6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Cotswold Life today click here

Restaurant review: Red Lion, Long Compton

17:04 13 February 2017

Red Lion, Long Compton

Red Lion, Long Compton

Archant

Not bad value, warm, bright and comfy. Oh, and the food isn’t bad either. This is a pub that won’t scare anyone

On being food:

I’m in the balmy warmth of a post-monsoon teatime, pushing through dense vegetation on a beaten track through an Indian jungle, where a Malabar Thrush – the Whistling Schoolboy – is bidding a melodious farewell to another day. Soon, our steep incline will push out onto an open plateau, from where we will look down on a canopy of trees and watch a satsuma sun sink into the cover of evening.

“So,” I breathlessly ask, as I make to keep up with our guide, “which animals live in this jungle?”

“Snakes,” he says. “Leopards. Bears…”

“Oh,” I say, as I push aside strange spiky branches. “I’m assuming they keep well away from paths humans use?”

“No,” he says, hiking on ahead. “They use the same paths.”

Suddenly, the thickness of branches and leaves gives way to rocky grass, and we’re standing giddily level with the glory of a disappearing orb of fire, suffusing the sky with a swansong of orange. As it dips beneath a strange dark line, as if snuggling into bedclothes, the world falls silent.

I watch a bit. But really I’m busy wondering why the world has fallen silent. What’s it planning?

“So,” I tug at the guide, before he gets too immersed in all this wonderfulness, “how can you tell these animals aren’t, you know, hungry?”

“They have enough food in this environment,” he says.

While I think about this, the sun clears off and we begin to make our way downwards again.

“Look!” our guide points into the dusk, as we pass a viciously scratched tree. “Bear-claw marks. He was sharpening them, or marking territory.”

“What if a bear has cubs?” I persist, while avoiding looking at the tree.

“Then it will attack.”

“What time of year do they have cubs?”

“About now,” he says. “Mind that scorpion.”

On cooking food:

I’ve got special dinner guests coming so I’m doing what anyone would do in the circumstances: cooking something I’ve never made before, from a recipe randomly found on the internet. It’s bound to work because I’ve bought an expensive tagine dish. The investment is huge - in terms of time alone: I’m going to have to spend the next 30 years trying to hide it from Ian.

When I finally test-taste it, the result lies somewhere along that spectral border between abject failure and raw-eyed terror. There’s an unidentifiably unpleasant tang that doesn’t measurably tally with the ingredients list; and it’s apricot-y in a way only previously surpassed by apricots.

I ring Greg, Ellie’s boyfriend, in blind panic. On the plus side, he’s the best cook I know; on the minus side, he’s a fierce critic of my tendency to pick recipes without the gift of forethought. And of my fad diets.

“It’s a disaster,” I say. “They’re coming in four hours. What do I DO?”

“Why don’t you just eat sensibly 24/7 and then you wouldn’t need fad diets?” he says, unhelpfully. “What are you giving up now?”

“Grains and dairy. But what about my tagine?” I wail.

“You waver between the diet of a medieval peasant and an 18th century French King,” he remonstrates angrily.

On eating (food):

We go to the Red Lion at Long Compton, partly because quite a few readers have commended it. A jolly nice country inn it is, too, with many attractive paintings showing the better side of sheep. The pleasant music, unusually, is so quiet you have to strain to hear it in a way that makes you feel at least 10 years older than you actually are.

But if you want middle class – an outmoded expression, but not one I’m using pejoratively; I really like it – then it’s the kind of pub you could imagine David Cameron leaving a child in. In fact, it’s full of well-behaved children – some, slightly oddly, in stocking feet – and older people saying things like, “I remember farthings!” and “How is your extension?”

Cocoa, the pub’s 12-year-old brown lab, wanders past, greeting old friends; impeccably behaved. And the staff are delightful, too: friendly, helpful, welcoming.

The food, despite the elevated descriptions, is excellently down to earth, on the whole: Cumberland sausages and mash; fish and chips served on the Red Lion Times, to make you feel northern; Todenham Manor (good choice) pork cutlet with apple and red cabbage. (Actually, all with a choice of chips, mash or new potatoes.)

Between us, we have a spicy tomato soup (very flavoursome); smoked salmon simply served with lemon and capers; a chargrilled tuna steak with olive tapenade from the specials board (which doesn’t knock me out but is perfectly decent); the venison burger with bacon, stilton and cranberry sauce; and a sticky toffee pudding (slightly disappointing) and a small but perfectly-formed blackberry and vanilla crème brulée.

Do you know what? I’m not going to remember the food for ever, but we have such a nice evening. Not bad value; warm; bright; comfy.

I’d say the Red Lion is a pub you can go to without fear of disappointment. Or any fear of being eaten.

Ambience: 8

Food: 7.5

Service: 8

Value for money: 7.5

The Red Lion, Long Compton, nr Shipston-on-Stour CV36 5JS, 01608 684221; www.redlion-longcompton.co.uk

Read more of Katie’s restaurant reviews here:

No 131, Cheltenham

Le Bistrot Pierre, Bath

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

9 minutes ago

Treat yourself and those that you love this Easter.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:03

Make your mum feel really special on Mothering Sunday.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:24

For a small independent restaurant, a table not turning up for their booking can wipe out the night’s profits. Mark Taylor looks at this increasing problem and how it might be tackled

Read more
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Introducing the Fine Wines of Tuscany, hosted by Demetri Walters, Master of Wine with Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Read more
Monday, February 13, 2017

Not bad value, warm, bright and comfy. Oh, and the food isn’t bad either. This is a pub that won’t scare anyone

Read more
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Our columnist Clare Mackintosh takes some expert guidance on how to turn home cooking from a chore to a pleasure

Read more
Monday, January 30, 2017

From lively pubs to charming eateries, you’re never far away from a wonderful venue serving great-tasting, well-crafted burgers in Cheltenham. Here’s our pick of 9 of the best places to visit in the Cotswold town

Read more
Friday, January 27, 2017

Don’t miss out on this Special Offer from The Wharf House.

Read more
Thursday, January 26, 2017

Welcome to award-winning waterside restaurant and accommodation, The Wharf House, situated in Over on the edge of the historic city of Gloucester.

Read more
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Surrounded by idyllic countryside, these charming Cotswold pubs make the perfect place to escape for a Sunday afternoon feast. We pick 8 of the best roast dinners to enjoy in the region

Read more
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The meal was great, the service, impeccable. So what really happens to that ‘discretionary’ charge you’d expected to go to the hard-working staff? Mark Taylor looks under the plate and talks to restauranteurs about this thorny topic

Read more
Friday, January 6, 2017

Three Cotswold pubs have reached the finals of the Publican Awards 2017, a national competition that rewards the ‘cream of the cream’ of the UK pub industry. The pubs, operated by Brakspear, are shortlisted for the Best Accommodation Operator and Best New Pub or Bar titles, the winners of which will be announced in March.

Read more
Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The ‘fab pub’ in the North Cotswolds struggled to feed my coelic husband, but for Katie Jarvis and her husband, Cheltenham’s star spot came up trumps

Read more
Sunday, January 1, 2017

Welcome to Whole Foods Market Cheltenham

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Cotswold Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search