Our family were invited to visit the Red Lion at Horndean in Hampshire for a meal. The Red Lion is tucked away in a village very close the A3(M) and conveniently located next door to a Premier Inn. The pub restaurant is spacious and suitable for large or small groups. It was family-friendly but I could also envisage it providing a very suitable place to meet for a business lunch or breakfast.
We were delighted by a friendly greeting from the lovely Emily who showed us to a table and checked that it suited our needs. Emily was also very efficient ensuring that she took a drinks order whilst we perused the menus. She also told us about free refills on Pepsi. All of the family liked how we were given time to decide what we would like to eat without any sense of pressure. My daughter can be shy around adults but seemed very comfortable with Emily and the way she spoke to her. An activity pack was offered which my daughter declined as she was too busy talking about her latest game.
The menu was impressive giving a large choice of traditional pub fare and more unusual choices too. It was big but not so huge that it was daunting. This is pet hate of mine – menus that take about a decade to read!
My husband and I opted for a sharing platter as a starter. We enjoy such platters but were really impressed with this one as it was not gigantic but quite sufficient. I hate it when the starter is so enormous that you don’t feel ready to eat your main and a pudding is pretty much out of the question.
My daughter chose vegetables for her starter. Isn’t it great when you eat out and can also feel they are getting a good contribution to their 5 a day?
Our mains arrived promptly and were well cooked and we all cleared out plates. My daughter had cod, my husband gammon and myself a glorious beef lasagne as I was in the mood for comfort food with the cold weather.
The puddings were superb with my husband opting for cheesecake and myself for banoffee pie. We did end up trying each others too.
My daughter has a small pot of chocolate dipping sauce with a generous portion of various fruits including strawberries and orange portions.
The venue was quiet when we arrived and although it got busier as the day progressed, it did not feel cramped as there was plenty of space between tables. I enjoyed seeing all age groups from babies to the elderly there. I always think this is a recommendation of a place in itself.
Throughout the meal we felt very relaxed and happy. It set up a great mood for the day.
Payment was dealt with efficiently and a loyalty card was offered which is cool because we will definitely be back.
The only slight negatives were not about the food or service. I noticed a dodgy door lock in the ladies loo and felt the baby change area should be signposted better. There were slopes which I imagine make the place more accessible although my husband felt these needed marking better.
Here are our scores on the doors!
Starters – 10 out of 10
Mains – 9 out of 10
Desserts – 9 out of 10
Service – 9 out of 10
Affordability – 10 out of 10 – we had 3 in our party and the drinks and food bill came in at less than £50
Atmosphere – 9 out of 10 – we felt very relaxed, unrushed and enjoyed how the restaurant seemed to actively welcome all age groups.
Location – 7 out of 10. The Red Lion at Horndean is convenient for business people staying at the Premier Inn who could grab an early breakfast or a business lunch. Although not the most vibrant village, Horndean is close to countryside walks, the coast and the tourist attractions of Portsmouth.
Do you think you will visit the Red Lion?