Name: The Red Lion Pub & Kitchen
Location: United Kingdom
Delicious food and rustic charm await at the Red Lion Pub & Kitchen in the picturesque historic village of Blewbury in South Oxfordshire.
The pub is nestled away in the delightful village of Blewbury which is situated at the foot of the Berkshire Downs near Didcot. It’s really easy to find the pub and there’s decent sized car park too. It is a truly beautiful ancient English village; we spent a couple of very happy hours getting pleasantly lost around the narrow paths, with beautifully preserved half-timbered, thatched cottages, finding little bridges over babbling brooks and admiring more wild flowers than I’ve ever seen in one spot! It’s well placed for two long-distance walks too; the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way so the pub is popular with hikers and cyclists, Didcot station is just 5 miles away (with the railway centre at the same sight, visit on a running day to ride the steam trains!) and Oxford is 20 miles away.
Style & Character
The Red Lion is charming inside, full of rustic character and simple luxuries. Think low beams, huge fireplaces and interesting shaped, bijou rooms. The pub only re-opened in March 2016 after a major renovation. It is owned by chef Phil Wild and wife, Arden who bring a passion for good food and a belief that the pub is the centre of a community. Phil’s long career as a chef includes working in iconic British inns and hotels, having started his career at the Michelin-starred Carlton Elite Hotel in Switzerland, thirty years ago.
Service & Facilities
There is a cosy bar area and a restaurant as well as a huge beer garden. The garden is lovely, with a children’s play area, apple trees and views of the surrounding fields and orchards; we enjoyed a relaxed drink in a sunshine, even the butterflies seemed chilled out here and took a shine to my book and my shoulder! The service is friendly and hospitable, homemade biscuits were provided as a little welcome treat in the room and they offered to bring up milk if we needed it.
There are three rooms at the pub, we stayed in Badger which is as charming as the name suggests! The room is set in the roof so the ceiling slopes which rather adds to the rustic charm. There is a flatscreen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi which works well in the garden too, slippers and an ensuite bathroom – ours included a bath with a shower, ideal for a pre-dinner soak.
Food & Drink
We enjoyed dinner in the popular restaurant which seemed to be filled with a sociable mixture of locals and visitors. We were spoilt for choice, in addition to the seasonally changing menu, there’s a huge specials board; take a photo and make your selection at the comfort of your table with drink in hand! Our starters of Goats Cheese Bon Bons, Pickled Vegetables, Beetroot & Chilli Jam and Chicken Liver Parfait with Chutney & Toast were delicious, the Bon Bons were probably the highlight of my meal! Main courses of Traditional Fish & Chips and Breast of Chicken with Wild Mushrooms & Asparagus were both chosen from the specials board and were both hearty portions, full of flavour. We didn’t really have much room but the desserts were too tempting to resist and Dark Chocolate Mousse, Poached Pear & Shortbread and Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake with Honeycomb made for a delectable end to a scrumptious meal. The dishes were all beautifully presented, this is definitely more fine dining than traditional pub grub! Breakfast the next day continued in the same vein; generous portions cooked to our exacting preferences with homemade bread.
The Red Lion Pub & Kitchen offers a comfortable nights stay and an impressive meal for exceptionally reasonable prices, just make sure you take time to explore the lovely village too.