One classically British rainy evening last week I headed over to The Red Lion at Stoke Poges with Steve and two friends, Ian and Christina. I’d recently been craving a real winter warmer type of meal and maybe a fire to curl up next to, so it was convenient that The Red Lion was having a media night before their re-opening at the weekend. A media night is where lots of local bloggers, journalists and influencer types get to go along, try the food and share their honest experiences online.
Where is it?
Located in South Bucks, around 3 miles from Slough and 35 minutes from London, Stoke Poges is easily accessible by road, rail, and on foot.
The best start…
We arrived and were greeted with a lovely welcome from the owner Paul who immediately directed us to the bar where they’d set up the cleverest of things… a gin station! 😉
Once I’d topped up my glass with lots of ice and fresh fruit, and added my gin and tonic I left my boyfriend and friends at the bar, and went for a little mooch around.
Spotting the fire I’d been hoping to see…
Ducking under beams and wandering through nooks and crannies to find different sized tables, cosy chairs and plump cushions dotted around. Modern, stylish and with a contemporary feel whilst still managing to keep its traditional features, the Red Lion is suitable for families, friends or intimate romantic dinners. I could easily imagine going back with the kids one Sunday afternoon.
I also heard the outside of the restaurant is just as beautiful as the inside, and in summer (and daylight) the front wall is completely covered in wisteria. This alone makes me want to return, wisteria is one of my most favourite smells making it perfect for a spot of al fresco dining.
Wooden floors, simple artwork, candles lit and subtle lighting with the music being played at just the right volume, I could easily be comfortable here at any time of day, or at any other time of year too.
Bring on the food!
Making my way back around to the gin station we were then seated in one of the rooms at the front and served some delicious canapes, which seemed to be smaller versions of some of the starters and main dishes.
I loved the dips and beetroot hummus and adored the coconut tzatziki and flatbread, but wasn’t so keen on the Miso aubergine thinking it had some kind of flavour I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Steve wasn’t keen either so we both made a mental note not to order the main which had this in.
After just the right amount of time, we were shown to our table in the main restaurant at the back, handed our menus and set to the task of choosing our food from what can only be described as the biggest pub menu I’ve ever seen (take a peek here). Not that I’m complaining mind, it’s great to have so many options.
Our waitress was friendly and knowledgable, explaining the specials and recommending a couple of her favourite dishes to help us narrow it down.
The Red Lion has also launched a new range of high protein, low-calorie dishes to help guests stay healthy into the New Year. This includes a wide selection of choices all under 700 calories.
But… I wasn’t in one of ‘those‘ moods and I eventually settled on the Brie for my starter. Perfectly crisp on the outside, but also perfectly melted on the inside, it was served with a dollop of delicious homemade chutney.
Steve went for the butternut squash and chilli soup as he was told it had a bit of a kick to it. Disappointedly it didn’t. I tasted it too and whilst heat is subjective there was no kick whatsoever for us, but still, it was a lovely homemade soup all the same.
Our friends went for the scallops and the karrage chicken. Christina was wary of the scallops due to a bad experience last time she’d eaten them, but luckily ended up really enjoying these and said they’d been cooked perfectly.
My main was the roasted butternut squash and sweet potato tart stuffed with roasted peppers, leeks, confit tomato, topped with Cropwell Bishop custard and Stilton & walnut crumb…and a side order of triple cooked chunky chips (I couldn’t resist – standard!)
The tart was beautifully cooked, the vegetables had the perfect ‘bite’, the pastry was homemade and deliciously seasoned and the chips were just how chips should be; chunky, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. We did all realise though that the bigger chips were slightly undercooked and could have maybe done with a little longer in the fryer…but then, I’m probably just being a bit picky there.
For his main Steve went for the battered halloumi and chips which I don’t think you can ever really go wrong with. It makes for the perfect vegetarian alternative to the traditional pub fish and chips option. The batter was light, the cheese hot and the peas and tartar sauce on the side were just as they should be. He also,
Our friends, both being meat eaters, went for the King Prawn, Crab and Chorizo Linguine and the 9-oz Rib-Eye steak. Ian ordered some Mac n Cheese on the side and I’m not gonna lie, I was 100% jealous.. so waited for the right moment to go in and ‘share’ a little bit… 😉
The linguine was
Despite the fact we were all incredibly full, Christina asked me if I had room for pudding. The correct answer to
So, four desserts came out, each looking as amazing as the other. Ian had the creme brulee. Steve had the mango and berry Eton mess, Christina the baked vanilla cheesecake and I chose the most over-the-top, show-stopper dessert I could. This baby:
Melting chocolate and peanut bomb filled with sticky toffee pudding and peanut buttercream. Served with Bourbon vanilla ice cream & hot salted caramel sauce…10/10 would order this again, it was ridiculously delicious.
Last but not Least
I also very nearly almost forgot to tell you about the cocktails. If it wasn’t for my incredibly early start the next day I would have had more, but the ones I did try were perfect. I had the blood orange and passion fruit collins and a very pretty raspberry mule.
A wonderful meal and night out. The service and timing between courses were perfect. I think you’ll most likely be just as impressed with its new look and menu as much as we were.
Are you local? Would you head over to Stoke Poges to give it a try? I hope so. Maybe you’ve already been before its refurbishment and can’t wait to check out its new look? Make sure you order the chocolate peanut bomb. You won’t regret it.
Website – www.theredlionstokepoges.co.uk