[High Lane, Stockport] Red Lion
It may well be in a pub building, have a pub name, and have a small drinking area but by any usual standards, this is a restaurant. And, when you know that it’s owned by Steve Pilling, you spot the menu similarities from when he ran the two chop houses in Manchester. Straightforward food, cooked well, which nods considerably in the direction of traditional British dishes. Good stuff and it’d been on our “to try” list for far too long.
There’s little to say about potted shrimps, except that they were well seasoned with a little hint of spice. They came with a small handful of leaves and a couple of slices of toast. Smoked haddock kedgeree was the other starter – well cooked rice, lots of fish flakes, a judicious use of the curry spices and a perfectly poached egg, which sloshed over everything else when I cut into it. Really nice.
A burger is a burger is a burger. It’s the additions which can break or, in this case, make it. There was crisp smoked bacon, a punchy cheddar, sliced tomato and onion. And, probably because this is a Pilling gaff, there’s none of the soft pappy burger bun that falls apart in your lap when you first bite into it. Oh no, this one comes on a proper northern barm cake. Usually served medium to medium rare, my partner is funny about mince products and prefers them well done. It didn’t seem to harm it too much. There’s decent chips (albeit of the “fat” variety) and not so decent coleslaw, that was quite watery.
It’s years since I’ve had a steak and kidney pudding. A bad gristle experience with a Hollands one from the chippy put me right off them. But, it was time to overcome my blind prejudice. A thick and nicely solid suet pastry packed with long cooked steak and a little (too little) kidney. A jug of gravy moistened it all up. Mushy peas and the same fat chips on the side. This was a main course plate that shouted to me that I’d need a nap afterwards.
These four dishes were off the main menu. But there’s a stunner of a lunchtime bargain that we’re going back for. A table d’hote of starter, main course, glass of wine - £25 for two. They change the TdH every couple of weeks apparently.
You’ll have gathered I liked it here. But it reminded me that a return visit to Pilling’s Damson restaurant at the other end of town is well overdue.
(PS: I've described High Lane as being Stockport, as it is, but feel free to be posh and call it a North Cheshire village)
Definitely Stockport, although High Lane is going up in the world according to our friend Chris, who's lived in Manchester for the best part of fifty years!
This is definitely more of a restaurant than a pub - so much so that they refused to allow us to eat in the garden with a dog (who is very well-behaved, being a former guide dog). I don't expect entry to a restaurant with a dog, but it didn't occur to me that we wouldn't be allowed in the garden. To be fair to the waiter, he offered to set us up with a table outside the front door, but as that would have meant being right by the A6 we decided to go elsewhere. Ended up in the Old Ram's Head just down the road, which was perfectly pleasant if unremarkable.