went for the steak pie, even though he had a bad feeling about it. We had a sip on our drinks, blinked twice, and as if by magic the food appeared. We both agreed it had arrived alarmingly quickly. We don't like it when food comes out as though summoned in to existence by a magical demon in the microwave. Good food should take a little time to prepare. Unfortunately our hunch was born out. On the whole the food wasn't great. It was also a bit of an enigma. They had gone to the trouble to make their own chips, that's good. But we are pretty sure they used frozen parsnips to hang out with Dad's pie. The batter on my fish was light and crisp, but the fish itself was watery and just a bit unpleasant to eat. Dad's pie wasn't really a pie either. It was a section of a large tray pie, school dinner style, which had been liberated from its pie brethren. Just to rub mustard in to our wounds, Dad's pie should have been accompanied by mustard mash. I hate to be the one to break this to you dear readers, but there was no sign of mustard in that mash. You can imagine how much that hurt, Dad's only just getting over it.

As you've probably gathered by now, we were a bit disappointed. Not only was the food less than we had hoped for, the prices were more than we had hoped for, if that makes sense. Perhaps we were just unlucky, but we feel that the standards here have dropped over the last few years. I don't know how many people beat a path to the door of this particular country pub, but I do wonder how many of them go home satisfied.

Atmosphere          5
Service                 6
Food                    5
Value                   5
Verdict                 3.5*

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