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“After Xmas treat”

Red Lion Bar & Bistro
Ranked #2 of 2 Restaurants in Stonedge
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $76
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“After Xmas treat”
Reviewed January 3, 2014

The location is fantastic, as is the building. Very relaxed inside and spacious, open fire and plenty of comfortable areas to sit. This visit was just after Xmas, so it may not reflect the normal experience customers will experience. Basically the food was of a very high standard, but the portion sizes quite small, including the perfect hand cut chips. Luckily the desserts, which were excellent, were more substantial. Good selection of wines and some excellent real ales. Would recommend the trio of ports to end the meal. Sadly, they forgot to bring the bread and dipping oil until the main course arrived, but then maybe we should have reminded them earlier, possibly all of us were still recovering from Xmas excesses!! Would definitely go back.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Andy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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531 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Midlands
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Roaring fire a hit, but everything else a bit of a let down...”
Reviewed January 3, 2014 via mobile

The entrance to the Red Lion wasn't particularly clear in the dark and as a result we entered the hotel entrance by mistake. I have to say how lovely it looked and was disappointed not to be checking in for the night! The receptionist stated it was the next door along. We entered through this door however this brought you through the function room. There had clearly been a function the night before, New Years Eve, and staff were clearing the room. We could gain access to the bar and restaurant through the function room although there is a separate entrance once you find it! The function room really did smell, something similar to urine. Very off putting.

The restaurant and bar decor was very welcoming, a huge roaring fire with beautiful stone surround. It was quite dark and had an intimate feel, maybe more suited to a romantic dinner than a family meal. My mum had difficulty seeing in the bar and a few of us found it really difficult to read the menu the light was so low. There are real candle displays on the table, a lovely touch but quite surprised in this age of health and safety! Not sure I'd want to take little children there but my children are teens so this was not an issue for our party. Maybe not an accessible place to anyone with a visual impairment unless the staff can adjust the lighting?

On booking the table we were informed there was not a special menu for New Year's Day and it would be the carvery and market menu. When I enquired about Vegetarian choices I was told there wasn't one for the carvery and it would probably be a risotto for dinner. I asked about children's Vegetarian choices and was told they could have a cheese sandwich! Or cheese and tomato pasta. Neither particularly inspiring.

However on arrival we were told that it was a special menu after all. Therefore we weren't able to order from the market menu which is better value for ordering two and three course meals. The prices on the menu some of us were handed seemed a little on the overpriced side.
I say some of us as the three Vegetarians in our party weren't handed a menu at all? Instead the waitress went to the kitchen and asked the chef what he could make us. Probably out of the contents of what was left in the fridge rather than any planned menu. In a way it's quite nice that they went to see how we could be accommodated but it felt like we were slightly a nuisance. Having eaten in many restaurants in the UK I'd much rather see a menu, which should have Vegetarian choices listed, and make my own decision. There are an estimated four million Vegetarians in the UK, we are not such a rarity these days! The menu for meat eaters is very limited too, about four choices of main and two specials.

Two of our party ordered the Red Lion burger. This was a decent size portion but the burgers were quite rare in the middle. I would suggest that customers are asked how they wish to have it cooked as not all diners will appreciate the pink. Both of our party didn't and left half the burger. My mum had the beer battered haddock which was cooked well and she enjoyed her meal. My son and I had the leek risotto. I have to say I've cooked better risotto at home. It was quite tasty but the portion size was tiny! My son finished his in 3 minutes and as a result other people around the table were giving him food from their plates. We both left the restaurant absolutely ravenous. In comparison, my daughter had the cheese and tomato pasta, which came in an extremely large portion. However it was penne pasta in a soup of tomato sauce with some cheese sprinkled on it. She did eat at least half of it but again I have made much better at home in about five minutes.

Drinks were overpriced and selection available was reasonable.

No atmosphere in the bar or restaurant. Very flat, no buzz at all. Hardly anyone eating in there and we had anticipated it would be busier on New Year's Day. Staff were ok, a bit aloof. Weather was abysmal otherwise I am sure the view from here would have at least made up for some of its short comings. Not sure if we would return for a meal. Not enough choice, portions pretty small for the most part and overpriced too. There are far better restaurants out there. However may pop in for a quick drink and sit beside that beautiful fire!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank libra1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Distinctly average”
Reviewed December 13, 2013 via mobile

Went to eat here last weekend after seeing that it has won awards in 2012 for best bistro in Derbyshire.
Food was slightly better than average and just about justified the price, although portions are small there is enough. But the menu is really small with only one true vegetarian option, there may of course be the option for chef specialities on offer but we did not ask. Biggest issue we had was just a general lack of service from staff. Granted we were sat near to the till area but the constant chatter and general standing around by staff is not acceptable at this price point, I understand that we all like to enjoy where we work but this was constant.

To sum up, we won't be going back but the food, as long as there is something you like, is good but not as good as it must of been to win the award.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank stekaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
38 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Start of run up to Xmas”
Reviewed December 7, 2013 via mobile

Not been for a while since re-furb, we had a lovely Sat. Lunch meal.
Menu short, maybe could do with 1 more choice but food / presentation and friendly staff top drawer.

Helpful?
Thank Bob-Matvegas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ripley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Called in to the Pub Bistro whilst out walking”
Reviewed November 27, 2013

Whilst walking in the area with a work colleague we called in mid afternoon. The original pub we had headed for had sadly closed so we trudged on and arrived muddy and very hungry. The staff were friendly and helpful, the beer was very good and the food was absolutely marvellous and set us up well for our continued journey

    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Philip C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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