Sunday, 13 April 2014

Restaurant Review - The Red Lion, Gloucester Green

Location: 14 Gloucester Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 2BN, UK

Firstly, I have no idea why it's taken me sooooo long to review The Red Lion. I've visited a number of times with MrF and the kids for the last few years. I've bigged them up on Twitter, recommending them for full English, Rotisserie Chicken and Duck Salad. I've always found the service to be friendly and helpful; the setting stylish without being pretentious; the atmosphere pleasant and relaxed; the seating comfortable and spacious... the list kinda goes on. They even have really nice toilets, with the most amount of cubicles I've ever seen in a ladies loo!

For one reason or another, I just haven't gotten round to reviewing them. Until now.

Part of the vast Mitchells & Butler empire, The Red Lion is sister pub to The Trout in Wolvercote, The Chequers on High Street, All Bar One on High Street, The Crown in Cornmarket Street, O'Neill's on George Street, The Eagle & Child in St. Giles', The Cape of Good Hope at the bottom of Iffley Road, Browns Brasserie on Woodstock Road, The Royal Oak also on Woodstock Road, Jericho Tavern on Walton Street AND Britannia Inn on London Road! Wow, twelve of them in Oxford alone?!

This does taint things somewhat, especially when you realise a number of them share menus - The Trout and The Red Lion both fall under the same sub-brand and share a menu (though Red Lion cooks it much better); as do The Chequers, The Crown, plus Eagle & Child; The Cape of Good Hope, The Royal Oak and Jericho Tavern's menu sharing caused some controversy not that long ago when people noted some menu items priced at £1 more in North Oxford than in East Oxford.

So, with all this going on in the background - and after all my recommendations on social media - the 'steaks' were high for The Red Lion (excuse the pun). Many were non believers, having visited in a past life and having a bad experience. So, thank Christ, it turned out to be good. Like REALLY good!

I'm throwing the rules out the window here and going straight for the conclusion - this was possibly the best roast dinner I've had in Oxford so far, bar my own (obvs). I had help, so we sampled not one, but three types of roast on the day and all were bang on - delicious and perfectly cooked meat, gorgeous proper gravy, HUGE home made Yorkshire puddings, tasty roasties, plus all the condiments required - I do hate when correct condiments are not available - plus a nice bit of crackling for the pork. 

Spit Roast Chicken, Apricot Stuffing & Bread Sauce £12.95

Roast Pork Loin, Sage Stuffing, Roasted Apple & Crackling £11.95

Roast Rib of Beef & Yorkshire Puddings £13.95

Given the quality of everything, the prices seemed really rather reasonable. So, with such great food, why the hell is it always so quiet when I visit? Who knows. Though maybe it's better that way, I'm always guaranteed to get a good table!

Overall score: 8.5

The Red Lion
14 Gloucester St
Twitter: @RedLionOxford
Facebook: @redlion.oxford1
Phone: 01865 726255

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