The Red Lion, Caythorpe
Caroline Bingham travelled along the route of the Lincolnshire Cliff Villages to spend the evening at The Red Lion, Caythorpe.
The line of hamlets which cling to the Lincolnshire Cliff between Lincoln and Grantham are not just scenic, they are also home to some fine pubs and restaurants; quite a foodie’s trail either on foot or in the car.
The Red Lion at Caythorpe underwent a refurbishment earlier this year and the interior is contemporary but with relaxed, country comfort and a mellow colour scheme. Stripped beams, soft upholstery and log burning fires are part of the warm welcome.
We visited on a Friday evening and already the main bar was buzzing with Early Bird diners, starting their weekend with a meal at this country inn. We were met by owner, John Cork who took our drinks order while we moved through to our table in the restaurant.
The Early Bird options were displayed on a blackboard in the bar but we chose from the main menu which has easily recognisable classics, such as beer battered haddock and chips or Rumpole steak and ale pudding through to the more cosmopolitan inspired Thai green fish curry or pan-fried hoki fillets served with noodles.
There are steaks, barbecue pork ribs or a pan fried marinated chicken breast for those wanting a substantial course. This is a cleverly designed menu which also caters for grazers, or those wanting a lighter option at lunchtime. Sharing platters for two offer a meat or seafood selection of fingerfood which would go down beautifully over drinks. A nibbles section includes olives and warm bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There is also a lunch selection of jacket potatoes and filled ciabattas available between noon and 2pm.
We focused on the starters. I opted for carpaccio of beef fillet served with arugula salad, Parmesan crisp and herb oil. My companion for the evening chose the crayfish and smoked salmon risotto. Other dishes on the menu included slow confit of belly pork, a homemade soup of the day and oven baked Sicilian meatballs. My beef was wonderfully tender and delicious with the peppery leaves. The riosotto was comfortingly creamy and full of flavour.
For our main courses I chose the whole tail scampi served with hand cut chips and tartare sauce while my fellow diner went for the pub’s signature Red Lion burger, served with black pepper mayo, chips and salad garnish. These popular choices were beautifully presented and the well seasoned burger was thoroughly enjoyed.
We still had room for a dessert, just, so we opted for baked banana cheesecake served with caramel sauce and a golden syrup and ginger sponge served with creamy custard. These were both a showstopping finale to our meal.
The Red Lion is a country pub right in the heart of this thriving village community and is a popular watering hole for walkers, visitors and locals alike. The Sunday Lunch menu offers one course for £10.50, two for £14.50 or three for £17.50 with a choice of four or five dishes on each course and at least two roasts. A menu of Christmas fare will be available from 1st to 23rd December. Available as two or three courses there is the same mix of classic and more adventurous dishes across the menu. Some of the choices for starters include homemade chicken liver parfait or a Gorgonzola, fig and prosciutto salad, while for mains there is traditional turkey with all the trimmings, or oven-baked salmon with a rich tomato and black olive sauce. Desserts include Christmas pudding, a nutty chocolate torte or forest fruit Eton mess.
The five-course Christmas Day lunch is great value at £64.95 per head while a New Year’s Eve Gourmet Dinner should be a super evening at £35 per head. There is still some availability for these special days but don’t leave it too late.
If you have not discovered this charming part of the county or experienced the hospitality of The Red Lion country inn, then make it your next destination.