The Red Lion
Water End, Herts
Reviewed by Cora Leslie
The Red Lion is part of the Oakman Inns chain and is set just off the road on the outskirts of Water End, Herts. It has a very large car park so we didn't have any problem parking. We were impressed when we entered the pub/restaurant as it was very modern and inviting. The staff were friendly and we were shown to our table immediately.
The restaurant area is bright and clean with lots of room between the tables, this is something I really appreciate as I hate to feel "crowded" when eating out. The kitchen is visible from the dining area, very open plan and modern! It did appear very clean and led us to feel quite excited about the food we were about to consume.
There is a fair selection of starters and we decided on the Empanadillas with bolognese ragu and Bufala con Peperonata – Buffalo mozzarella served with peperonata and fresh basil.
The starter arrived in a reasonable space of time but we were both disappointed. The empanadillas were small and the pastry on one of them was soggy. The ragu sauce was not very flavoursome and the price of £4.95 for 2 small pastries seemed extreme.
The Bufala con Peperonata was just 2 balls of very cold mozzarella plonked on a plate with a touch of basil and a small serving of sweet peppers and onion, at £6.95 this was a total let down.
We did not give up hope of a satisfactory meal as we had ordered a "special" recommended by the waitress of surf and turf — steak and chicken served with buttered prawns. I ordered the lamb steak and both were served with fries.
When the meals arrived my heart sank… the fries were basically overcooked, dried out oven chips! There was plenty of garnish on my plate and a small (7oz) lamb steak. The lamb was reasonable but not melt in the mouth and I could not eat most of the fries as they were over cooked and I am not a fan of oven fries at the best of times. At £18 for the meal I really feel that fresh handmade chips should be accompanying the lamb.
My partners meal was not of a better standard than mine… the same oven fries but most of his were actually inedible as they were burnt. His buttered prawns consisted of 4 very small prawns that were hardly noticeable next to the abundant watercress salad. His steak was OK but the chicken breast strips, although small, were perfectly cooked. At £22 this was, once again an overpriced meal.
It is a real shame that the food let the Red Lion down, it really does look the part and leads to high expectations of quality food. Unfortunately on this occasion the food did not live up to those expectations.
The Red Lion does welcome family groups and has high chairs and baby changing facilities. It is also available for functions.
For more information, view menu or book a table visit www.redlionwaterend.co.uk