Review – The Red Lion, Northop. 19th October 2012.

Reviews

This evening was my third meal in recent memory, at the Red Lion pub in Northop, Flintshire.

I’m not a regular guest at the establishment, but that has good reason, due to the first experience being a poor one, which delayed a return prior to the much better second one. Interestingly, I was perfectly happy with everything in that next visit.

I must remember that these earlier visits are both insignificant, as I am basing my shared opinion on the last visit I have made to the pub.

Presumably due to our reasonably early ‘tea-time’ arrival of 16.30, the place was practically empty. This normally leads to both a promising quality and speed of service. It didn’t.

In fairness, we weren’t exactly waiting an eternity to have our orders taken or to have dishes delivered to the table. The quality of service, however, was rather sub-standard.

Post-drink serving, I opted for fish and chips, with a portion of ‘normal’ peas, as opposed to the mushy kind, which were featured in the sparse menu. As it is a pub as opposed to a multi-Michelin starred restaurant, I’d accepted the lack of variety, and the fact it was very much going to be a basic menu – the lack of vegetable-based or even ‘healthy’ meals was a little disappointing, though.

For my 2 year-old son we ‘mutually’ decided on chicken nuggets with baked beans and the same home-made chips my girlfriend, Emma, and I had included in our main courses; she ordered curry with a half and half mix of rice and chips.

Like similar venues, the Red Lion has a deal on all week to entice custom; a 2 courses for 2 people for £12 offer is very reasonable, and perhaps goes some way to explaining the bog-standard variety, or lack of.

Deciding on starters rather than desserts, Emma had garlic mushrooms, and I had the soup of the day. This serving riled me a little. The carrot and coriander soup was perfectly edible, but I tend to anticipate a warm bread roll on the side, as opposed to a slice of bread, of which the texture suggested could have been left on out on the kitchen side for far longer than the duration of preparing the starter.

Another thing that was disappointing at this stage, was the fact that we had kindly requested that the child’s meal arrived with the starters. It didn’t. We were then abruptly informed that it would ‘be coming when it’s ready’. In fairness, maybe the member of staff was ill-informed and didn’t realise that we had specifically asked for it to come prior to the stage we so rudely enquired about it’s whereabouts.

Eventually it arrived, not long before the other main courses. One thing that certainly wasn’t disappointing was the portion sizes, most notably the child’s meal. For £3.95 he did receive more than enough to satisfy his appetite. Unfortunately, some ketchup was obviously too much to ask for, as it took staring at and providing unimpressed looks towards the waitress for 10 minutes to remind her that she’d promised to ‘just go and get some.’

As for the food, it was absolutely fine. One thing I do like about the Red Lion is that the food does help maintain a ‘village pub’ feel, as it generally appears to be fresh produce.

The sheer conflict in different areas of the dining experience make it almost impossible to provide a generalised rating, so breaking it into factors is the most accurate method:

Service: On the whole, this was really quite poor. There was generally ‘service with a smile’, but the lack of quality of doing the job was disappointing to say the least.

Price: As mentioned before, this is very reasonable. The bill came to around £20 for a couple of 2-course meals, a child’s main and drinks.

Food: Fine. Portion sizes were great, food was appetising enough. Cold, plain bread being served on the side of soup is a bit pathetic, though.

Overall: I would recommend eating there, because you do get value for money on the table, and service another day may well be at least satisfactory.

Address: The Red Lion, 3 High Street, Northop, Mold, Flintshire CH7 6BQ

Tel: 01352 840 808

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