The Red Lion in Todwick is such a landmark locals named their crossroads after it.
Doubtless, you’ve whistled past it countless times on the A57. Of late, you probably sat in traffic jams outside it as major roadworks slowly transformed the route into a dual carriageway.
But the traffic lights have been replaced by a roundabout and the Worksop to Sheffield route has been transformed. So has the Red Lion. Owners Old English Inns have refurbed the pub and 30-bedroomed hotel, once a Victorian farmhouse, retaining features like the oak beams and original flagstone floor.
The dining area is split over different levels and includes high tables and stools near the bar, cosy corners with comfy chairs and an attractive dining room cleverly laid out to give the feeling of privacy.
The new menu looks appetising and diverse – sandwiches, wraps and jacket spuds, interesting salads (eg summer pea and sugarsnap), 28-day matured Black Angus steaks, mixed grill, posh burgers, belly pork...
We can’t believe that the house wine, a pleasant Spanish red, is just £10.99 a bottle. Some places charge more for two glasses.
We’re equally impressed by the value and quality of our starter, the Old English Seaside Sharing Platter, £9.99. Presented on a wooden board, it’s a great idea; a bowl of vinegary cockles, a Kilner jar of smoked mackerel pâté, a heap of fried whitebait and a bag of chips with toast soldiers, mini vinegar and Tabasco bottles, wedges of lemon and lime, mayo and wooden chip forks. I was thinking all that was missing was the sand, until I noticed the menu description also listed prawns...
Husband is miffed the House Favourite beef and ale pie isn’t available. It sold out at the weekend. “It’s Tuesday,” he grumbles. “They could have made some by now.” But we’re told they are made centrally by Old English Inns’ owner Suffolk-based Greene King, which brews ales and operates 1,900 venues including the Loch Fyne chain.
He opts for bangers and mash instead, but I’d hazard a guess the mash and the gravy that accompanied his big, succulent Gloucester Old Spot sausages £7.79) had also come from HQ. And my £11.79 trio of lamb cutlets, which were pink and juicy, but clearly hadn’t just seen the grill. They were good though, and came with perfect new potatoes, fresh peas and green beans, though everything was swamped with an unnecessary and bland mint gravy.
A sticky chocolate brownie pud with ice cream and chocolate sauce (£4.59) didn’t disappoint, but why deconstruct a fruit trifle? The custard came in a Kilner and was so strange, we alerted our excellent waitress, who brought one less floury. It still wasn’t a patch on the real thing but at £4.69, it brought the bill to a good value £49.83.