Updated: Thursday, 21st March 2019 @ 4:15pm

Review: The Red Lion @ Buxton Lane, High Lane

Review: The Red Lion @ Buxton Lane, High Lane

By Andrew Greaves

I like to consider myself a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to Sunday lunch.

So when the opportunity arose to head out to the Red Lion at High Lane, just outside Stockport, last month, I didn’t need asking twice.

A bit of history before we start though.

The Red Lion is, if you like, the country retreat of the guys that have the wonderful Damson Restaurant in Heaton Moor.

Damson – which I reviewed last year – is fabulous and has quite rightly won awards for the duo-who-can-do-no-wrong of chef Simon Stanley and restaurateur Stephen Pilling.

The pair are also set to open a Damson outpost at MediaCityUK as well.

So, with that in mind, you could say that expectations were running sky high as we negotiated our way through the leafy suburbs of Stockport and into the countryside.

As with Damson just a couple of months before, I wasn’t left disappointed.

The Red Lion is much bigger than Damson but the quality of the food is just the same.

The Sunday menu may be smaller than their usual Monday to Saturday offering but there is still plenty choice and I still struggled to narrow it down.

STARTER: Goat's cheese and beetroot tart

After much deliberation, I opted for the open puff pastry tart of sweet red onion, beetroot and goat’s cheese with a walnut a balsamic dressing while she went for a chicken Cesar salad.

Both were generously-sized portions and packed with flavour but delicate enough not to leave you struggling to find room for the main event.

Mine was a great mixture of textures and flavours but none of them took anything away from the other.

The beetroot and red onion were, predictably, sweet while the goat’s cheese cut through that and balanced things beautifully.

The Cesar salad was note perfect – plenty of chicken, some crunchy crutons and a slice of egg on a bead of fresh leaves with the sauce teasingly drizzled on top.

It is not often we have lamb in our house – the missus isn’t a fan – so when I saw it on the menu, I knew there was only one choice for me.

The lamb was cooked to perfection – pink and tender and in plentiful supply.

The Yorkshire pudding was so big it housed three crispy duck fat roast potatoes, both of which were to die for. And that is before I have even started on the gravy!

Being a more dainty soul than I, my partner went for market fish of the day with spring onion crushed potatoes, seasonal greens and lemon herb butter sauce.

PERFECTION: The salmon with crushed potatoes

A sizeable piece of salmon, again cooked to perfection and just how the much harder to please better half likes it, was perched on the most delicious mound of crushed potatoes either of us have ever tasted.

Her only criticism – and as I say she’s a tough nut to crack – was that the lemon herb butter was a little bit much. Not that the chef would have been able to tell from the empty plate that went back to the kitchen.

I’d have been more than happy to skip dessert but, in the name of professionalism, decided that to do so would be to cheat you, my dear readers, out of a proper review.

So, with belts loosened, I went for something I didn’t catch the name of (OK I’ve forgotten) but was a pot with toffee, coffee, rum, raisins and chocolate. Delicious regardless of my bad memory!

My partner went for a selection of sorbets and ice creams – an eclectic mix of mango, blackcurrant and chocolate no less – all of which were shovelled down with smile to round off a fantastic meal.

With food this good, you need service to match and the Red Lion certainly has that with staff who – much like their teammates at Damson – are friendly and welcoming without being over-bearing.

There is much talk of an invasion of star names to Manchester’s fine dining scene but I’d suggest that before they welcome them, the city dwellers need to head out to the ‘burbs and appreciate local heroes like Messrs Stanley and Pilling first.

Picture courtesy of the Red Lion, with thanks.

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