Gastropubs are my destination of choice when it comes to eating out and the White Lion at Great Longstone has ranked high on my must-visit list.
On a summer’s evening, this idyllic retreat was the place to chill out and celebrate the start of the weekend.
The stresses and strains of the working week melted away as we stepped into this oasis of tranquillity to be greeted by welcoming smiles from the friendly and attentive staff.
Fresh flowers on the tables, wooden beams across the ceiling and scatter cushions on sofas symbolised country pub at its best.
Having heard about the popularity of the White Lion, we arrived early and took a table in the bar near a window which looked out to charming stone buildings across the road.
We didn’t spend too long gazing at the view outside because the arrival of the pretty pictures on plates absorbed our attention. Each course looked like a work of art, almost too good to eat, but the aromatic dishes meant they didn’t stay untouched for long.
My companion opted for a starter of warm haddock mornay filo tart with poached egg and grilled asparagus (£6.25). The crisp pastry shell basket contained a sauce of Parmesan cheese and a delicately flavoured fish, topped with perfectly cooked egg. His verdict: the best starter I have ever eaten.
Fish was his dish of choice for mains. He chose seafood pie, packed with haddock, salmon and cod and topped with duchess potatoes accompanied by garden peas and herby scone. He wasn’t quite as eulogistic about the fish pie as he had been about the starter, saying it was a little salty for his liking.
Pan seared lamb rump was my choice for main course. Cooked pink as requested and plentiful in amount, it arrived on a bed of colcannon mash, accompanied by root vegetable noisettes and Bordelaise sauce. At £17.50, it was one of the priciest dishes and pleasant though it was, I felt it lacked the wow factor.
For dessert, I chose lemon posset, topped with mango puree and citrus sorbet which arrived garnished with mint leaves. Every mouthful was sheer bliss - and one of those taste sensations that you just didn’t want to end. The only thing which could have made it even better would have been a shortbread finger to dip into the rich, creamy posset.
Melt-in-the-mouth shortbread discs accompanied our tea and espresso coffee order to round off an enjoyable evening in a lovely location.
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