The Red Lion's not the first that I've visited, but I'm pleased to say that it is the best. It's just a shame that it's not down the road or in a nearby village, instead of 140 miles away. Still, if you ever find yourself on the A14 to Ipswich (or live in the area) then it's definitely worth a visit.
I couldn't have picked a better day - it's been unseasonably warm this week. Sitting in the beer garden felt like the middle of August.
The pub itself looks a lot like any other - rural location, reasonably sized, traditional interior, large beer garden and kids play area. It had quite a few other diners there as well, which is impressive considering it was a weekday lunch time.
Most of the savory dishes are VO, but disappointingly only 2 of the desserts are suitable. At least 2 of the specials could have been made vegan without anyone noticing (chocolate fudge cake and sticky toffee pudding), so it'd be good to see more choice in the future.
Pricing is reasonable and portion sizes very generous. Quality is above average - food is obviously a key part of the business rather than a token gesture to sell more drinks.
Mixed olive platter £5.90Good to see the use of baskets in pubs is still alive :)
Black and green olives, sun dried tomatoes and red peppers, served with a balsamic dressing and a basket of freshly baked bread v*
Artichoke linguine £10.90
Freshly cooked pasta, tossed with artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, vodka, red chilli and oregano, finished with cream and parmesan and served with garlic ciabatta vo
Summer Pudding £4.90
Filled with soft fruits and cassis, drizzled with raspberry coulis vo*
I'm not convinced that this was meant to be for one person! I've been known to eat bread + oil + balsamic as an entire meal before, so this choice suited me fine. The bread they'd used was warm and decent quality.
The main was pretty decent too:
It'd got quite a lot of oil in it - I wasn't sure whether the sauce had split or it was just from the veg that had been fried separately. It tasted good though, so I didn't really mind :)
Having already eaten a load of bread I got more with the main:
Couldn't really taste the garlic in it, but possibly because the flavours in the linguine were so strong.
Dessert again was generously portioned and excellent value for money:
As far as summer puddings go; this was a good one. Whole berries inside and a sensible amount of icecream.
Everything I ordered I'd be happy to eat again (which happens at less than half of the places I visit). The choice of vegan food's not as imaginative as some places, but if it were local I'd definitely visit on a regular basis. If not only for the novelty of being able to eat a vegan meal outside in the countryside :-)