Review: Red Lion Inn, Birchover

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It’s Friday night and the weekend starts here. For some that means going out and sinking a few pints, for others it’s a chance to escape the kitchen and let someone else do the cooking.

Opting for an early night and a clear head as a busy Saturday loomed, we took the eating out route.

We were attracted to the Red Lion Inn by the Sardinian-influenced fare which contain ingredients made by its owner Matteo Frau, an award-winning cheese maker.

My starter was a meal in itself. The Sardinian antipasto board (£6.95) was laden with meat, cheese, mussels, olives, salad, a light ciabatta roll and tiny pots of dressing and home-made butter.

My partner opted for smoked salmon (£5.95) which was accompanied by a hunk of brown bread and salad. The large portion was some of the best smoked salmon he had eaten.

For mains, I chose the big burger (£8.95), a double decker meat feast layered with home-cured bacon and cheese and accompanied by chips and salad.

My companion’s dish was more modest, salted beef topped with the owner’s signature cheese, Birchover Blue, in a ciabatta with a side salad. Delicious though it was, he found the generous portion of cheese detracted from the taste of the beef.

Full to bursting after the generous portions, I had no room left for my favourite dessert, sticky toffee pudding. However, that gives me an excuse to return in the daytime so I can also get my fill at the adjacent deli which was launched by the Red Lion’s proprietor three years ago.

Rating: Four stars

The Red Lion Inn,

Main Street,

Birchover

01629 650363